Say “Cheese”

Notes from WhiskyFest San Francisco 2008

At the inaugural WhiskyFest San Francisco [2007], my wife and I tried to clear our palates using bread, crackers and lots of water. It wasn’t completely effective, but it was better than nothing. Compared to this year, there was far less in the way of food last year. Of course, the point of the event is the whisky — that was true last year and it was even more true this year. But you can only drink so much whisky before you fry your palate. The olfactory and taste senses lose the ability to discern subtle aromas and flavors.

The difference between this year and last year was significant. For those “VIPs” arriving early (doors opened at 1730 PDT, and for that privilege you had to pay $30 more for your ticket), there was a nice spread of hors d’œuvre, including cheese and delicatessen meats and some hot hors d’œuvre. At 1830, when the doors opened “for real” (and the noise level in the room skyrocketed!), more food came out, including hot pasta, carved roast beast, and other things. And they had copious quantities of bottled water. In general, the food helped clear the palate, but the biggest discovery was that cheese was the best at this task. We both had the same reaction.

From a food perspective, and overall logistics, this year’s event was far superior and the cost was in-line with last year.

Side note: The ratio of men:women at the VIP session was probably 8:1 or 9:1. Is my wife really that unusual in her affection for fine whisky? If so, that’s just one more reason to consider myself lucky!

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