Break the fast with food — and drink

Breaking the Yom Kippur fast is customarily celebrated with family and friends. While the meal occurs at the end of a long day, the foods are usually some variation of a dairy or pareve breakfast or brunch. While there are often loads of desserts and other sweets, such as honey or jams — serving as both reminder and ardent wish of life’s sweetness and the promise of the New Year — at least one of the dishes will contain eggs, recalling the cycle of life.

On the table may be a relative’s treasured lokshen kugel (egg noodle pudding), some quiche and perhaps a frittata (basically a crustless quiche), or a strata made with bread, eggs and cheese. Choosing a wine can be a challenge. One approach is to focus on the eggs to
simplify the process.

Sparkling wines, especially dry ones, are an ideal match to egg dishes. Champagne and other sparkling wines add to the festiveness of the occasion. They are a fun and flavorful way to break the fast and to raise a toast to friends and family for a happy and healthy new year.

Spirits-wise, eggy or breakfast-type foods don’t exactly scream for anything in particular. But this is not breakfast as such, merely breakfast-like foods with which to break one’s fast. Further, bagels, lox, herrings and the like, are all common, anytime Jewish foods.

Thoughts run to one of the quintessential classic single malt Scotch whiskies: Talisker.

It is one of the “Classic Malts of Scotland,” at least according to its marketing campaign. These “Classic Malts” are a selection of six single-malt Scotch whiskies that were, and often still are, handsomely displayed together in bars and liquor stores. They are sometimes still seen presented on a trophy-style, polished-wood display rack with brass handles and nameplates. They are: Dalwhinnie 15 from the Highland region; Talisker 10 from the Isle of Skye region; Cragganmore 12 from the Speyside region; Oban 14 from the West Highland region; Lagavulin 16 from the Islay region; and Glenkinchie 12 from the Lowland region.

Despite the fact that the Isle of Skye is an island, not a region, and that West Highland was not previously ever a separate region, the campaign was a huge success. It helped foster greater interest in single malts in the United States.

While not all of these whiskies are equally exceptional, they are all very drinkable. Two, Talisker 10 and Lagavulin 16, are among Scotland’s greatest
contributions to the world of whisky.

Talisker in particular has always held a certain place of honor. For one, it is the only distillery on the Isle of Skye. For another, it was also the favorite whisky of author Robert Louis Stevenson. Talisker whisky, for at least the last 80 years, has been a major component of the Johnnie Walker family of blends.

Talisker 10 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky (45.8 percent abv; $50-$65, so shop around): This is an energetic, thunderous whisky, with billows of peat smoke, brine, iodine, mothballs and sweet citrus fruits on the nose, followed by oak-softened, though still edgy, black pepper, rich dried fruits, malted barley, toffee, another waft of peat smoke, and traces of licorice and honey, all of which powers through towards the balanced, warming, mildly smoky, slightly spicy and absorbingly unvanquished finish. Bold, vibrant, unique and complex with a little undertone of sweetness, this may very well be the essence of Scotland in a bottle. L’chaim!

This column appeared in 2014, when it was written with Lou Marmon.

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