Legislators nationwide have agreed food and cigarettes don't belong together, but cigar smokers say their favorite tobacco product can bring a new dimension to dining.
"Obviously, a cigar is different than a cigarette," says Crush's Jason Wilson, who helped organize the culinary component of this weekend's Seattle Cigar Expo. "A cigar offers great pairing possibilities with food."
While cigar is traditionally matched with wine or spirits, Wilson maintains a cigar can be enjoyed with grilled pork or raw oysters. Wilson is slow-roasting a whole hog and sous viding baby back ribs for the Saturday event. Other participating restaurants include Skillet, El Gaucho, Via Tribunali, and Rabbit Hole, which plans to serve bacon macaroni and cheese.
Cigars complement anything with "sweet spice," Wilson says. "More robust foods work out very well."
The right cigar should offer more than just smoke, he adds. "There are lots of little nuances to this," Wilson says, pointing out that the sandalwood notes of a light-body cigar can underscore the flinty quality of oysters. "There are different flavors of tobacco."
Wilson describes himself as a casual smoker; he enjoys a cigar while he's fly-fishing.
"I like all things that are fun in life," he says.