What foods go well with cigars? Maybe the better question is, what doesn’t? Whether you’re putting together a cigar dinner where you puff while eating or planning to enjoy your favorite smokes after your meal is over, there are literally no limits on the types of foods and cigars that you can enjoy together, as long as you keep some basic pairing points in mind. There really aren’t any hard and fast rules when it comes to this, but there are some approaches that work well.
The basic rule when pairing cigars with food is to choose cigars that complement the type of food you’re going to eat. If you’ve got a cigar that’s been characterized as having a “red meat” flavor, for example, it’s a good bet that it will pair well with meals that have dishes of this type as their main focus. In general, if the food is full-bodied and spicy, the cigar should be as well. Your taste buds have been revved up with a spicy meal; smoke a mild cigar after it and you might not be able to taste it much at all.
Along these lines, time of day is another factor to keep in mind when pairing cigars with food.
Your taste buds are distinctively fresher at the beginning of the day than at the end, which is a big reason why the same cigars smoked at different times of day taste differently.
Meat, including game meat, seafood, and pasta are all foods that lend themselves to pairing with various cigars. Try to match richness, taste, and spiciness levels between the food and the cigars; you’ll definitely want cigars on the more robust side to pair with well-aged steaks, chops, and prime beef. A spicy Camacho Triple Maduro might be a good choice here, as the maduro wrapper is often a good match with flavorful meat, or maybe an offering from Carlos Torano, perhaps from the Cameroon 1916 line, noted for its notes of pepper and sweet spice as well as a long, woody finish, in large part thanks to its rare Cameroon wrapper and Honduran filler.
There are some cuisines that, due to their more subtle, nuanced nature, might be more difficult matches, or might not be matches at all for you. Japanese food, especially sushi, and Chinese food can fall into this category, but it’s really all a matter of taste. Find the right pairing and they could be a food and cigar match made in heaven.
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