Haute Pot Pairings: Inside the World of High-End Marijuana Cuisine

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Sativa with fish? Indica with steak? Or is it the other way around? Welcome to the world of pairing strains of marijuana with specific foods to enhance their flavor – the hot trend in states where marijuana is legal.

This is not like eating food cooked with cannabis, which people have been doing at least since Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas served their guests in Paris hashish fudge. “It should be eaten with care,” Toklas wrote in her cookbook. “Two pieces are quite sufficient.”

That’s the problem: with edibles, it’s hard to know how much THC you’re consuming until it’s too late. I went with Jeff Steingarten, the food critic for Vogue, to a dinner in Colorado where everything we put in our mouths – cocktails, gnocchi, trout, chocolate decadence – was infused with cannabis. I wound up prone in the guest bedroom before dessert was served. But with cannabis pairing, you’re offered a different strain to smoke with each course, so you know right away how high you’re getting.

I was introduced to grass when I was a student at Berkeley in the 1960s, and since then, it’s always been my drug of choice. When I moved to Colorado in 2002, I had no idea it would be one of the first states to legalize pot. My friends and I thought we’d never see that in our lifetimes. Back in college, you bought whatever batch your dealer was selling, with only a sketchy idea of what it was or where it came from. Now I have three dispensaries in walking distance, with a dizzying array of strains that have been bred and cross-bred for aroma, taste, and effect.

This summer, when I heard about a farm-to-table dinner where every course would be paired with a different strain of marijuana, I knew I had to go. Produced by Mason Jar Events in Denver, it was surreal: a hundred stoned people sitting at two long tables on the grass at the Shupe Homestead, a farm established in 1899.

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