Last night while visiting a friend out in the boonies of Etowah, North Carolina, COS writer Christopher McCollum and I managed to catch up with our good friend Bob from the Netherlands. In addition to sharing many of our favorite vices of the alcoholic variety, Bob brought with him a variety of delicious Gouda cheeses, sausages, and candies, which provided the perfect victuals to enjoy along with the spirits we were sharing.
While Chris and I enjoyed our bourbon neat (reveling in the honey brown sweetness of the aged Kentucky whiskey), Bob sliced up a delicious cold Fijre Cervelaat sausage. It was a bit fatty, but in small quantities makes for a delightful treat, and complimented the bourbon very well. Before we had time to finish the delicious meats, Bob had brought out of the refrigerator two varieties of Gouda cheese: a Holland extra-belegen, as well as a variety infused with Kaas seeds, which provided a unique herby-flavor unlike much anything western audiences are used to. As the conversation drifted from our recent penchant for Campari here at Culture of Spirits, we began to discuss yet another clandestine European liqueur: Benedictine.
Benedictine is becoming increasingly difficult to purchase here in the states, with many stores opting instead for pre-mixed “B&B”, named for the beverage consisting of brandy mixed half-and-half with Benedictine. Bob told us a unique tale, in which he and several French monks he had known years ago had been invited to the monastery to help mix the Benedictine spirits with brandy in equal proportions (during which a good bit of consumption took place). Apparently, Bob had served in the Dutch Navy at the time, and one of their men had been placed in prison for the night for disorderly conduct. According to legend, Bob and several of the monks (drunk on B&B) decided to spring their buddy out of jail… by somewhat less than typical means. The rescue party “borrowed” a truck, which they used to separate a portion of the outer wall of their incarcerated friend’s cell from the jail’s foundation. Scrambling into the truck, the posse returned the vehicle, and hid out at the monastery for a few days before heading back to Holland.
Such wild stories were the fruit of the evening, but in spite of my profound penchant for spirits, the “foody” in me enjoyed the indulgence of tasting all the rich cheeses and sausage with a nice bourbon. Sometimes it is indeed true that “the drink can make the dish”, but that seems to work both ways just as well!