Food, Wine

Solving Food and Wine Matching Conundrums.

We all know that artichokes, asparagus, salads with vinaigrette dressing, and eggs prepared in any fashion, are almost impossible to match with wine. Fear not, if you like any of these foods, there is help.

Experts tell us that white wines go best with fish and red with meat, but you can match grilled, or baked salmon with pinot noir, or roasted chicken with a light gamay or Beaujolais, then surprise your guests serving them lobster cocktail even crisp potato chips with brut champagne.

Of course, Chablis and oysters on the half shell with a drop or two of lemon juice is classic, but a glass of Guinness draught with oysters can be as enticing.

The strong flavour of asparagus will make wine taste metallic and unpleasant, but if you grill green asparagus and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, or Grana Padano, or Pecorino Toscano, you will be surprised.

Similarly, you can sauté asparagus spears in butter and serve them with a squeeze of lemon juice. A fine sauvignon blanc or dry champagne will do wonders.

If you like to serve salads and wine, you should replace vinegar with unsweetened orange juice or lemon juice, or use mild balsamic vinegar. The balsamic vinegar must the authentic. Beware of imitations.

Artichokes will ruin any wine, but stew them in extra virgin olive oil with carrots, peas, pearl onions, and white wine, then you will be surprise how well sauvignon blanc goes with this Middle Eastern specialty.

Pickled herring with a dollop of sour cream, capers and sour cream, garnished with thinly sliced red onions go surprisingly well with super cold vodka. The same is true with caviar on blinis (small buckwheat crepes).

If you like kippers for breakfast, try a dram of single malt to understand why Scots are so healthy and cheerful.

Smoked salmon also goes well with single malts, not to speak of a rich dry, Alsatian gewürztraminer with floral aromas, lyhce nuts and ginger flavors.

Curried dishes are notoriously difficult to match with wine, yet off-dry, highly aromatic wines do work well particularly with mild curries, but generally connoisseurs consider beer the more suitable.

If you happen to like sparkling wines, try off dry champagne or a sparkling wine from Spain with mild curries.

Chestnut stuffed roasted turkey and a heavy, chardonnay from California are good matches.

Fruit-stuffed, roasted pork and aromatic white wines are excellent, but you can equally successfully match such dishes with light red wines from Beaujolais, Ontario, Veneto or a fine pinot noir form New Zealand.

Chocolate and wine clash, but today there are many strong enough wines to stand up to the intense flavour of chocolate.

First you can match milk chocolates with sweet white ports, then proceed to serve stronger red ports with more intensely flavored chocolates. Of course Banyuls from southwestern France go very well with chocolates.

Truffles and ice wines from Ontario, Austria or Germany can be heavenly matches.  Do not forget raspberry wines with fine chocolate wafers from Switzerland.

When it comes to matching food and wine even traditional taboos can be challenged, and with a little imagination and knowledge, successful matches created.