Cognac is a French brandy that dates back to the 16th century. Although brandy can be made anywhere and by anyone who has a recipe, only liqueur made in the region of Cognac, France can be labeled "Cognac." Cognac is traditionally sipped after dinner; however, there are a few foods that pair particularly well with this French brandy.
Typically, cognac is not sold if it's younger than three years old. For young bottles of Cognac, the French dish foie gras is recommended. This French delicacy, made from fattened duck or goose liver, is often known for having a rich and buttery taste. The rich and buttery taste of foie gras goes well with the light, sweet taste of a younger bottle of Cognac. For a Cognac tasting, consider making foie gras mousse in tiny parfait or ice cream dishes.
Beef is often paired with Cognac. For slightly aged Cognac, consider filet mignon or beef tenderloin. Slightly older bottles of Cognac, typically five years old, have a sweetness to them. The mild and slightly sweet taste of the beef works well with these Cognacs. For a Cognac tasting, consider slicing filet mignon or beef tenderloin into strips. As people are sipping on their Cognac they can enjoy the bite-sized beef strips.
Older bottles of Cognac--older that five years--will have spicy and vanilla tastes to them. These Cognacs are perfect for after dinner alongside a dessert, especially dark chocolate. The slightly bitter slightly sweet taste of the chocolate works very well with the vanilla notes of an older bottle of Cognac. For a Cognac tasting, lay out a few trays of different dark chocolates for each guest to enjoy with their glass.
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