Craftsmen’s Dinner - Michel Roux JR and Balvenie whisky
Learning the craft behind Balvenie whisky with Craftsmen’s Dinner
My recent trip to Edinburgh ignited my love of single malt whisky, as I learnt so much about the beautiful craft behind the delicious drink.
As a result I was excited to hear that Balvenie has launched its final installment of The Craftsmen’s Dinner. This year, the series of short films, hosted by renowned Michelin starred chef, Michel Roux Jr., takes place at The Balvenie Distillery in Scotland, where Michel gets sparks of inspiration from the craftspeople behind the whisky.
Spending a week at the distillery, Michel aims to understand the elements of craft which go into Balvenie whisky, and meets three expert craftspeople who shape the whisky as we know it.
This includes firstly meeting a maltman, whose team is in charge of taking care of the barley, turning it by hand and operating a working floor maltings, one of only a handful left in Scotland. Then a coppersmith, who maintains the copper stills where the essential process of distillation happens. Finally, Michel meets with a Whisky Technologist, who monitors the maturation, flavour and blend of the whisky until it’s ready to be bottled.
The series concludes with the three-course ‘Craftsmen’s Dinner’ hosted at The Balvenie House and curated by Michel Roux Jr. This is a meal which I would love to taste, as the delicious dishes show the magic of bringing different crafts together. Dishes include roasted venison smoked with woodchips from the casks in the cooperage and passion fruit soufflé with white chocolate ice cream, served in beautiful copper pots!
This new series focuses on the classic techniques adopted and used by the craftspeople, something which a foodie like me can’t get enough of! From tending to the barley, to blending and maturing the whisky, the series highlights that each stage in the process is integral to the taste. Michel’s key take away is that true craft needs a human touch.