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.
The idea of drinking champagne with fast food might seem outrageous but you have to believe me it works!
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
I don’t that often order sake in a restaurant but when I do I wonder why I don’t drink it more often.
This has been one of the most difficult weeks ever to pick my match of the week but this, by a whisker, was it.
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)
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
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.
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
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.