Serious about food & wine pairing?

August 17th, 2007 | Uncategorized

I have written on a few previous occasions about food and wine pairing (and the snobbism often associated with this subject), but in the end there is really only one way to find the definitive answer….. make some tastings for yourself.

Now here is an idea where you can really have some fun, but more importantly, learn a huge amount about the do’s and dont’s of food and wine. If you have some friends who have even a passing interest in wine, then invite them to join you – this can make for a very entertaining evening. If you own a hotel or restaurant this can also be a great way to educate your employees….

Firstly, make a small but simple shopping list. You will need:

1). A ‘Granny Smith’ apple (or similar green apple with tart acidity)
2). Pieces of dried apple (or other dried fruit)
3). A wedge of lemon
4). An artichoke (could be tinned, so long as it is well drained)
5). Brie or similar cheese with black pepper coating
6). Blue cheese (of your own choice)

The idea is quite simple – you open a bottle of wine (or even better, a selection of two or three different wines), and then systematically taste each one with each of the different foods. You can also try some combinations – spread a bit of blue cheese on the apple, squeeze a little lemon juice on the artichoke – see if this changes your perception.

If you do decide to do this with two or three different wines, then do make sure you have some contrast. For example, I would suggest:

1). A light off-dry or medium sweet white wine
2). A richly oaked white wine
3). A fresh, dry fruity white (which must be Albariño!)
4). A fresh fruity red wine
5). A more tannic red wine

Certainly, professionals would be advised to make copious notes of the results – otherwise simply try to remember the combinations that really don’t work, so that you do not make an expensive mistake when eating out! Remember, it is often the way that food is prepared, and the sauce, that makes all the difference – Pinot Noir with beef for example, can be excellent, but then add some horseradish sauce to your meat, and the wine is destroyed. Egg is also notoriously difficult to match, and probably best avoided – I can only make one possible suggestion – a very old (almost oxidised), white Rhone wine, which might sound disgusting but can work reasonably well with scrambled egg.

We live and learn!

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