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Rachel McCormack: Chasing the Dram - the world of taste and whisky


    How it went – by Peter Lord
    A near capacity crowd in the Waterside Room at Hebden Bridge Town Hall were entertained and informed by a superb presentation by Radio 4’s Kitchen Cabinet panellist, Rachel McCormack.

    Rachel delighted all in attendance with her knowledgable description of the history and current popularity of the whisky industry in Scotland. She illustrated her talk with tastings of whiskies, chocolate (from The Yorkshire Chocolate Company, Bridge Gate) and cheese (from Goo Cheese, Albert Street) which were distributed to a very receptive audience by Lit & Sci Committee members. Rachel paired a Tullibardine Single Malt from the Highlands with Isle of Mull Cheddar cheese and a dark chocolate. A creamy Lancashire cheese and milk chocolate provided a perfect accompaniment to Glen Moray, a Speyside Single Malt. Then followed a pairing of the peaty Isla Malt, Laphroaig, with Yorkshire Blue Cheese and white chocolate.

    Rachel received plenty of questions throughout and answered them in her typically amusing and authoritative style. Asked about adding ice to a single malt she advised that maybe on a Spanish beach in summer but definitely not on a cold February day in Hebden Bridge.

    A final treat for the audience was provided by Barbara Atack, whose late husband had bought a whole cask of Single Malt and which she had had bottled. A taster of “Atack’s Revenge” and more questions for Rachel rounded off the evening perfectly. Thanks again to the staff at Hebden Bridge Town Hall for their hospitality.

    The Lit & Sci Committee Is working really hard at creating a diverse and fascinating programme of events. Rachel’s talk was a marvellous contribution.

    Rachel McCormack is a broadcaster and writer, known mostly as a panelist on BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet. She is the author of “Chasing the Dram, finding the spirit of whisky” a wonderful description of her journey visiting the many distilleries in Scotland. Her repertoire ranges from whisky and chocolate tastings to cooking demonstrations with her customary warmth and wit making her sessions very popular with both the audience and the organisers.

    Rachel’s aim in life is to help people to drink great drinks, cook great food and have a great time with their friends. At the event in Hebden Bridge Rachel will explain in her own inimitable style what she has learned about Scotland’s national drink, how much she sacrificed herself to learn it while giving you a chance to try some whisky with her and possibly some other things beside.

    Rachel spent most of her twenties in Spain, specifically in Catalonia catching their obsession with food and cooking. She has taught Catalan and other Spanish cooking classes around the country for many years along with writing articles in various magazines and newspapers. She was instrumental in helping to create the street food revolution in London as she set up the Ropewalk section of the Maltby St market in 2012. Rachel has hosted and presented at various food and drink festivals in Spain and throughout the UK. She has achieved Superstar status at the Also Festival ( a “Festival of Ideas” which is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year at Compton Verney, Warwickshire.