Adam, a 29-year-old self-taught weed expert with a playful, nearly perpetual grin, says he's been using cannabis since the 10th grade.
By day he works as an assistant manager at a local retail store. By night, he's more than likely stoned or planning to be stoned, with a new menu item on tap each night to go with his buzz.
He says he’s gone through hundreds of his own trial and error experiments, pairing certain strains to different types of food. He began his journey after he found out that weed has comparable aromas and taste profiles to wine — what one would think of initially when talking about “pairings.”
“Pairing wine with your food is fine at fancy dinner parties. So, why not pot?” Adam says with a laugh.
“I love food,” he adds. “Not just because of the weed, you know? When I was a kid, my mom taught me to cook, and I've always enjoyed that.”
Adam explains that along with sampling as many types as he can, he has done extensive research on cannabis itself, how to grow it, the various origins, the makeup of it and the best ways to consume it.
“Something I learned when I first started looking into pairing weed and food was that there are oils in the strains called terpenes,” he says. “They give the different strains different smells and flavors.”
Pot is Adam's passion, and when we finally sat down to talk, he eagerly wanted to explain the best weed and food pairings he’s found for the holiday season.
Adam explains these strains are the most relaxing of the three. Because of that, he likes to pair them with a mellow night — exclusively for dinner or hanging out playing video games or watching movies.
These are also the strains used most by consumers to treat insomnia.
What to Pair:
Northern Lights is one of the top sellers (in Colorado) for a reason, Adam notes. It’s strong, spicy flavor goes well with roasts. He says he especially likes it with traditional Christmas roast beef.
Blue Cheese, another flavorful indica, goes well with salads and light appetizer type snacks like a veggie tray or cheese dips. He notes that some of his friends try to stick with healthier weed snack pairings, and this is it.
Afghan Kush is a strain that gives people a huge appetite, and would be perfect before large dinners. It’s earthy flavor pairs well with meats, especially turkey.
Sativa, is the direct opposite of indica, making users feel energized, in a positive mood, and more creative. This is the kind of weed that is often used to treat mood disorders or depression when used medicinally.
Adam says he prefers to use this earlier in the day rather than late at night, much like you would save a more caffeinated coffee for brunch rather than after dinner.
What to Pair:
Adam says he loves citrus notes, and Durban Poison is one of his favorite of the bunch.
“The citrus is strong and it’s energizing,” he says, adding that he prefers to pair those with an early afternoon brunch. Chocolate chip muffins and other sweet breakfast pastries are some of his favorite things to buddy-up with it.
Green Crack is earthy and citrusy, too, and Adam says he likes to pair it with breakfast or brunch menu items because it gives him a burst of energy. Orange marmalade, a childhood Christmas staple in Adam’s family, makes an excellent pairing.
Hybrids are basically the best of both worlds, and Adam says that makes them easier to pair with different meals or dishes because it allows him to focus more on the flavor profiles.
What to Pair:
Adam recommends pairing Girl Scout Cookies with chocolatey desserts, like fudge and chocolate covered pretzels. The sweet flavors are good for entertaining parties or dessert.
However, Adam also notes that he likes to partner Girl Scout Cookies with appetizers like salami on crackers. “It brings a different element to it, and my girlfriend really likes the salty and sweet aspect,” he says.
And don’t forget about the ham: Adam insists Pineapple Express goes perfect with the salty course, adding that fish can also take its place if your family doesn’t eat pork.
Blue Dream is sweet, with blueberry highlights. Adam recommends it with cheesecake.
Mob Boss is another of Adam’s favorites. He said he loves it with stuffing on Thanksgiving, but his brother wasn’t as crazy with the pairing.
His expertise aside, Adam adds that different pairings and strains will appeal to different people. Just like taste and cuisine is a personal choice, so are preferences to cannabis. But, Adam adds, you can never go wrong with good old fashioned holiday junk food such as popcorn, cookies and chips and dip.