One of the most controversial and hotly debated aspects of cigar-smoking is not so much the question of what food goes best with what type of cigar but whether or not cigars and food should even be mixed at all. Some die-hard smokers and culinary buffs say that the two experiences negate each other and should be kept separate. However, many believe that the two luxuries—fine dining and a fine cigar—when properly coordinated, can lead to an exceptional outcome in both areas. And just like remembering if you should serve red wine with chicken or beef, beginners should remember certain tips when pairing their cigars and meals.
- Those who do believe in pairing cigars and food agree on one thing—you should always pair like with like. If you are eating a meal that is heavy and full-bodied, then you should pair it with a similar style of cigar. For instance, if you are splurging on a top cut of steak you might want to take the plunge on a premium cigar such as a Diamond Crown Maximus (which received a rating of 90 in a review from Cigar Aficionado magazine). With its robust flavors, this cigar or similar cigar brands are sure to make your meal a more fulfilling experience.
- Keeping with the “like pairs with like” theme, you would probably want to match a lighter cigar or even a cigarillo with a lighter dish such as chicken or fish. Good cigar brands such as a Baccarat Panatela or a cigarillo such as the Davidoff Club will help accentuate the tastes of the meal.
- When it comes to courses in a meal, you may want just a quick smoke right before the appetizer arrives. With this in mind, you may want to just smoke a mini like the extremely popular cigar brand Romeo y Julieta Mini. As for dessert, most critics and smokers agree that it is best to skip the cigar completely as even the lightest aromatic cigar is likely to overpower the delicate tastes of a dessert. The only possible exception for this is to pair a cigar with a dessert consisting of heavy dark, bittersweet chocolate.
- Considering entertaining guests and feeling really adventurous? How about a theme night with special food and cigars? You can prepare home cooked Dominican food such as the Dominican version of tamales wrapped in banana leaves (pastales en hojas) and pair these with a cigar including handmade 100% Dominican brand cigars. Or you can also check with your online smoke shop to look at their cigar brand list and see which cigar brands offered by them are available.
Remember, the key to pairing a good cigar to a good meal is to experiment and find just what you are comfortable with.