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Match of the week

Match of the week

Kibbeh and Domaine des Tourelles red

Kibbeh and Domaine des Tourelles red

I agonised over whether this should be the standout pairing from this marvellous Lebanese meal at Arabica last week but it won by just a whisker.

Frozen milk chocolate and raspberry cake with Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui

Frozen milk chocolate and raspberry cake with Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui

One of the courses at the food and wine workshops I hosted for Irish wine importer Febvre at Drury Buildings in Dublin last week was a frozen milk chocolate and raspberry cake - well, sort of cake. More like a cross between a cake and a mousse.

Blood orange and chocolate with Highland Park 12

Blood orange and chocolate with Highland Park 12

It’s not often I come across such a good dessert pairing, let alone one with whisky but here’s a stellar one from L Mulligan Grocer in Dublin which offers whisky pairings with all its desserts

Seared tuna with sesame and 2013 Elephant Hill Syrah

Seared tuna with sesame and 2013 Elephant Hill Syrah

My final meal in New Zealand last week was also one of the most impressive of my recent trip: lunch at the award-winning Elephant Hill winery in Hawkes Bay.

Venison tartare with Mountford's The Rise 2009 pinot noir

Venison tartare with Mountford's The Rise 2009 pinot noir

As you can imagine I’ve been drinking a fair amount of pinot noir in New Zealand this week (it’s a hard life). In general Kiwis pair it with lamb for obvious reasons but the most striking match I came across was with a venison tartare at the North Canterbury forage, a fabulous event I’ll be writing more about in due course

Crispy chilli lime squid with edamame bean and coriander salad and pinot gris

Crispy chilli lime squid with edamame bean and coriander salad and pinot gris

Having picked up a heavy cold a couple of days before flying to New Zealand last week I arrived unable to taste a thing but this delicately pretty wine from Brick Bay Winery in Matakana managed to penetrate the fog.

Japchae and a Happy Ending cocktail

Japchae and a Happy Ending cocktail

I really think there are some cuisines that work better with cocktails than wine and Korean is one of them as I was reminded at the opening of celebrity chef Judy Joo’s JinJuu last week

Poached salt pollock and cauliflower with Julien Meyer's 'Nature' Sylvaner/Pinot Gris

Poached salt pollock and cauliflower with Julien Meyer's 'Nature' Sylvaner/Pinot Gris

Like half the world it seems at the moment I’m a bit obsessed with cauliflower so was drawn to this dish at Birch in Bristol on Friday like a moth to a flame

Tortilla chips, salsa fresca and a virgin mojito

Tortilla chips, salsa fresca and a virgin mojito

My first meal of the new year was a Mexican which might sound unusual in London but not much is open on New Year’s Day. We went to Wahaca which has a number of restaurants around the capital with some good non-alcoholic drinks options.

My 12 best drink pairings of 2014

My 12 best drink pairings of 2014

In my annual round-up of the best matches of the year I usually end up listing around a third of my matches of the week so I thought this year I’d set myself the the challenge of picking one from each calendar month.

Panettone with chocolate, zabaglione and mascarpone cream and ‘semi-secco’ marsala

Panettone with chocolate, zabaglione and mascarpone cream and ‘semi-secco’ marsala

With the traditional emphasis on port and, to a lesser extent, sherry at Christmas, it’s easy to forget the virtues of marsala, an equally festive drink. Especially as I discovered last week at my friend cookery writer Thane Prince’s with a rich, boozy panettone.

Smoking Goat ‘fish sauce wings’ and Peter Lauer 'Fass 16' Saar riesling

Smoking Goat ‘fish sauce wings’ and Peter Lauer 'Fass 16' Saar riesling

It’s well established that riesling is a good match for spicy food but you don’t often get as good a pairing as the new Soho bar Smoking Goat’s already fabled ‘fish sauce wings’ and Peter Lauer’s 2013 ‘Fass 16’ Saar riesling..

Wagyu beef sliders and Lanson Extra Age champagne

Wagyu beef sliders and Lanson Extra Age champagne

Steak isn’t the first ingredient you might think of pairing with champagne but if it’s ground wagyu beef, served in a bun with a quality glass of fizz in a glitzy Park Lane restaurant you might just have to force yourself.

Grey mullet, fennel and muscadet

Grey mullet, fennel and muscadet

This isn’t the first time I’ve made muscadet my match of the week but it’s a wine that’s great value, constantly improving in quality and unbelievably versatile with food.

Duck and waffle and saison beer

Duck and waffle and saison beer

Unusually this week’s match is speculative - an imagined pairing rather than an actual one.

Scallop and mango ceviche with Montes Cherub Syrah Rosé

Scallop and mango ceviche with Montes Cherub Syrah Rosé

Given Chile’s proximity to the coast, this week’s match couldn’t be anything but seafood but I’m going to pass over the more obvious pairings with sauvignon blanc in favour of this wildly brilliant combination of scallops and rosé.

Beef shin pie and a Languedoc red

Beef shin pie and a Languedoc red

It’s amazing how many different styles of eating you can pack into a week, particularly when you’re travelling. At the moment I’m in sunny Chile stuffing myself with seafood and sauvignon blanc so I'm finding it hard to remember that just six days ago I was in rain-ravaged Britain craving pies and stews.

Seafood tapas and Txakoli

Seafood tapas and Txakoli

Despite its almost unpronounceable name Txakoli (pronounced chackoly) is the new kid on the block for anyone who likes a crisp dry white wine.

Currywurst and pils

Currywurst and pils

What on earth do you drink with currywurst? Last week I was in Berlin so had the perfect opportunity to find out.

Soumaintrain and Chablis

Soumaintrain and Chablis

There were many great pairings to pick from in Chablis last week but the one I’m going for is a cheese I was relatively unfamiliar with: Soumaintrain

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