Food and Wine Pairings. Tips on Wine to Serve with your Food
There's nothing better than having your loved ones over for food and wine. But deciding which wine to pair with which dish can be difficult. There are already so many choices to make with wine. Red, white, sparkling, rosé… Not to mention the different varieties of each. If you have no idea, one rule that generally works quite well is white wine with white meat and red wine with red meat. While this is not always the case, it’s a good place to start.
I know it’s common for a cheese platter to be served as dessert, but I like to start off on the right foot, and really, what’s better than cheese and wine?! No doubt your guests will enjoy the cheese regardless of the wine they are drinking, but here are some combinations that I personally enjoy. Soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert taste delicious with Chardonnay. Swiss is great with Pinot Noir and Cheddar with Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. One other personal favourite is Goat’s Cheese with Sauvignon Blanc. The acidity and citrus of the wine pairs super well with the creaminess of the cheese and provides some delicious flavours.
The versatility of chicken makes it an easy option to serve no matter what time of the day and pairing it with white wine is always a safe option. A variety of white wines go well, depending on how you are having the chicken. A lightly oaked Chardonnay or a Viognier pairs perfectly with creamy chicken dishes or a mild chicken curry. Aromatic wines like Riesling or Pinot Gris match well if you are planning on serving a spicy chicken stir-fry or Asian-style chicken dishes.
If you are serving red meat like beef, steak or lamb, the red wine with red meat rule works well. You usually can’t go wrong with a dry red like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot which is fruit-driven and soft in tannins. A robust and bold Shiraz pairs magically with a meaty bit of steak, but a Pinot Noir can also go well with a leaner piece of meat. Despite the rule, a chilled glass of Rosé goes down wonderfully with a range of barbecued and roasted meats. Particularly on a sunny day!
Seafood is a great choice for lunch or dinner and if you’re not sure which wine to pick, white wine is an easy option. Salmon is one of my favourites and goes really well with Pinot Gris and Chardonnay which can withstand the stronger flavours of an oily fish like salmon. If your preference is a lean white fish, a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio are great choices.
Asian food is always a winner, whether an entrée of spring rolls, stir-fry with Asian sauce or even your local Thai takeaway. I believe that ordering takeaway can sometimes be the best option when you want to kick back and enjoy yourself rather than spending time in the kitchen. Who doesn’t enjoy having a professional cook their meal and deliver it to the door? Whatever you choose, matching wine with Asian food can bring about incredible flavours. Although, you do need to consider the sweetness, spiciness and heat of the dishes you are eating.
Choose light bodied wines and wines with noticeable sweetness. Alcohol will increase the burning sensation of hot foods, while sugar will reduce it. Spicy dishes pair well with a sparkling wine and Viognier works well with gentle spice. If your preference is red wine, a lighter bodied red like Pinot Noir tastes great with Asian food.
If you are looking to serve cake, pastries, biscuits and any other sweet things, Prosecco is a great match. Usually recognised as sweeter than other sparkling wines, the freshness, low alcohol and high acidity brings out the flavour of desserts stunningly. It’s always nice to end the day on a bubbly too!
The important thing about food and wine pairing is to not stress too much about it and just focus on enjoying the experience. Personally speaking- food, wine and loved ones is already a pretty great combination!
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