The first step in any good jaffle, of course, is selecting the cheese. “It’s how you strike the perfect balance between stretchy, gooey texture and rich, complex flavour,” says Jessica Arnott, self-described “jaffle master” at Perth’s Foxtrot Unicorn. Arnott is an expert; she’s done time at the late, great Fromage Artisans as well as on Masterchef Australia (coming in third place in season 7), and has won awards at home and abroad for her work behind the bar. Which also puts her in expert position to match her cheese creations with the correct drinks. “Cheese and Scotch whisky are already a match made in heaven,” she says of the pairing, “[so] in this oozy union they both bring out the complexity in the other.”

For pairing at home, Arnott recommends a central trio of smoked gouda, firm mozzarella and a sharp cheddar, though you can swap out the smoked gouda for regular gouda, edam or simply a smoked cheddar.

“They have the best combo of stretchiness and flavour,” she says. “But if a block of tasty cheddar is all you’ve got, then no judgement here. There’s no such thing as bad melted cheese.”

Broadsheet Access members get special tables at busy restaurants, tickets to exclusive events and discounts on food, coffee, brand offers and more.

Find out more

We asked Arnott to help us pair her artisanal toasties with Balvenie whisky to achieve a Venn diagram of iso-friendly cosiness. 


Epic Cheese Jaffle x The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old
Arnott’s first recipe is a simplified version of Foxtrot Unicorn’s house-made “Jaffle Crack” creation that leans into the spice notes of The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old, a single malt that takes its name and character from two different oak casks. “It’s aged in both ex-bourbon and sherry barrels,” she says, “which provide oaky vanilla and cinnamon spice notes with a backbone of rich dried-fruit flavours.” That sweetness inherent in The Balvenie’s sherry notes pairs perfectly with the salt and acidity of cheese.

The Epic Cheese Jaffle combines garlic salt, chicken-stock powder and white pepper, though feel free to replace the seasoning with salt and pepper if it’s all you have in pantry. Similarly, swap out the chicken stock for a vegetarian alternative.

Here’s how to make it at home, perfectly paired with a 30ml serve of The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old.

Epic Cheese Jaffle

Ingredients:
2 slices white bread, cut 1.5cm thick
2 tbsp salted butter, melted
2 tbsp finely grated parmesan
40g grated smoked gouda
40g grated mozzarella
20g grated vintage cheddar
A pinch of garlic salt
A pinch of Vegeta chicken-stock powder
A pinch of white pepper

Method:
Brush outside of each brad slice with melted butter, out to the crusts. Sprinkle on grated parmesan, pressing cheese into buttered bread. Flip over and fill non-buttered side with grated cheeses and seasonings. Add top slice of bread and press gently. Place in jaffle iron, sandwich press or pan and cook for around 8 minutes, or until dark golden brown and cheese is melted. Cut in half and serve hot.

Spicy Boi x The Balvenie Stories ‘Sweet Toast of American Oak’ 12 Year Old
One of Foxtrot Unicorn’s most popular jaffles, Spicy Boi is aptly named.

“It doubles down on the chilli factor and is not for the faint-hearted, but will get that sedentary isolation blood pumping,” says Arnott. Between the dark rye, cheeses, pickled jalapeno and caramelised onion jam (or any sweet relish), the only potentially unfamiliar ingredient is ‘nduja, a spreadable pork salami heaped with chilli. Most delis will have it on hand, but you can always substitute a few layers of hot salami.

Arnott pairs this fiery creation with The Balvenie Sweet Toast of American Oak whisky, which she describes as “full of really lovely, sweet cereal, vanilla and butterscotch flavours that counter the heat factor of this sandwich perfectly.” If the spice proves slightly too intense, a large nugget of ice to the drink will add some cooling power.

Here’s how to make the toastie at home, serve with a 30ml serve of The Balvenie Sweet Toast of American Oak whisky on ice.

Spicy Boi Toastie

Ingredients:
2 slices dark rye bread, cut 1.5cm thick
2 tbsp salted butter, melted
2 tbsp finely grated parmesan
40g ‘nduja
1 tbsp caramelised onion jam
40g grated smoked gouda
40g grated mozzarella
20g grated vintage cheddar
6 slices pickled jalapeno

Method:
Brush outside of each slice of bread with melted butter, reaching out to the crusts. Sprinkle over grated parmesan, pressing cheese into buttered bread. Flip over and spread one slice with the ‘nduja and the other with caramelised onion jam. Add grated cheeses and pickled jalapenos. Add top slice of bread and press gently. Place in jaffle iron, sandwich press or pan and cook for around 8 minutes.

As the ‘nduja heats it will leak spicy oil. Using a pastry brush, baste the bread with this oil a couple of times while cooking. Cook until well toasted and crispy, and all the cheese is melted. Cut in half and serve hot.

Roast Pumpkin, Miso and Kimcheese Toastie x The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old Highball
Featuring the distinctly Asian flavours of miso and kimchi – both solid items to have hanging out the fridge at the moment – Arnott gives a nod here to Japan with some wonderfully rich Kewpie mayo. “It’s an iso-pantry staple,” she says, “as the shelf life is infinite and it’s huge on flavour.” She then maximises this flavour bomb with parmesan crust or bacon – strictly optional.

She says pair it with the DoubleWood for the raisin flavours from the sherry barrels it’s aged in, which matches the sweetness of pumpkin and the saltiness of miso paste and sesame oil.

“I’d try this with a highball,” she says. “45 mls of whisky and soda in a tall glass full of ice. The bubbles will help cleanse your palate after each bite of this umami-rich sandwich.”

Here’s how to make the toastie at home. Pair with a The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old Highball, featuring 45ml whisky, topped with soda and served with a lemon garnish.

Roast Pumpkin, Miso and Kimcheese Toastie

Ingredients:
1 tbsp Kewpie mayo
1 tsp miso
½ tsp sesame oil
2 slices good crusty white bread, cut 1.5cm thick
2 tbsp salted butter, melted
30g grated smoked gouda
30g grated mozzarella
10g grated vintage cheddar
1 tbsp kimchi
⅓ cup leftover roasted pumpkin
1 tbsp finely sliced spring onions

Method:
In a bullet blender, blitz the Kewpie mayo, miso and sesame oil together until smooth. If no blender, whisk in a bowl. Brush outside of each slice of bread with melted butter, reaching out to the crusts. Flip one slice over and spread the miso mayonnaise. Add grated cheeses, followed by the kimchi, then pumpkin and a sprinkle of spring onions. Take the other piece of bread and press gently on top. Place in jaffle iron, sandwich press or pan and cook for around 8 minutes, until dark golden brown and all the cheese is melted. Cut in half and serve hot.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with The Balvenie.