The Art of Pairing Food with Cigars

A man enjoying food while smoking a cigar

Some like cigars with whiskey, some like them with wine. And then there’s some who enjoy pairing their cigars with food flavours. 

While the idea of pairing food with cigars has caused something of a divide between aficionados, we think it’s something that every cigar enthusiast should try at least once!  And we’re here to help you along this new and delicious journey with a few helpful tips to get you started. 

How to Pair Food With Cigars 

When it comes to pairing, the goal is to enhance the flavours of both your cigar and your dinner. This is why the key tip you need to remember when pairing food and cigars is like for like – you need to match the cigar and food flavours. You wouldn’t drink red wine with a salad, after all. 

Many cigars can leave strong flavours behind on the tongue that can linger for hours and affect your palate. Therefore, it’s essential to match these smoky tones with a complimentary taste. 

Where to Start When Pairing Cigars and Food 

An important thing to remember when you begin your pairing journey is to start small. If you dive right into the deep end, you may find it a bit overwhelming and ruin the entire experience. 

Most aficionados enjoy a smoke between dinner courses, so if you are dining out, go for a smaller cigar or cigarillo once you’ve had your starter. 

Smaller bites, particularly Mediterranean inspired antipasti platters involving olives, cheese and smoked meats, are the perfect place to start your pairing journey. The salty and smokey flavours already present in these foods mix wonderfully with that of Petit Corona’s and other cigars with a neutral and natural flavour of tobacco or earth. This will bring out the zestiness of the vibrant vegetables that accompany such dishes. 

Cigars and Lighter Bites

The last thing you want to do is overpower the flavours of either your cigar or your food. For lighter or creamier dishes such as chicken, fish or pasta, you’re better off having a smaller and mellower smoke. Mini cigars such as the Romeo y Julieta Mini or Davidoff Club work particularly well with these types of dishes. 

Surprisingly, fish is actually a great food choice with many cigars; there’s a reason some people like it smoked, so bringing in the smoky flavours of your choice can enhance the overall taste.

Pairing Cigars With Meat

For full-bodied cigars, think meat! The intense flavours balance out well with heavy tastes and textures that come from steak or lamb; perfect when done slow-roasted and served with rich and creamy potatoes. 

Remember the like with like rule; if you are choosing a top quality steak, pair it with a premium cigar. You don’t want to spoil the intricate flavourings of one with an inferior partner. We recommend the Punch Punch Tubos and the Bolivar Royal Corona, which go amazingly with steak. 

Take your pairing to the next level by taking the alcohol you would normally pair your cigar with and incorporate it into your food. Add red wine to gravy and sauces, or glaze your meat with bourbon.

Barbecue Meats and Cigars

Barbequed meats are another match made in heaven for cigars, as these meats are meant to be smokey. The bold flavours of char-grilled sausages or brisket will overwhelm milder aromas, so heftier cigars with spicy tones are what you’re after here. 

While actual barbeques are almost exclusively reserved for the summer months, these meat types are desirable in the colder seasons too, as they prove quite filling.

Cigars and Desserts

Traditionally used as a replacement for dessert, cigars alongside dessert may not be well matched. The smokiness of the cigar may not mix well with the sweetness of most desserts.

But that doesn’t mean you have to forsake one for the other! There are still some combinations of cigars with desserts that work well.  For example, many aficionados enjoy a cigar with dark chocolate since the bitter taste of the chocolate can complement the flavours found in the cigar. Nutty chocolates or snacks, like almonds, can also blend well with a smokey undertone. 

This is also the prime opportunity to go for that triple-pairing, with whiskey cake being a great way of bringing together all three elements for you to enjoy. Demonstrating a sweet flavour itself, the Cohiba Maduro Secretos would be the ideal cigar to try pairing with a dessert. 

If you would rather just have a cigar for dessert, then why not check out our recommendations for dessert cigars? 

When it comes to pairing cigars, there are no set rules. Ultimately, everything will come down to personal preference much like with cigars and food separately. Just try to follow the same guiding principles as you would when pairing cigars with whiskey or wine. 

If you’re looking to find out which cigars go best with your favourite meals, visit Havana House to buy cigars online and get experimenting! Let us know what you think of this new trend; would you try pairing cigars and food?

2 thoughts on “The Art of Pairing Food with Cigars

  1. Pingback: The Ultimate Guide to Pairing | Havana House

  2. Pingback: Cigar Country Spotlight: Switzerland | Havana House

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