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Match of the week

Match of the week

Endive, Stilton and walnut salad with blanc de blancs champagne

Endive, Stilton and walnut salad with blanc de blancs champagne

Champagne two weeks running? I know - it is a bit indulgent but I just couldn’t ignore last night’s extraordinary dinner at the Savoy to celebrate the trophy winners and launch of the first Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships. Besides it is our 400th Match of the Week - equally something to celebrate.

Sausage rolls and champagne

Sausage rolls and champagne

The idea of drinking champagne with fast food might seem outrageous but you have to believe me it works!

Veal chop with sage and Eben Sadie Sequillo Red

Veal chop with sage and Eben Sadie Sequillo Red

I had lunch for the first time for a while at Hix’s Oyster and Chop House in Farringdon last week where I ordered - appropriately enough - a chop. In this instance a veal chop with sage butter.

Sausage and gammon pie and Wiper & True Family Tree IPA

Sausage and gammon pie and Wiper & True Family Tree IPA

OK, pie and beer is not rocket science but sometimes it’s good to be reminded what a very good match they can be. Especially when both the pie and the beer come from the same place.

Cracked olives with fennel and Noilly Prat

Cracked olives with fennel and Noilly Prat

At this time of year in the Languedoc the markets are full of bowls of every conceivable type of marinated olives - so hard to resist with an ‘aperitif’.

Prawns and Aligoté

Prawns and Aligoté

To those who have spotted on Twitter that I'm down in the Languedoc it might seem odd that to be drinking aligoté but we’d picked some up in Burgundy on our journey through France and wanted to try it out.

Boeuf bourguignon and Saint-Romain

Boeuf bourguignon and Saint-Romain

It should really come as no surprise that a beef stew made with red burgundy should pair with red burgundy but when you think about it it’s not a given. A rich stew cooked for hours in red wine accompanied with a light red burgundy doesn’t sound like a match made in heaven even if the cooking wine involved is burgundy.

Sweetcorn, feta and green chilli waffles and pink grapefruit juice

Sweetcorn, feta and green chilli waffles and pink grapefruit juice

Soft drinks don’t often feature in my weekly pairings but this combination of an inventive savoury breakfast waffle and some lovely fresh pink grapefruit juice at The Modern Pantry last week was spot on.

Cherry, pistachio and coconut cake and Seifried 'Sweet Agnes' riesling

Cherry, pistachio and coconut cake and Seifried 'Sweet Agnes' riesling

Until last night I was confident what I was going to make my match of the week, this week - the unlikely but delicious combination of a Langhe Nebbiolo and Berkswell sheep’s cheese but last night I was blown away by this pairing.

Wagyu beef tataki and ginjo sake

Wagyu beef tataki and ginjo sake

We get so used to thinking of red wine as the only pairing for beef that it’s good to be reminded there are other options. Especially when it comes to Japan’s fabled Wagyu beef which is all about subtle tastes and textures.

Smoked haddock and leek risotto and Albarino

Smoked haddock and leek risotto and Albarino

If you were thinking of a wine pairing for risotto you’d probably reach for an Italian white such as a Pinot Grigio but Spain’s famous Galician white Albarino works equally well as I discovered the other day.

Asparagus salad and Grüner Veltliner

Asparagus salad and Grüner Veltliner

I’ve been in Vienna for the past few days so couldn’t really avoid eating asparagus. Not that I wanted to. Austria’s white asparagus is one of the highlights of the spring and early summer so we grabbed any opportunity we could to wolf it.

Spiced creme brulée tarts and Carthagène de Haut-Gléon

Spiced creme brulée tarts and Carthagène de Haut-Gléon

Last week was the London Wine Fair - the last place, to be honest, I expected to find a stellar wine match. (It doesn't feature food.)

Crespelle with wild asparagus and fonduta and extra dry prosecco

Crespelle with wild asparagus and fonduta and extra dry prosecco

I’ve spent the last 3 days in the Veneto at a prosecco festival called Vino in Villa (yup, alright for some, but if it’s any consolation the weather hasn’t been as good as it has in the UK)

Fried chicken with Kung Fu Girl Columbia Valley Riesling

Fried chicken with Kung Fu Girl Columbia Valley Riesling

It’s not that often you find a wine that’s perfectly suited to every dish you throw at it but The Lockhart’s well chosen Kung Fu Girl riesling sailed right through our lunch there last week

Tonka bean ice cream and Zoco Pacharan

Tonka bean ice cream and Zoco Pacharan

It’s not often I come across a drink I’ve never heard of but Pacharan or Paxtaran, a Basque sloe-flavoured liqueur from Navarra, is one of them.

Spiced parsnip soup with Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted

Spiced parsnip soup with Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted

Although I’ve tasted some good wines this week it’s beer that has provided the highlights. The Magic Rock Rapture amber ale I drank at The Pint Shop in Cambridge with their awesome beer brined chicken was pretty good but it’s pipped into the ‘drink of the week’ slot by this pairing at The Hole in the Wall in Little Wilbraham

Fruit and flower tart with German auslese riesling

Fruit and flower tart with German auslese riesling

I've struggled to come up with a single pairing from last week as all the matches I was offered at the two-Michelin-starred The Ledbury were spot on but this, I think, is the most spectacular.

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