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Asking which wine to pair with salad is a bit like asking about what wine to match with meat or fish. There's no single answer. It depends on the vegetables you use, what other ingredients it contains and what type of dressing you use.
It’s sometimes hard to predict what type of food will pair well with riesling because they’re all so different - some being bone dry, some ultra sweet, some positively floral, others zingy and citrussy.
If you're looking for food pairings for chardonnay, you're in luck! Whatever the style it's a fantastic food wine.
If you’re wondering what to drink with noodles you need to think about the way and the flavours with which they’re cooked rather than the fact that they’re noodles. (Yes, I know pasta counts as noodles too but I’m thinking more of Asian recipes
Roast chicken. Possibly everyone’s favourite Sunday roast. It can take a red or a white wine so the key thing to focus on is what flavourings - or stuffing - you put with it and the sides you serve.
Good news! The best wine with chicken can be either red or white - it depends on your own personal taste and the way it’s cooked.
Merlot has one of the widest ranges of styles of any red wine from the light, quaffable merlots of the Veneto to the grandest of Bordeaux. Obviously one type of food doesn’t go with them all but merlot is your flexible friend when it comes to wine pairing, smoother, rounder and less tannic than cabernet sauvignon with which, of course, it is often blended.
Beer is still seen as a more common pairing than wine with a barbecue but if you’re planning one this weekend - or barbecuing any other weekend this summer - and you prefer drinking wine you may well be wondering which one to choose.
I don't know how often you turn to Asian-inspired salads at this time of year but I find myself making them more and more. Here's a classic Vietnamese salad from Uyen Luu's lovely new book Vietnamese to inspire you.
Although Jenny's Chandler's new book is called Green Kids Cook there are plenty of recipes that would appeal to adults too including this deliciously crunchy salad which provides an answer as to what to do with kohlrabi (I never know).
It was a tough call to find a match of the week this week - there have been so many but I'm picking three dishes from a meal I had at a brilliant south-east Asian (mainly Vietnamese) restaurant in Tanunda in the Barossa Valley called Ferment Asian which has just picked up an award for the best Asian restaurant in South Australia
As with most salads Caesar salad is all about the dressing which on the face of it sounds tricky, anchovies being notoriously difficult to match with wine.
One of the most useful things you can have in your cupboard at the moment is vac packed cooked beetroot which you can buy in the fresh section of most supermarkets. Fortunately it doesn’t look that appealing so there hasn’t been a run on it despite the fact it’s relatively inexpensive (90p in my local Co-op).
Bulgur is a useful grain that you can apparently eat if you're diabetic as I discovered when I was staying with friends in France a while ago. It makes a great base for a simple salad that you can basically adapt to whatever you have in the storecupboard and fridge.
Sometimes the best insights come from having a bottle already open rather than consciously choosing what to drink with a dish. I suppose I knew that viognier would go with a salad but it was the composition of this particular salad that made the pairing work so well.
One of the advantages of BYO is that you can have a stab at matching your wine to the menu. Particularly when you know exactly what each course will be. But sometimes the description is a bit vague as in Saturday’s ‘layered salad’ at the Montpelier Basement supper club in Bristol.*
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 key element to this typically Bavarian recipe, which comes from my book An Appetite for Ale, is the addition of hot stock which gives it a consistency half way between a conventional potato salad and mashed potato. It also has the most delicious sweet-sour flavour.
The weather has been so unseasonally hot over the last couple of days - well into the 20s (or the late 70s for those of you who prefer to think in Fahrenheit) - that I’m suddenly fast-forwarding to summer and one of my favourite meals, Salade Niçoise.
I’ve been tasting a lot of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc this week but was also reminded how well it goes with Asian food at Peter Gordon’s new restaurant Kopapa.
I came across so many great wine pairings in Toronto last week it's hard to pick out one but this dish just shaves it as my match of the week.
It’s so automatic to think of a wine match these days that one sometimes overlooks the fact that a beer will work just as well, if not better. So it is with that great restaurant favourite, chicken caesar salad.
An unusual and fresh-tasting frittata that would make a perfect brunch dish from Ryn and Cordie's In Search of the Perfect Partner (The Food and Wine Matching Formula) reviewed here.
Apologies for returning once again to the subject of crab but it is one of my favourite summer foods and this was the outstanding match of last week.
Much is made of the difficulty of pairing wine with artichokes but this week’s match of the week proves it’s far from impossible with the right accompaniments
If you want to make just one dish to celebrate the Thai new year try Gizzi Erskine's fabulous Thai-style duck and watermelon salad from her most recent book Gizzi's Healthy Appetite.
I've taken recently to combining my salad course and cheese course. Over the years, influenced by the time we've spent in France, we've picked up the habit of following our main course with a salad and nowadays I prefer - and it's cheaper - to eat one cheese at a time.
Finding a new salad that you love and will make many times over again is a win for any weekend but when you find the perfect wine pairing with it too it’s a real high point
I've never really 'got' kale but this delicious salad would convert anybody. AND it's healthy too!
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.
A lot of the time when we’re eating out we’re not matching dishes exactly - we simply buy a bottle we like the sound of and hope it will cope with everything we throw at it.
Winemakers like to tell you that their wines go with everything but in the case of Grüner Veltliner, Austria’s best known white wine, it’s true.
This delicious salad is inspired by one I ate in a brilliant fast food restaurant called Food Chain in Montreal last year. They shred the vegetables to order then serve them in bowls with an accompanying dressing and topping (mixed seeds in this case).
Gewürztraminer is a tricky wine to match, one that one usually falls back on recommending with oriental food, so it’s always good to come across something that’s outside the Asian register.
I've loved all of Meera Sodha's books but here new one, East, which includes vegetarian and vegan recipes from the Indian sub-continent to the far east may be the best yet. And I love the zingy fresh flavours of this mango salad.
The last two days have been quite, quite beautiful, starting mistily, basking midday in an unseasonally warm sun and finishing with an extended dusk that announces that spring is finally here. I immediately want to eat lighter meals: the new season’s vegetables are not quite in yet but I can at least plan for summer and that means a spring clean of the cellar, pushing the full bodied reds to the back and assessing what whites, lighter reds and rosés I still have lurking in the racks.
With this unseasonably hot weather why not look to Greece for inspiration when you're entertaining. Here's a simple meal for 4 that was inspired by a trip to Greece a few years ago.
A re-run of an old post following a visit to Alsace, updating my recommendations on the best pairings for the region's dry and off-dry white wines.
It’s easy to get stuck in the trap of thinking red wine is the only accompaniment for meat, especially red meat but in these days of multi-cultural eating that’s not necessarily true. And a good case in point is a Thai beef salad with its zingy, hot/sour flavours which influence the match much more than the beef does.
Here's a barbecue I've dug out of the archives - a middle-eastern inspired BBQ from my book Food, Wine and Friends.
I nearly saved this Aussie grenache for my wine of the week it was so good but it made a great match with this beetroot salad too
We normally think of lunchboxes in terms of kids' packed lunches but James Ramsden has come up with this a brilliant book of imaginative dishes you can take to work. Called - appropriately enough - Love your Lunchbox.
Yesterday finally felt as if spring had come. After weeks of unsettled and unseasonably cool weather it was warm and balmy, rich with the scent of blossom. We went out with friends to the village of Wrington just outside Bristol to follow an ‘art trail’ of exhibitions by local artists. (Yes, I bought something - a delightful picture of radishes by a talented collage artist called Anne Carpenter)
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.
A great recipe for a simple tapa from José Pizarro's lovely book Spanish Flavours. José, as you may know if you're based in the UK, has a cracking tapas bar in Bermondsey called José and a slightly more formal restaurant in the same street called Pizarro.
The flavours of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc - and this is why it is so popular - are powerful and aromatic: citrus, gooseberry and passionfruit in spades. So you if you're looking for a food match need big flavours on your plate to stand up to it.
One of the encouraging things going on in restaurants now is the increasing number of interesting alcohol-free drinks on offer which I find particularly welcome at lunchtime when I don’t particularly want to drink.
I was overwhelmed with good wine pairings last week but given that quite a few were similar to ones I’ve written about before I’m making this my star match.
If you think of lamb you almost certainly think of red wine but in a white wine producing region like Rueda white is the normal go to.
A fabulously summery recipe from the very appealing Great British Farmhouse Cookbook - perfect for this time of year.
You might think it odd to pick out South African Chenin rather than Chenin Blanc in general but I do think the wines are distinctive, particularly when it comes to the crisper styles which are much zestier than they tend to be in the Loire
The book I’ve been looking forward to most so far this year has just started being serialised in the Guardian today. It’s by Yotam Ottolenghi who founded two exceptional London restaurants and is simply called Ottolenghi: the Cookbook. l love Ottolenghi's food - it’s so generous and big-flavoured, piled high on bright, colourful platters - you can't fail to be tempted by it. It also lends itself perfectly to entertaining for large numbers at home.
Asparagus, it’s often said, is tough to match with wine, let alone a red, but this combination with a light, chilled Saumur Champigny at the re-opened Bell’s Diner in Bristol was a perfect pairing.
Pear cider - also known as perry - has a different taste from apple cider. It’s generally lighter, drier and more fragrant, a better match for delicate ingredients like fish.
Lucy Bridgers discovers some stunning matches with madeira and gets some inspiration for Christmas entertaining.
Before we finally plunge into winter here's a late autumn supper menu from my book Food, Wine and Friends that combines the best of autumn’s produce with a couple of convenience products.
Look up any guide to food and wine matching and you’ll find a list of foods that are regarded as anathema to wine. I’ve done it myself but have come to the conclusion recently that the problems are overstated.
The predominant flavours of Thai cuisine are sweet, sour, hot and salty - slightly different from the warm spicing of many Indian curries or the more fragrant, herbal notes of Vietnamese. So which which drinks pair best with a Thai meal?
Vodka may be primarily thought of as a base for cocktails but in vodka-loving countries like Russia and Poland it’s always accompanied by food. Basically anything smoked, pickled or cured works well. Here are some ideas:
Fennel is one of the handful of vegetables that can influence a main course pairing - almost always for the better. Its aniseed flavour seems to have a pronounced affinity with many wines, especially whites. Here are some suggested matches with recipes that two British chefs have published this weekend - Gordon Ramsay in the Times and Skye Gyngell in the Independent on Sunday.
You may well know what you’re going to drink with the turkey by now but here are some ideas for what to match with your Christmas starters, paired with recipes from some of Britain’s favourite chefs and cookery writers.
Pulses such as beans are a good friend to the vegetarian winelover - their rich, mealy texture provides a similar foil as meat to a hearty full-bodied red.
Aubergine - or eggplant as it’s called in the US - doesn’t have a strong flavour of its own but tends to enrich any dish in which it’s included especially when baked with tomatoes and cheese.
Malaga has more to offer than its fortified wines as wine educator and consultant David Furer found on a recent visit.
After the frantic cooking of the holiday period I tend to go on strike at this time of year. I don’t want to do formal. I don’t want to do complicated. I just want to have friends round and enjoy a good glass of wine and a simple, relaxed meal with them - which I will have prepared in advance.
Tofu has never been my favourite ingredient to be honest but these brilliant smoked tofu 'nuggets' from my friend Elly Curshen's book Let's Eat are positively addictive.
You might not think of putting cherries in a salad but it can work wonderfully well as Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich of Honey & Co demonstrate in this clever twist on a tabbouleh from their most recent book Honey & Co: At Home.
There have been a lot of great veggie cookbooks this summer but one of the most useful is Genevieve Taylor's Charred which finally empowers vegetarians to enjoy barbecues as much as meat eaters. That said this isn't the recipe in the book that makes the most extensive use of the grill but it's such a sublime combination of ingredients it's really summer on a plate.
A newbie's guide to sake from wine writer Natasha Hughes.
Beetroot is one of the few vegetables that pairs better with red wine than with white - not only for the colour though that tends to put the brain on auto-suggest - but its rich, earthy sometimes sweet flavour.
When I scoured the website for existing pairings with mencia I was amazed how many dishes I’d suggested it with. It really is an incredibly versatile food wine.
Wheat beers are fabulously flexible when it comes to food matching - the beer world’s equivalent of a crisp white wine.
One of the highlights of my trip to Australia a couple of years ago to celebrate the World’s 50 Best restaurant awards was lunch at one of their best known cookery writers Lyndey Milan’s in Sydney
After the tradition-bound cooking of the Christmas period (from which the family will never let you deviate . . .) it’s good to branch out a bit with your New Year’s Eve meal and also pick some dishes that will allow you to drink some serious wines. Note you need to start the beef two days in advance.
This menu was created as part of a series of pieces I wrote for Sainsbury's magazine. The idea was to invite your friends round for a wine tasting then all have a slap-up meal afterwards. This meal was based on a tasting of South American reds from Argentina and Chile but it would be just as fun to base it round Malbec (Malbec being the perfect wine for a steak).
Waitrose has one of its periodic 25% off six bottles discounts until next Tuesday June 29th on all wines over £5 - i.e. most of their range.
Mango is often incorporated into drinks but what should you pair with it if you are eating it as a fruit or an ingredient in a savoury dish like a salad?
There are few grapes that bring Greece to mind like Assyrtiko, the saline wonder of the Cyclades. But what do you pair with it? As often, the answer depends on the winemaking style and terroir, because there is not one Assyrtiko (I should know, I recently tried 80 of them.)
If you think it’s difficult to pair wine and vegetarian food, think again. It’s no trickier than it is for those who eat meat or fish.
That pinot grigio is many people's favourite white wine should come as no surprise - it’s a refreshing, versatile wine that pairs really well with light, summery food and ever-popular Italian staples such as pasta and risotto.
Spending a whole week in Paris is any foodie’s idea of heaven but how do you choose from the vast amount of restaurants on offer without breaking the bank? If you’ve read about how we planned our recent Paris trip I thought you might like to know where we ended up eating . . .
As soon as I heard that one of my favourite chefs (Allegra McEvedy) was involved in a restaurant dedicated to one of my favourite ingredients (pork) I knew I had to get down there pronto. And you can’t try out a restaurant much sooner than its first full day’s trading.
Although not the problem they're generally made out to be tomatoes do have an influence on a wine pairing.
One of the world’s most underrated grapes yet capable of making some of its most delicious dry whites, Sémillon isn’t on the radar for many. So if you get hold of a bottle what should you pair with it?
Riesling is often paired with Indian food though I don’t think it always works with hotter curries. But with this anglicized version of a dal from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s new book Eat Better Forever it was spot on.
A vodka party sounds dangerous, the sort of idea you used to come up when you were a student but think Russian-style hors d’oeuvres, or zakuski as they call them, and you’ve got a great theme for an evening with friends.
I still remember my visit to the great Oktoberfest in Munich, the world’s biggest beer festival. Mysteriously it’s not held in October at all - or rather it doesn’t start in October but in September - kicking off next weekend.
Having eaten Jane Baxter’s food on a number of occasions I was really looking forward to the publication of Leon Fast Vegetarian, the book she’s just written with Leon founder Henry Dimbleby, one of a series of books that has been published by the Leon chain.
For the last couple of weeks The Telegraph has been running recipes from two of my favourite chefs, Sam and Sam Clark of Moro, the iconic Moorish recipe in Exmouth Market in London that I discover, to my amazement, is now 11 years old. Sam (the husband) is very into his wines, particularly sherry, so I'm suggesting Spanish wines for the pairings.
The answer to that may well be ‘whatever wine’s left over’ - if there is any, of course - but if you’re looking for a wine that will match specific dishes here are a few ideas:
We Brits have always had a reputation for liking our wines old and our game high but times have changed. Today the key factor in matching game tends to be not how ‘gamey’ it is but how it’s cooked and what is served with it.
Last Friday night Helen, our designer, and I had a bit of a works outing to our colleague Monica Shaw's who works on the nuts and bolts of the website. She cooked up an amazing Mexican feast of which this was just one element but it was striking how much better the whole meal went with beer than with wine.
This week I had a really fascinating vegetarian tasting menu at the Lecture Room and Library at Sketch, Pierre Gagnaire’s London restaurant. The sommelier, Fred Brugues, claims not to believe in food and wine matching (too complicated, he says, with large tables all ordering different dishes) but he actually came up with some inspired pairings.
Eating out in Venice is not cheap, as we’ve discovered, but there are ways of mitigating the cost (essential if you’re spending a fortnight in the city!) Here are five of the more classic Venetian restaurants we’ve been to. Some less expensive and off the beaten track options over the next few days.
Some unusual steak recipes from Jason Atherton (then of Maze, now of Pollen Street Social) that prove you don't always need to drink red with beef.
If you visit Argentina the one thing you can be sure of is that you’ll be invited to an asado, especially if your trip includes a Sunday. The weekly barbecue is a ritual among Argentine families, not simply because it’s a convivial way to get together but because it’s the best possible way to enjoy the country’s fine meat. And I don’t just mean steak . . . Here’s how to recreate an authentic asado at home:
Yesterday was my first serious food and drink tasting of the year and it could be a portent of what is to come in 2007 that it was beer we were pairing, not wine.
There are some lovely recipes from up and coming women chefs in the Guardian’s summer food and drink special today together with wine pairings from the paper’s own rising star, wine writer Victoria Moore. Here are a few more suggestions of my own
If anyone still needs convincing about the virtues of food and wine matching Mark Hix’s fresh seasonal recipes in The Independent today should convince them. Even the ‘drink what you like with the food you like’ brigade would have to admit that a voluptuous Meursault or oak-aged white Bordeaux would totally overwhelm the flavours of raw food.
As this week was British Cheese Week I felt I had to try out one of the menus that featured cheese and went to The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell, a restaurant run by Anna Hansen who’s known for her innovative approach to food.
You know your interest in wine has entered the next level when you start to wonder what food goes with the wine you’re drinking. So I thought it might be helpful to put together this beginner's guide, covering the basics of pairing wine with food.
As there was so much interest in the post on where my fellow food writers eat out in Bristol I thought I'd do a follow-up with chefs.
I really didn’t have much idea what to expect of Toronto. I knew it was ridiculously cold in winter and that it was hard to buy liquor (not a good combination) and that you could eat pretty good ethnic food, especially Japanese. But nothing quite prepared me for the range and scope of the city’s 5000+ restaurants. Here’s where I managed to get to in the 4 days I was there (thanks to taking in more than one venue at every possible opportunity)
Oxford is a place that doesn’t have a great reputation for food but I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the restaurants we ate in last weekend.
It’s rare to find a restaurant that excites almost universal approval but then, like buses, two come along at once. Just before Christmas everyone was raving about the new outpost of Margot Henderson’s Rochelle Canteen at the ICA. This month there’s a general love-in for Parsons in Covent Garden
Deciding where to eat in Paris is just as stressful as where to eat in London. There’s just too much choice
When I first went to Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek around 10 years ago I was blown away. Since then its chef Margot Janse has become one of the world’s most high profile chefs and the food more experimental. Would the experience be as memorable?
Sometimes it pays not to look at the menu of a restaurant you’re thinking of going to. I was nearly discouraged from visiting Scully by the vast list of unfamiliar dishes and ingredients. Did I really want to eat puffed beef tendons or Welsh mutton with black barley and bisbas? I wasn’t sure I did.
With dozens of restaurants opening every week in London what do you do to stand out from the crowd? The answer, it seems from James Ramsden and Sam Herlihy's recently opened Magpie in Heddon Street, is to pretend you’re a Chinese restaurant and wheel around the menu on a trolley.
You’d think the combination of a great site in Hoxton, an installation by Damien Hirst and a steak- and chicken-based menu devised by one of London’s best known and most successful chefs, Mark Hix, would be something you’d hurtle across London for but somehow his new restaurant The Tramshed just doesn't come off.
I have to say my heart sinks these days when I read about a new restaurant with small plates and Nordic influences but the feedback about Dabbous was so glowing (5 stars in Time Out and from the notoriously hard to please Fay Maschler of the Evening Standard) it was clearly Not To Be Missed.
You’d think London had enough in the way of new French restaurants lately but along comes Boulestin in another bid to seduce the city’s Francophiles. Does it succeed?
Marylebone has been regarded as a foodie mecca for a while but the action's been mainly at the northern end. Now posh wine bar 28-50 has conveniently established an outpost at the entry to Marylebone Lane, not far from Bond Street tube - a new haven for weary shoppers or workers in need of a restorative glass of wine.
A classic starter from the ‘70’s but one that our customers seem to enjoy every bit as much today. This version originally came from a book called Take Twelve Cooks and was one of Pru Leith’s recipes. However Stephen Bull attributes it to Peter Kromberg of Le Soufflé at the Intercontinental who was also featured in the book . . .
If you've ever toyed with the idea of buying a wood-fired oven Genevieve Taylor's new book The Ultimate Wood Fired Oven Cookbook should persuade you. (And it didn't even cost a fortune. She built it herself!)
How on earth to whittle the great food and wine combinations I’ve experienced down to a mere 25? And not to base them all on a few favourite wines and foods?
Viognier (pronounced vee-on-yee-ay) is a rich, exotically fruity white wine, sometimes achieving quite high levels of alcohol so what are the ideal foods to pair with it?
You may well have given a fair amount of thought by now to what you’ll be drinking with your turkey or goose and have set treasured bottles of Bordeaux or Burgundy aside for the main Christmas meal. But what about all the other occasions over the festive period which these days tends to stretch a good 10 days into the early New Year?
One of the most impressive aspects of my visit to Toronto last week was the fact that almost every restaurant suggested a well chosen wine pairing against the dishes they served. Here are the ones that stood out for me:
There are few instances where a national drink goes so well with a national cuisine as tequila and Mexican as I was reminded at the weekend when I tried out London’s latest opening Wahaca. (A deliberately easy-to-pronounce play on Mexico’s foodie mecca Oaxaca)
Despite the freak flurries of snow and sub arctic temperatures last week spring has officially arrived and with it longer daylight hours and a switch to lighter eating. For me there’s no combination that reflects the season better than goats' cheese and Sauvignon Blanc, one of the great classic food and wine pairings.
Hot on the heels of its best ever medal tally in the International Wine Challenge, English wine is under the spotlight again this week which has been designated English Wine Week. It was sparkling wines that did particularly well in the Challenge but I have a soft spot for a variety called Bacchus, a white wine with a refreshing, sappy hedgerow freshness, not unlike a Sauvignon Blanc. Camel Valley in Cornwall makes a particularly good version.
If you’ve visited the Cape Winelands you’ll know what an amazing food and drink scene it has but you may still wonder what sort of dishes to order in a restaurant or to pair with South African wines at home.
Back in March when Covid first hit I remember thinking ‘no-one’s going to want to think about food and wine pairing’ and put my match of the week feature on hold.
It’s good to find that Lidl hasn’t given up its regular ‘wine tours’ which liven up the range every couple of months. Prices aren’t as keen as they once were, admittedly but if you’re in search of something more interesting than the general supermarket offering (or their own standard range) they’re still good value.
You might think the last thing you need is another list of this year’s cookery books. but indulge me in this slightly different take - who would you give them to and why would you find them useful.
I can’t tell you how excited I was about A Change of Appetite. To the extent that, impatient with the review copy not having arrived I dragged myself on a fruitless visit to Waitrose to buy it then drove down to Bristol City centre. On a Saturday afternoon. (Locals will know this how insane this is.)
Everyone I know who’s into food has a soft spot for St John. True, it has/has had its ups and downs but It’s easy to forget just how groundbreaking it was when it opened 19 years ago. And how absolutely right its values still are in terms of serving great ingredients simply,
I may have been handicapped by knowing the building previously as an office block but even the name Sea Containers at Mondrian has a corporate ring that makes the heart sink.
I love the idea of cooking everything in one dish (quick, easy, no washing up!) so Sue Quinn's book Roasting Tray Magic is right up my street.
Natasha Hughes re-orders her hit list of wine matches for pinot following her visit to the International Pinot Noir Celebration.
We all know a beer goes down well with a ploughmans and that it’s a great drink to wash down a barbecue but here are 10 more unusual pairings which should liven up your summer drinking.
This is one of those serendipitous pairings you sometimes stumble across when you rustle up a scratch meal and pair it with an open bottle in the fridge.
It’s been so hot over the last couple of days here in the Languedoc I haven’t felt much like cooking so we raided the very good local traiteur (takeaway) in Murviel yesterday for our weekend’s eating. The highlight was some beautifully cooked rare roast veal with herbs - in the style of Italian porchetta.
Lucy Bridgers reports on an elegant dinner matching different vintages of Domaine de l’Arlot burgundy with a seasonal spring menu
If you're thinking of going in for our Le Creuset competition this month you may have been tempted by the rather gorgeous-looking cast iron square grill.
A freezer staple in my house, prawns or shrimp are quick and easy to cook but what should you drink with them?
With southern hemisphere wines from the 2016 vintage having been on the shelves for a few months now the annual release of Beaujolais Nouveau has become less significant but you may still want to crack open a bottle today.
German wheat beers are sufficiently different from Belgian wheat beers to merit a separate post - so what are the best food matches for hefeweizen with their striking banana and clove flavours?
I’m continually on the lookout for soft drinks that are not too sweet as I know there’s a big demand for them. This isn’t perfect - it’s still a fruit juice so quite high in sugar - but it is genuinely refreshing.
Provence rosé has a particular character. It’s much crisper and drier than most rosés on the market, more like a white wine than a rosé - though within this style there are variations between the lighter, less expensive wines or ‘vins de soif’ and the more structured ones, which the local refer to as ‘vins de gastronomie’.
I spent an interesting evening this week at one of London’s leading Indian restaurants Benares. It was organised jointly by a wine events company called The Wine Nose and SOPEXA, the promotional arm of the French food and wine industry.
Those of you who are planning a spring visit to Paris (as we are) may find this mouthwatering update on one of my favourite restaurants Senderens from subscriber Lucy Bridgers useful:
This is the perfect time of year for buying oranges and lemons but what effect do they have on the recipes you’re making? Quite a marked one, if truth be told. Lemons in particular have a high level of acidity which will make any wine you drink with them taste sweeter. If that’s counterbalanced in the recipe by sugar as in a lemon tart or lemon meringue pie, for example, the result is a dish that’s really quite hard to match.
Forget for the moment my often-advocated match of chilled red wine with salmon, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a wild fish it deserves one of your best whites. Here are my suggested matches for Mark Hix’ recipes in the Independent today:
The Independent runs an extract from Mark Hix British Seasonal Food for which he recently won a Guild of Food Writers award for Cookery Book of the Year. Here are my suggested pairings for the recipes - two of which include tricky-to-match blueberries
I was writing an article the other day about food and wine matching that required spot-on pairings and found myself specifying the age of the wines I was recommending. It’s not something I tend to do when making generalised recommendations (as opposed to matching a specific wine) but I realised it is as important as giving information about whether a wine is oaked or unoaked, the nature of the vintage or what country, region or producer it comes from.
Cheese and wine is a notorious minefield but is it any easier when the cheese is cooked? See my suggestions to match Mark Hix's delicious recipes in the Independent today:
The new generation of Portuguese wines deserves greater attention from consumers and restaurant buyers alike. While successive waves of wine commentators have celebrated the broad spectrum of original flavours and styles the country’s renascent industry is producing, they remain too little explored. What’s more, compared to the big, clunking fist of much Australian Shiraz, or the twacky, juicy-fruit quality of many a New Zealand Sauvignon, they are demonstrably food-friendly wines.
Marylebone High Street in central London has become a mecca for foodies in the last few years but the jewel in the crown is undoubtedly Patricia Michelson’s La Fromagerie, a glorious jumble of a shop that sells everything from cheese (obviously) to chocolate, via honeys and herbal infusions.
The papers are full of her. Despite her six year absence from our screens and and the rise of TV rivals such as Gordon, Jamie and Nigella, Delia (that’s veteran cookery writer Delia Smith for those of you who live on another planet) shows she can still bewitch the media.
Since few Californian wineries now have restaurants on their premises* it’s been more of a challenge to showcase their food. But Sonoma-based Kendall-Jackson has come up with an ingenious solution in the form of a food pairing restaurant Partake which opened in Healdsburg this March.
How can champagne be used to create a summer tasting menu? Seafood is an obvious candidate but as food and wine writer Lucy Bridgers found at a Billecart-Salmon event at the Massimo Restaurant and Oyster Bar in London last year you need to choose your flavours carefully.
Wine consultant and former chef Nayan Gowda reports on a tea dinner hosted by Lalani & Co but comes away more impressed by the tea than the pairings.
Another fascinating meal in the Masters of Food and Wine programme was my first encounter with high end Brazilian food. It was an impressive one. The chef was Alex Atala from D.O.M. restaurant in Sao Paolo which has been listed by Restaurant Magazine among the top 50 restaurants in the world. Sao Paolo is generally considered to be the culinary capital of Brazil and judging by this light, colourful, creative meal has a lot to offer.
Bristol has more than its fair share of cookery writers (including yours truly) so who better to ask where to eat in the city - and what to order? (Well, local chefs, maybe, but I’ll come on to that …)
Despite the fact that I ate amazing food during my recent weekend in Porto it was the tiny fish restaurant of Toupeirinho in the nearby resort of Matosinhos that stole my heart.
Eating Thai tapas in a city like Paris represents everything I dislike about eating out - a mish-mash of cooking styles, food you can eat anywhere - and yet I loved it. (Apparently the chef has moved on. See my update below from a subsequent visit in March 2015)
I’m writing about Rovi in almost ideal circumstances. After two visits - one very shortly after opening, the other last week, two and a half months later. I could, of course, have reviewed it after the first visit. It was fully open not a discounted ‘soft’ opening yet there isn’t a restaurant that gets into its stride in the first month. American publications insist that their critics go three times before their review is published I believe. In an ideal world you would.
I've never managed to get to one of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's River Cottage Canteens so was intrigued to find one was opening on our doorstep on Bristol's Whiteladies Road
If you want to understand what British cooking is about - not the magpie character of of modern British but the genteel English country house tradition - head for Soho where Jeremy Lee has taken up residence behind the stoves at Quo Vadis.
There was a time when Kings Cross was the last place you’d have gone to for a meal. Still now, despite the gleaming new station makeover, it’s hardly a destination to seek out if you only have a few days in the capital. But if you’ve done Shoreditch and find Soho just too tiresomely hip and crowded head up to Caravan.
On a return visit this week to Bistro d'Alex in Florensac I found it just as good as it was when the review below was written five years ago - and the set menu, now 18€ (£15.50) for two courses, only 3€ more expensive.
Of all the restaurants we had lined up to visit on our current trip to Venice Alle Testiere was the one I was most looking forward to. The guides praise it lavishly. One of my colleagues said we must on no account miss it, that the kitchen would send out a succession of wonderful dishes, that the food was the best in Venice by far.
Last weekend our cooking group cooked up an American barbecue of which this brilliant recipe from the Hang Fire Cookbook was the standout dish so I really wanted to share it with you.
So what stood out in the way of food and wine matches - and pairings with other drinks - in 2013?
The inappropriately named WIMPS are a group of wine lovers who regularly share some of the world’s best bottles at one of London’s best restaurants, The Ledbury. The group evolved out of the exchanges on fellow wine-writer Tom Cannavan’s wine-pages wine forum. WIMPS apparently stands for Wine Imbibers of Modest ProportionS, the idea being that - given that the events take place at lunchtime - the participants are limited to bringing a bottle a head (although I was told that the rule is, er, flexible!).
Sophie Atherton reports on the introduction of a new range of 'birra artigianale' (craft beer) at ciccetti restaurant, Tozi.
One of the most enjoyable food and wine matches I’ve experienced was also the most serendipitous. The family were away, I was working on a book and staggered down half way through the evening to find the fridge virtually bare except for a half bottle of Krug, a half-empty packet of the kids’ fish fingers and some frozen spinach. Ten minutes later, the spinach well anointed with butter, the fish fingers grilled and the Krug poured I had the perfect supper.
If you're planning a special meal for Valentine's Day you may be wondering which wine to pair with your menu. I've picked some favourite Valentine's Day foods and suggested some matches that should work well with them.
Crab is one of the most delicious kinds of shellfish and the perfect foil for a crisp white wine. But there are other crab dishes that pair better with a fuller-bodied white or even a red.
There are two wine pairings for blue cheese that are so famous that you may not think beyond them: port and stilton and roquefort and Sauternes. But does that mean that you have to drink sweet wine with blue cheese?
There was once no point in thinking about wine in the context of cauliflower. It was a vegetable. It was bland - except arguably in cauliflower cheese - but now it’s roasted, fried, spiced and partnered by other exotic and flavourful ingredients.
The declaration by environment minister George Eustice that scotch eggs constitute ‘a substantial meal’* will have come as a relief to publicans everywhere in tier 2 and sent scotch egg manufacturers into overdrive. But does that automatically mean you need to drink a pint with it?
"If you think you know German wine, drink again" ran the slogan of an advertising campaign in the UK a few years ago. Consumers, it seemed needed persuading but a succession of good vintages, the enthusiastic advocacy of wine writers such as Jancis Robinson and the appearance of a broader selection of German wines on the lists of an increasing number of London’s top restaurants seems to be finally stimulating an appetite for these most underrated of wines.
Yesterday Jamie Oliver opened the first branch of Jamie's Italian, his much heralded new chain of affordable Italian restaurants, in Oxford. (Others will follow later this year in Bath and Kingston. )
This wine pairing may sound difficult to get your head round - let’s face it, it is! - but it was a very clever dessert at the 3 star De Librije in Zwolle, Holland last week
This past week has reminded me yet again what a great match Italian whites are for food. Their lack of obvious character means they tend not to stand out in a tasting but they explode into life with a dish.
As you may know if you visit the site regularly I do a regular match of the week - generally a less obvious pairing I’ve come across that has surprised me as much as it may have surprised you. So which were the best ones that would be worth looking out for or repeating? Here’s my top 20.
Those of you who have been following the reports from my recent gastronomic junket in Chicago shouldn’t run away with the impression I spent all my time drinking Champagne and Château Lafite. One of my best meals was at chef Paul Kahan’s Blackbird where they have a craft beer list that should make most British restaurants hang their head in shame.
I know we always think in terms of wine and cheese but sometimes other drinks can be just as good, if not better. Like this week’s pairing of medium-dry cidre traditionnel and Camembert I came across at a simple roadside restaurant just north of Domfront in Normandy.
As I mentioned in my last post our last lunch of the Oregon trip was at Cristom where sales director (no less!) John D'Anna cooked us a great meal. Here's how he did it and - where I have a link to them - the recipes he used. Try it!
As I'm sure you know the hospitality industry - i.e. restaurants, pubs and hotels - is in dire straits with no clear idea when businesses can reopen or even if they’ll be viable if they do.
Two ‘grandes dames’ of the food writing world, Claudia Roden and Paula Wolfert, have new books out - The Food of Spain (Roden’s first book for five years) and The Food of Morocco. So which should you buy?
There have been the predictable howls of outrage over Jamie Oliver’s new book Save with Jamie. How dare a multi-millionaire, with no concept of what it’s like to go hungry, tell the poorest in society how to eat?
The surprise publishing hit among food books last year was not the record selling Jamie’s 30-minute meals or even the new Nigella but an unillustrated book called The Flavour Thesaurus by an unknown author, Niki Segnit. The book catalogues nearly 1000 flavour combinations which are described in an endearingly quirky way. It’s erudite, original and funny
How often do you find a recipe book that offers a genuinely original selection of recipes inspired by a cooking tradition you’re not even aware of? For those whose shelves are bulging with Italian and middle-eastern cookbooks, Mamushka, by the talented young chef and food stylist Olia Hercules, offers a window into a different culinary world.
As little as a year ago - can it be that short a time? - it felt as if food writing was in terminal decline. Newspapers and food magazines were dominated by the same old names, generally fostered by a restaurant or TV connection. Some, it was rumoured (choosing my words carefully), didn’t even write their own columns or books.
It sometimes seems like there’s a Groundhog Day element to beer and food matching. Everyone gets excited about it then we all go back to square one and rediscover it again.
For most people the New Zealand winery Cloudy Bay is synonymous with sauvignon blanc but their range now extends to sparkling, sweet and red wines, a message underlined by a dinner at Hix Mayfair (in Brown’s Hotel) the other day.
Those of you who are sceptical about vegan food should try this delicious recipe from Mildreds Vegan Cookbook by Daniel Acevedo and Sarah Wasserman. Yes, it's vegan but omnivores would enjoy it too and the pumpkin seed granola is wonderfully versatile.
Another run-out for Mark Hix's wonderfully decadent recipe for a lobster-stuffed baked potato from his book Hix on Baking. Such a great idea . . .
Before summer finally disappears here's a brilliant way to make use of the last of the season's tomatoes from chef Florence Knight's lovely first book 'One'. Good tip about skinning garlic cloves too!
There’s still a couple of weeks more to enjoy the British asparagus season so here’s an interesting beer pairing to try as a change fromwine. Belgian witbier or bière blanche like Hoegaarden is just perfect with green asparagus, especially when served with goats’ cheese.
Whenever anyone talks about foods that are difficult to match with wine, asparagus always comes up but I reckon the problem is overstated.
March 1st is St David’s Day so what better to focus on than Wales’s national symbol, the leek? (Well they have daffodils and dragons too but I’m assuming you don’t want to eat either of those ... )
Manzanilla, as you probably know, is a fino sherry made in the port of Sanlucar de Barrameda rather than in the cities of Jerez or Puerto de Santa Maria which gives it its characteristic salty tang.
This week I was at Heathcotes Brasserie in Preston, Lancashire for a wine dinner for which I’d had to devise the wine matches. Paul Heathcote, the chef, is an old sparring partner and obviously thought he’d put me on the spot by coming up with some challenging dishes.
Manzanilla sherry never fails to surprise me with its versatility but you don't often come across a combination as good as the one I had last week at Lido restaurant in Bristol.
Since I was in Provence for three days last week you might have expected me to come up with an all-Provençal pairing as my match of the week but in fact it was a lunch of Lebanese mezze that provided the best partner for the local rosé we were tasting.
I think I’ve found the perfect match for Sancerre - and the perfect Sancerre to drink with them!
I’m having a bit of thing about Portuguese wine at the moment - it’s so great with food and such brilliantly good value. Especially on restaurant wine lists where it’s invariably underpriced in comparison to better known wine producing countries and regions
For the next 10 days I’m going to be visiting the vineyards of Oregon and Washington State so the site will turn into more of a blog. Our first day yesterday included lunch at Chateau Ste Michelle, by far Washington’s largest wine producer.
One of the most distinctive styles of white wine, dry rieslings from the Clare and Eden Valley in south Australia have a distinctive limey twist that makes them a particularly good match for Asian and Asian-inspired food.
In London the trend was started by Rowley Leigh and picked up on by Paul Merrony of the Giaconda Dining Room*. The return of hors d’oeuvres, that tasty little selection of small dishes that preceded tapas but which had fallen from favour along with many other elements of French bistro cuisine.
We all know that roast lamb is a great pairing with red wines but the assumption is often that it’s prepared in a classic French way so it was interesting to note over the weekend that if you give it a middle-eastern spin exactly the same applies
It's been one of those very rare occurances in England today - a sunny Bank Holiday - and we've spend the day with friends at the Bristol West Indian Cricket Club where they turned out not to be playing much in the way of cricket but a great deal of music, dancing and bouncy castles.
Thai food is particularly difficult to match with wine. Not only do you have the heat to contend with but the tricky sweet-sour flavours and - as with many Asian cuisines - several dishes on the go at a time.
Rosé at Christmas! Well, why on earth not? We enjoy white wine year round and reds in the summer so why not enjoy what has become one of the most popular styles of rosé at this joyful time of year?
As I mentioned in my Guardian column this week I’m slightly disenchanted with the Languedoc’s signature grape variety Picpoul which isn’t nearly the good value it once was but Grangette’s is one I rather like.
Always on the ball Aldi announced this week that it had added a sake to its drinks range. Not quite the bargain it first appears when you discover the bottle is £3.99 for just 300ml but that’s enough for two and interesting nonetheless.
It’s always a thrill to come across a grape variety you don’t know, especially from an area with which you’re fairly familiar and when it adds another dimension to the wines already on offer there.
This is not so much a new find as a rediscovery. I’ve been a fan of James Millton’s wines since the early 1990s when he was virtually a lone pioneer of biodynamics and each time I revisit them they get better and better.
If you've bough a bottle of English wine to celebrate St George's Day or English Wine Week you may be wondering what sort of food suits it best.
There seems to be quite a buzz around pairing wine with spicy food at the moment - detractors saying it’s a waste of time, people like me saying that on the contrary you can derive a good deal of pleasure from it.
Next time you wonder what bottle to put on the table maybe you should reach for a malt whisky instead of a glass of red or white. At least that’s the Big Idea from drinks giant Diageo, distributor of the Classic Malts Selection™ who are energetically promoting a glossy new magazine-style food section to their website www.malts.com.
On Saturday night I went to a splendid dinner at Bordeaux Quay in Bristol hosted jointly by a group of Bordeaux producers in conjunction with the city’s best-known chef Jean-Pierre Xiradakis of La Tupina and Barny Haughton of BQ, as it’s known locally.
You’d expect Catena Zapata to come up with something out of the ordinary for this showcase event and they did. Importing a Japanese chef Takashi Yagihashi of Takashi in Chicago to create dishes to go with their wines. And not a Malbec in sight (well, only in a blend)
Last week I finally realised a long-held ambition to eat at La Maison de Marc Veyrat in Veyrier-du-Lac. Not a lot has been heard recently from Veyrat recently despite the fact that he is the only chef to have been awarded six Michelin stars for his two restaurants and score a perfect 20/20 from Gault Millau. Just under two years ago he had a horrific skiing accident that left him with multiple leg fractures and he now faces major surgery to break and reset the bones to try and regain his mobility.
I’d forgotten quite how enchanting Provence is, particularly at this time of year. I’ve got so used to sturdily proclaiming that the Languedoc is every bit as beautiful (as well as a great deal cheaper!) that I’d overlooked Provence’s particular charm. How it can seduce you and suspend all critical faculties so if the following observations are a bit less incisive than usual you’ll have to forgive me . . .
This typically Burgundian dish of pork with a wine, cream and mustard-based sauce is quick, easy and versatile. You could equally well use it for chicken.
Sometimes you go to a wine dinner with some trepidation wondering if the wine will stand up to the food but I was pretty optimistic that Domaine Long-Depaquit’s Chablis would survive at Nobu (the original Metropolitan hotel restaurant in London, not LA, sadly!)
I’m sitting in the pitch dark, my hand groping around the table. On my plate I think I’ve got some tuna - or is it chicken? - orange, fennel and yes, those are pomegranate seeds. In my heavy glass (so it doesn’t shatter if I knock it over) is what tastes like a commercial Vin de Pays d’Oc chardonnay.
Tomatoes are generally held to be a problem for wine but as Jane McQuitty robustly puts it in The Times today - nonsense!
The last 24 hours' headlines have made gloomy reading. The most obvious casualties are those who have lost their jobs but the economic uncertainty affects us all.
The problem with well-known restaurants is the burden of expectation they carry. You go expecting an out of the ordinary experience and are frequently disappointed. Fortunately that wasn’t the case with Francis Mallman, the founder of modern Argentinian cuisine and one of the best known chefs in Latin America.
If you thought food and wine pairing was the least likely recipe for a raucous night out you’d be wrong. This week’s ‘Wine Wars’, the first in a series* at London restaurant Arbutus, was a noisy partisan event that had guests arguing passionately over the respective merits of Piedmontese wines over a 4 course menu of Italian-inspired dishes.
I’ve been having some fresh thoughts about food and wine matching since I was asked to participate in the Wine & Culinary International Forum in Barcelona this past weekend and come up with pairings for the bottles submitted by the Primum Familiae Vini, 11 of the world's most famous family-owned wineries
Donald Edwards finds a clue in the traditional Georgian food that was served at a dinner at the Notting Hill restaurant Colchis recently.
The second London Wine Sessions took place last Saturday - rather appropriately in über cool Hackney. It was a day of wine tastings and discussions featuring some prominent, established names such as Fiona, Jamie Goode of Wine Anorak, the Telegraph's Victoria Moore and the Independent's Anthony Rose as well as current trail-blazers.
Last night we had a fun five course wine and food matching dinner at Rockfish Grill in Bristol which showed the range of wines you can match with fish. Here’s a few thoughts about how we approached it for those of you who are organising a similar event.
Lucy Bridgers reports: The quintessentially English Quo Vadis in London was the setting for a recent lunch hosted by Australia’s First Families of Wine, a group of 12 long-established family-owned companies
I went to a really interesting seminar last week on matching champagne with food. It was based on the chemical compounds flavourist Danny Hodrien of F & F projects had identified in Mumm champagnes using gas chromatography, solid phase micro-extraction and mass spectrometry (No, I don’t know what they are either). Based on those findings Iain Graham, the executive chef at the Caprice had devised a range of canapes that incorporated the flavours rather than seeking to complement them
When I was in Dublin a few weeks ago I ate at a pub called L Mulligan Grocer which had been recommended on Twitter by a number of locals. I expected it to be a great hangout - most Dublin pubs are - but not that it would have a strikingly original approach to food and drink pairing
Lotte Peplow sees American craft brewers persuade the French that wine is not the only thing to drink with a meal ....
There was a time when the best place to eat in Agde or its seaside satellite Grau d'Agde which lie between Montpellier and Ste on the Languedoc coast was the Michelin-starred La Tamarissire. After that closed two to three years ago it left a bit of a gastronomic black hole but a couple of new places have sprung up which have serious gastronomic ambitions.
If you want to get away from your fellow tourists in Venice - and who doesn’t? - here are five very different restaurants to try. Three of them are on the Giudecca - one of the best places for avoiding the hoardes, especially at the weekend.
I came across this article the other day which I wrote 4 years ago after a visit to Chablis. We attended two great dinners organised by Daniel Defaix and Herv Tucki of La Chablisienne which were an object lesson in how to pair Chablis with food. I thought it deserved a re-run.
If I had to live anywhere in the US it would be Oregon. Admittedly the last couple of days have been unbelievably beautiful but I think it’s more that it’s comfortingly familiar - with green rolling hills and woods and flower-strewn hedgerows. Very much like Burgundy, the spiritual home of most Oregonian winemakers.
Even if you’re the most enthusiastic gourmet you can’t eat in 3 star restaurants all the time. And for most of us the prices of Paris’s top restaurants simply put them out of reach. Here are four very varied alternatives, discovered by my husband, an assiduous researcher into places that are off the beaten track, which we ate in with great pleasure last week
For many foodies, Italy is way up there on the must-visit list. Not only are there world-class restaurants in all the big towns, even the smallest villages boast places where the chefs (who are often self-taught) take pride in bringing out the best in the ingredients they work with.
In the second of his features on his recent trip to China, food writer and restaurant guide inspector Stuart Walton examines the burgeoning restaurant scene in Beijing and Shanghai
Instead of hurtling down south on the motorway as we used to do with the kids to minimise family squabbling, we’ve taken to a stately three day progression with frequent stop-offs to visit winemakers, eat or simply drive through France’s beautiful unspoilt countryside and blissfully traffic-free back roads.
The more you travel, the more you eat out, the harder it becomes finding a place that is really special. It’s not just about how much money you spend though these places rarely come cheap. A great location helps, as does good service but the single most important factor, I’ve come to the conclusion, is that the people who are running the place are hands on.
I’m embarrassed to admit that until last week I’d never been to Beaujolais - it was the one French wine region that had passed me by. I’d heard it was attractive and even on a bleak early March day it was - the famous villages are clustered improbably closely together in the middle of pretty, rolling countryside, spiked by soaring church towers.
There are two good reasons for eating at The Barbary. One is the Jerusalem bagel, a wondrous piece of baking. Served warm from the oven, encrusted in spicy sesame seeds it must be the best bread roll in town.
The hype that accompanies almost every new restaurant launch these days is crazy. We all swarm in, pronounce it the best opening this year then swarm off to the next hotspot.
This is not so much a review as a report from the front line on the UK’s most unlikely gourmet hotspot, Sticky Walnut in Chester.
It must take guts to open a restaurant in Christchurch. Four years after the devastating earthquake that demolished much of the historic city centre it still looks like a war zone in places with yawning gaps where local landmarks once were.
I’ve always been a fan of Francesco Mazzei’s cooking so when he suddenly left his previous restaurant L’Anima I couldn’t wait for him to pop up somewhere else.
If you’re going to go to a restaurant in a tourist city like Florence it certainly helps to go with a couple of Italians. Especially if one of them is a well-known chef* and - better still - has been recommended by one of his mates at one of the poshest local hotels.
With Sergio Herman of Oud Sluis announcing he intends to close his restaurant at the end of 2013, Jonnie Boer’s De Librije could be left as the only 3 Michelin-starred restaurant in Holland. So what makes it so special?
If you want to open a new restaurant serve pasta. That seems to be the formula for success these days.
It would be unfortunate if One Leicester Street became known as the restaurant that used to be St John’s Hotel. Not least because the chef Tom Harris, who used to front the kitchen there but has stayed on to run his own show, has put his own individual stamp on the food.
Whenever we come to Paris, whatever new places we book, we still always make time to see two old favourites, Le Baratin and Bistrot Paul Bert.
Unable to make up our minds what to pick from the menu at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon the other night (and doing a quick calculation as to how much it would cost if we ate la carte) we opted for the tasting menu which threw up the usual hits and misses with the four wines our friendly waitress recommended by the glass. A shame because the quality of the food overall was outstanding.
It wasn’t easy getting to Duck + Rice. The first time I tried their kitchens were out of action because the extraction system was down ….
You can’t help feeling that it’s Tom Kitchin’s misfortune to be in Edinburgh. Not because his isn’t proud of his Scottish roots - he obviously is - but because if he were in France I’m sure he’d have two stars rather than one.
When I asked Twitter - as you do - where to eat in Dublin I was inundated with replies. There is obviously no shortage of good places to eat in the world’s favourite Irish city.
At first sight kale toast appears to be the only vegetarian option at Richard Corrigan’s new restaurant Daffodil Mulligan. Then I spot beetroot but still no mains. The veggie member of our party, having scanned the menu in advance is unimpressed. We’re worried - the other three of us, having heard good things about the restaurant which is named after the daughter of a famous Irish street seller, are gagging to go.
If you’re the kind of sad, unreconstructed Francophile (like me) who thinks French food has gone to the dogs head not for Eurostar but the newly opened Brasserie Zédel in London’s West End. Housed in the late and not-much-lamented Atlantic Bar and Grill near Piccadilly Circus, it occupies a huge subterranean space which has been decked out at eye-watering expense in full fin de siècle style.
Recently voted the eighth best restaurant in Latin America, Boragó is to Santiago as Noma is to Copenhagen. Food and travel writer Qin Xie experiences it for herself.
So it’s not Aaron with two ‘a’s and it’s not a deli but this small, modestly furnished American/Jewish/Hungarian-inspired neighbourhood restaurant is a great addition to the Bristol eating-out scene.
I sometimes wonder if we value novelty too much. As an avid restaurant-goer the temptation is always to head for the the latest opening - but keeping pace with what’s new inevitably means you don’t spend as much time as you’d like in the places you actually enjoy.
This recipe came from a fascinating dinner at which chef Greg Malouf cooked a selection of Iranian dishes from his book Saraban which he wrote with his former wife Lucy with whom he still collaborates. This unusual and simple fish dish in yoghurt particularly appealed to me and I thought it would to you too.
I first met winemaker Wilhelm Coetzee back in 2006 when he was working for Flagstone. He's now working at Durbanville Hills and this is his favourite 'braii' recipe.
A warming wintry recipe from José Pizarro's Catalonia - the perfect dish to cook as the nights draw in.
This is one of my favourite recipes ever - made famous by the late, great George Perry-Smith and faithfully reproduced by one of his most talented protegés Stephen Markwick.
Burgers don't have to be beefy as these delicious salmon burgers from my book An Appetite for Ale prove, inspired by browsing the aisles of the Wholefoods market in Denver during the Great American Beer Festival a few years back!
A perfect autumnal dinner party recipe from James Ramsden's lovely book Do Ahead Dinners.
A robust, winey stew from Rebecca Seal's mouthwatering new book, The Islands of Greece which immediately makes you want to jump on a plane and fly off there. Top tip about cooking rabbit too.
What to eat on a Sunday night when you've been out for the day and everyone suddenly wants supper? Rosie Sykes addresses just this issue in her delightful Sunday Night Book which was published last year.
An amazingly delicious Thai-ish sauce that I discovered a few years ago when I was researching food pairings for pinot gris and which seems especially appropriate as I'm in New Zealand currently.
A really lovely summery recipe from Olia Hercules most recent book Kaukasis.
This impressive Moroccan-style pie from Josceline Dimbleby's food memoir Orchards in the Oasis would make a great centrepiece for a dinner party or more casual supper with friends.
You may recognise this shot as one of the rolling images on our home page which were taken by photographer Jason Ingram and styled by Genevieve Taylor. The dish was so delicious I had to pass on the recipe which comes from Louise Walker's Aga Roast.
This is the most delicious way of cooking chicken which basically creates sticky, sherry-flavoured chicken nuggets. It comes from my friend Charlotte and I’ve been cooking it for about 20 years
This report on a steak and wine tasting I did at Hawksmoor Spitalfields back in 2007 is now over 10 years old but the advice still holds good. It's quite a long read though so for more concise steak and wine matching advice head to The Best Wine Pairings for Steak.
If you’re the kind of person (like me) who puts garlic into practically everything you cook you may regard this question as an irrelevance but some dishes are much more garlicky than others.
With middle-eastern food still very much on-trend Dubai-based blogger Sally Prosser of mycustardpie.com tells us which drinks she thinks makes the best pairings
New world wines are sometimes criticised (usually by the French!) for overwhelming subtle Michelin-starred food but award-winning blogger Jeanne Horak-Druiff of Cooksister found much to admire when she attended an Errazuriz food, wine and photography evening at Pollen Street Social.
A post from the archives, but an excellent one: food and wine writer Marc Millon, author of Flavours of Korea suggests what to pair with your favourite Korean dishes.
I was recently asked the question: "What am i looking for when matching beer and food? Do I want a beer with a similar taste or should I be looking for a contrast?"
Gordon Ramsay opens a steak restaurant. Nobu unveils his new hotel. A typical day in Las Vegas . . .
For a town that’s still more noted for gaming than food, Las Vegas can certainly pull in the big names. Yesterday Gordon Ramsay opened his first restaurant in the city at Paris, Las Vegas while Nobu unveiled plans for his first hotel at Caesar’s Palace.
Scandinavian food is becoming increasingly popular but what type of wine should you drink with it? Lucy Bridgers reports on how German wine fares.
While I can usually find a great match for an individual cheese or for a careful selection it’s always a struggle to find a wine - particularly a red - that will take on all-comers. But I was reminded this weekend just how good a candidate mature Zinfandel is for this job. We found a bin end of Ridge’s Geyserville 2000 on the wine list of one of our favourite local restaurants at such a good price that we couldn’t resist it.
If you’re planning a brunch it’s quite fun to lay on a DIY juice bar where your guests can run up their own fresh juices and smoothies. If you don’t already have a juicer you’ll probably have a couple of friends who have. Or you may feel that with the warmer weather coming up (though it’s hard to believe that today in the grey, drizzley UK) now’s a good moment to get into juicing.
With temperatures falling well below freezing over the coming week it’s a timely reminder that matching drinks is not just about flavour but temperature and alcohol levels too.
Q. Should you chill red wine? And if so for how long?
Although we wine writers like to think we might be able to encourage you to be more adventurous in your wine choices this Christmas the truth is you’re probably going to stick to the wines you're familiar with.
Walk through the entrance of Culture Biere (sorry, I can’t remember how to do a grave accent on my Mac) and you’d think you were in a cutting edge cocktail bar. But in fact this is Paris’s new temple to beer funded by brewing giant Heineken.
Malbec has become so popular it may have become one of your favourite red wines but what are the best kind of dishes to pair with it?
This week's trip to Toronto has been so packed with restaurant visits and other activities that I haven't had time to post but here's a quick update in the form of a report on a fantastic beer restaurant called beerbistro which was founded by leading Canadian beer writer Stephen Beaumont.
I lobbed a question about unusual Champagne pairings into the Twittersphere yesterday and got the most amazing response. It prompted the idea of having a monthly Twitter matching session - Twitmatching - the results of which I’ll post on this site.
Since goats cheese and Sauvignon Blanc are such a great match it might seem redundant to think of anything else but despite its reputation for being . . . well . . . goaty, goats cheese is easy to pair with other wines.
The other day I received an email from one of London’s most energetic PRs Rupert Ponsonby singing the praises of asparagus and beer. Would I, he asked, like to try some of the new season’s asparagus with three different beers? Given my passion for asparagus it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
I’ve thought for a while that Scandinavian food is on the way up so am not surprised to find another new cookbook on the subject from Trina Hahnemann who Telegraph cookery writer Xanthe Clay dubs ‘Denmark’s answer to Nigella’ in the paper today.
Perfectly prepared Japanese food is not what you expect to find in the gastronomic desert of the Languedoc but this superb dish of rare tuna was a brilliant match for the richly textured white wine I drank at Côté Mas the other day.
A simple lunch of quiche from leftovers thrown together from the fridge turned into a feast with a glass of Claire and Fabien Chasselay's Fleurie La Chapelle des Bois, an organic Beaujolais from the excellent 2009 vintage.
I was trying to think what food and wine match I would most like to be presented with on Valentine’s Day. I’m off foie gras. Caviar is horrendously expensive and very un-PC. Smoked salmon is nice, certainly, but no longer quite the special treat it once was (unless it’s wild). And I must be one of the few people in the world who isn’t anyone’s for a gooey chocolate pud.
Despite its almost unpronounceable name Txakoli (pronounced chackoly) is the new kid on the block for anyone who likes a crisp dry white wine.
What on earth do you do when you have a line-up of some of the best wines in the world in front of you? Do you attempt to match them or reflect more the mood, the company and the time of year? Or, given that they're indisputably the hero of the occasion, do you just go with the sort of food the kitchen does well anyway?
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.
I recently went to a Portuguese food and wine evening in Bristol hosted by an enterprising wine merchant called Corks of Cotham. It featured the wines of a producer called Casa de Saima, the ports of Niepoort and an intriguing Barbeito Single Harvest Madeira which went exceptionally well with some classic Portuguese custard tarts.
Last week I was in the Northern Rhone where the biggest challenge, from a food and wine matching perspective, is what you eat with its distinctive whites which are made from Marsanne and Roussanne
It was a bumper week for wine pairings with some classic favourites such as pork and Beaujolais (an excellent Fleurie at Cora Pearl) and oysters and muscadel (at the new Hawksmoor in Edinburgh) but I’m going for this riesling pairing as it solves the thorny problem of what to drink with laksa.
I found myself back in an old haunt last week - Peter Gordon’s The Providores in London’s Marylebone High Street. As the bar was crowded we went up to the restaurant and treated ourselves to the à la carte*
I’ve been rediscovering tea pairing with food lately and this was a standout match at my local self-styled modern tearoom Lahloo Pantry in Bristol. It was a simple pound cake topped with spicy pears* cooked in chai syrup with the company's own green jasmine tea.
There were so many outstanding pairings in the meal I had at the Michelin-starred Casamia in Bristol last week I don’t know quite where to start.
Oooofff, Korean food is spicy! Even when I toned down the gochujang chilli paste in the meatballs I made on Saturday night they were a challenge for most of the wines I tried with them (a characterful Babylonstoren rosé powered through). But the best match by far was a gin and tonic made from Romy's Edition Mango, Ginger and Lime gin, a collaboration between Bristol-based Six O’Clock Gin and Indian food writer Romy Gill.
Monkfish is regularly referenced as a meaty fish you can pair with red wine, especially when it’s wrapped in pancetta but suppose you serve it with salsa verde instead as they did at the Seahorse al Mare pop-up in Dartmouth last week?
Last week I was in Sanlucar, the Spanish town in the south of Spain where they make manzanilla, so what else could my match of the week be but a sherry?
Those of you who have read my report yesterday on the 20th anniversary of Charlie Trotter’s will know I’ve spent the last few days in Chicago eating some quite amazing food. But occasionally you need a change from all that gourmet fare and I found it in that great Chicago institution Gibsons steakhouse where they serve something called a ‘Gold Coast Slider’.
I have to admit there's an element of nepotism about this pairing which I enjoyed the other day at my son’s award-winning steakhouse Hawksmoor where we were shooting new photography for the site (an exciting development about which more news shortly!)
Thanks to my friend Signe Johansen of Scandilicious I finally got to Koya in Frith Street the other day - London’s food bloggers most popular noodle haunt and the winner of last year’s Observer Food Monthly’s Best Cheap Eats award.
Last week’s highlight was a trip to the newly opened downstairs restaurant at Terroirs, a restaurant of which regular readers will know I’m a huge fan (along with the rest of the UK’s wine-writing fraternity).
No earth-shattering revelations this week, just a reminder that mature red burgundy is a brilliant match for game.
I could have made almost any of the pairings in the Restaurants in Residence pop-up supper in Docklands last Tuesday my match of the week but I think this one just inches it, mainly because I absolutely loved the wine, Corail Rosé.
I’ve just had a sneak preview of a very lush new B & B Langford Fivehead which opens next week (March 1st) in the Somerset Levels just outside Taunton. The building dates back to 1453 and is owned and run by former BBC Good Food editor Orlando Murrin and his partner Peter Steggall
Six top chefs reveal their best ever food and wine match and what they'll be eating and drinking this Christmas.
I actually experienced so many great wine and food matches last week in South Africa - some accidental, some intended - that it would be invidious to pick out just one as my match of the week so here are a dozen that really stood out for me. (See also my match of the week last week of Semillon and seafood)
One of the questions I get asked most often is what to drink with a treasured bottle and this week’s match of the week provides the answer it it’s a red.
Last week I went to the perfect breakfast hosted at one of London’s favourite restaurants The Wolseley by the champagne house Billecart-Salmon in aid of Britain's Biggest Breakfast - a month long fund raising event for Cancer Research UK The charity is urging everyone to hold a breakfast for their family, friends or colleagues during March (still 17 days to go . . . ) and it struck me that this would be a particularly nice way to celebrate Mother’s Day.
One of the most intriguing things to find out about chefs is not what they cook in their restaurants but what they feed their family and friends. True, at St John one morphs into the other, but the lunch they held in London this week to celebrate the publication of Fergus Henderson’s new book The Complete Nose to Tail was one I’d have been more than proud to put on for my mates.
The question I’m often asked at this time of year is what makes the perfect Christmas cheeseboard. It’s as difficult a question as what makes the perfect Christmas lunch.
If you're planning ahead for Easter weekend and don't fancy doing the traditional big Easter Day lunch how about a brunch instead? Here's my menu for this time of year ...
Tired of turkey? Bored with goose? Try Signe Johansen's fresh-tasting suggestions for a simple New Year's supper with friends.
Whatever you get up to on Valentine’s night (and truly, I’d rather not know) my guess is you’ve got better things to do than spend it slaving over a hot stove. So this is an unashamed cheat’s menu for you to romance your loved one with the absolute minimum of effort. Needless to say, buy only the very best ingredients.
Although France is famous for wine there are parts of the country that fall under the radar and one of these is south-west France which is represented by the growers’ co-operative Plaimont which has vineyards which stretch from the foothills of the Pyrenees to the hills and valleys of Gascony. Benedictine monks grew vines in the region back in the 11th century
Anyone who doubts the value of being on Twitter - as I do myself from time to time - should factor in the bonus of having access to insider knowledge.
Who could resist a wine with a label like this at this time of year yet I ordered it before I’d even seen it.
Majorca produces serious wine? Go on, you’re kidding! No I’m not as it happens. This luxuriant red from Bodegues Macia Batle - surprisingly stocked by Marks & Spencer - is a great buy.
I love old-fashioned French aperitifs but the name of this Provençal one makes it doubly irresistible. And the peach flavour makes it perfect for this time of year.
Appassimento - letting wine ferment on semi-dried grapes - is a technique normally used to give extra sweetness and richness to red wines but it has been used in this highly unusual Sicilian white called Nero Oro (which means black gold)
I’ve tasted this wine before but was reminded how absolutely delicious it is when we had a bottle at lunch at Bell’s Diner in Bristol this week. (No I don’t spend my *entire* life there despite this article in the Guardian.)
Aldi held their (socially distanced) autumn wine tasting in London the other week. As usual there were some really good buys, mostly under £7 with a couple of more expensive ones that are well worth the money. These were my standout buys.
In anticipation of a England World Cup win that sadly didn’t happen Sainsbury’s is running a 25% off six bottles deal this weekend (with some exclusions* including sherry which I normally hoover up when they have one of these promotions). But there are plenty of other good deals
It’s a measure of how frantic we are to lose weight that Dr Michael Mosley’s diet book The Fast Diet shot straight to number 1 on Amazon yesterday. But is it worth buying?
It’s a sign of just how good Sud de France is that it managed to pick up two major prizes last year (an Andre Simon and Fortnum & Mason award) without a single colour photo* or its author, well known and respected though she is in foodie circles, currently being on TV.
Sauvignon blanc is many people's favourite wine but what type of food pairs with it best?
Like most wine-lovers, I suspect, I’ve made a new year’s resolution to drink rather less after the excesses of Christmas and the New Year. I’m not a big fan of sweetened fruit juices so my drink of choice at the moment, with meals and in between, is sparkling mineral water.
None of you, I’m sure, can have failed to notice just how many different bottles of rosé are now available on the average supermarket shelf. From being purely a summer wine there are now rosés for almost every type of food and occasion and rosé pairings to match.
Nothing proclaims autumn more clearly than squash and pumpkin but what wine should you pair with them? It depends whether the dish is savoury or sweet obviously but here are a few options that might help
This week is National Barbecue Week in the UK and if you're planning a barbecue this weekend you might well be wondering what to drink. Here's an article I wrote for Decanter a few years ago which still holds good today, I think.
As I mentioned in my Guardian column this week the Government has been putting pressure on the drinks industry to reduce the strength of house wines to below 12.5%. Frankly I think that’s more likely to make people spend more on their wine rather than drink less but it’s true that wines have got progressively higher in alcohol particularly from regions like Bordeaux where reds now regularly clock in at 14%. I certainly prefer to drink wines below that myself.
The season of discounting has started again with supermarkets all announcing or due to announce dramatic money-off deals if you buy six bottles or more.
If you’re a fan of tartiflette, that wickedly indulgent après-ski dish of potatoes, bacon and meltingly gooey cheese, you’ll be familiar - though you may not be aware of it - with Reblochon.
I like the lushness of Viognier but often find cheaper ones a bit muted, however this one from Languedoc producer Laurent Miquel which is on offer currently at £6.70 in Waitrose and online* is the real deal.
Well, I don’t know about easy but there must be some easier way to get people into German wine . . .
Although there's not quite the feverish frenzy there was about kale a couple of years ago there's still a lot of kale lurve around.
Today marks the start of Organic September and what better way to kick it off than this great recipe from much-acclaimed vegetarian cookery writer Anna Jones, author of A Modern Way to Cook
I’ll be doing a major round-up on my trip to Provence next week buthere are a few more thoughts on matching rosé and food, an update of mylast overview
You may find family and friends resistant to the idea of putting beer on the Easter table (though some will be secretly pleased) but stick to your guns.
Beaujolais - by which I mean red Beaujolais - is the most French of wines, the perfect wine pairing for a picnic or bistro meal.
White rioja is tricky when it comes to wine pairing as it comes in such contrasting styles. There are the crisp fresh unoaked white riojas which behave much like a sauvignon blanc and much richer barrel-fermented ones which can tackle more intensely-flavoured fish and meat dishes
Cabernet franc can be the most food-friendly of wines, as good with fish and veggies as it is with meat but as I pointed out in a recent Guardian column it comes in several styles.
Despite the recent increase in interest in Mexican street food like tacos consumers in the UK still have to take to tequila (maybe because they’re too busy drinking gin) but in fact it’s an attractive and versatile spirit to pair with food
There were leeks everywhere you looked in the Languedoc last week so I decided to make a classic dish of leeks vinaigrette (and finely sliced serrano ham) as a starter for Sunday lunch with friends. Despite the vinegar and mustard in the dressing it’s not a sharp dish - the dominant note is the delicate, sweet, oniony taste of the leeks so I was looking for a light, unoaked white which wouldn’t mask that flavour.
They say that the best wine is the bottle that’s empty at the end of the evening and so it proved with this light Chilean red which I shared with my neighbours the other night.
Now that Grner Veltliner has become a fixture on fashionable restaurant wine lists (along with Albarino and Picpoul de Pinet) there are signs that sommeliers are looking for the Next Big Thing. And the most likely candidate looks to be Vinho Verde.
Our roving gastronaut Lucy Bridgers discovers why German Mosel riesling is the ideal wine pairing for Vietnamese food
One of the most useful tricks to master, especially when you’re dealing with a tricky-to-match ingredient, is to introduce a ‘bridge’ ingredient - in other words an element in the dish that makes it easier to pair with the wine you want to drink. It can be something as simple as cream or mashed potato or something rather more specific that picks out a flavour in the wine you’re serving.
So the International Pinot Noir Celebration aka IPNC has pretty well been and gone apart from today’s brunch and it’s fair to say it’s very different from what I expected.
Many of these recommendations are now out of date. There is a more recent post of where I recommend to eat in Bristol here.
One of the recipes in my book An Appetite for Ale for which I have the greatest affection is Beer-Can Chicken. Actually, I say recipe, but it’s more like a technique.
There are always so many wines at the Waitrose tasting I rarely end up doing justice to the whites but here are some bottles I’ve picked out for Christmas, along with some fizz and stickies.
I’ve already made my selection of Bordeaux from Lidl’s heavily promoted new French wine offer on the Guardian website today. Here’s what else I’d pick up when the wines go on sale this Thursday September 4th. (Note they're NOT available before then.)
Sainsbury’s is running one of its regular 25% off promotions if you buy six bottles this week (until Sunday 4th) - a good opportunity to stock up on your August drinking.
I posted this last year after trying Rijsttafel - the Indonesian speciality that’s widely available in Amsterdam. Translated literally as ‘rice table’, it’s an elaborate array of curries, salads and pickles which present a tough challenge for any wine.
Do herbs ever have a strong enough influence on a dish to determine your wine pairing? Relatively rarely in my view. Only very herby sauces like pesto or salsa verde dominate a dish to such an extent that you need to choose a wine to accommodate them.
Roquefort cheese is unusual in having such a frequently recommended wine match (Sauternes) that you may wonder if it’s worth drinking anything else but depending how you serve it there are a number of other options.
Today is International Grenache Day, a celebration of a grape which is (often anonymously) responsible for some of the most generous and appealing reds in the wine world.
Although I'm not one of those who is resolutely against pairing wine with spicy food there are definitely occasions when beer goes at least as well, if not better and this is one of them.
Cheese and wine is always a bit of a minefield so it’s good to find a partnership that works really well. This was one of six pairings laid on for the launch of the Bristol Wine and Food Fair which takes place next month (and at which I’m holding a number of Cheese and Wine Masterclasses, so do come along).
Occasionally a wine pairing comes along that you simply don’t expect. Invited to a barbecue at the weekend, I took along some reds I’d been tasting which I frankly wasn’t sure would go with the sweet marinades you generally encounter at a BBQ.
If you’re an albarino fan I’m sure you know it pairs brilliantly with seafood but here’s a twist to take the experience to another level.
One of the grape varieties that has impressed me most over the last few days in South Africa has been semillon and here’s a chance to try it at a really good price.
If you’re a fan of sauvignon blanc you’re going to love this fresh, aromatic Sicilian white from one of the island's best known wineries, Planeta.
At just £5* and 11% this is the perfect wine for this cash-strapped, trying-to-be-a-bit-healthier time of year.
One of the advantages of a blog as I pointed out the other day is that you can have a quick rave about a place or dish you stumble across without it taking several hours to research and write up.
The perfect hot weather dish from chef Tim Anderson's Nanban - even if you only make the cucumber ice cubes
Did I want to go on a truffle trip to Spain at the end of January? Balmy Barbados seemed like a better option but since that wasn’t on the cards and the enquiry came from an old friend I said yes. The 2 day visit - the annual Viñas del Vero ‘Days of Wine and Truffles’ in Somontano would include an outdoor picnic in the foothills of the Pyrenees (eek), a truffle hunt and - the clincher - a multi-course truffle menu by one of the region’s most talented chefs followed by a gastronomic brunch. “Bring the Gaviscon”. my friend sagely advised.
Our final port of call on our recent French trip was a modest family run restaurant at Bourneville called Risle-Seine, a few minutes off the autoroute between Le Havre and Rouen (and therefore ideally placed for a last minute lunch before catching the ferry). It has no great pretensions but does what it does really well: simple classic country food served with decent, well-priced wines - and cider, we discovered this time.
I’m constantly amazed at the stream of good value reds that is coming out of Spain these days. Here’s another - La Copa Tempranillo 2005 from the up and coming Campo de Borja wine region which is situated in Aragon to the north west of Zaragoza. It appears to be made by a co-operative, the Cooperative de Santo Cristo de Magallon but is none the worse for that.
This month’s issue of Observer Food Monthly hasa special on TV dinners featuring celebrities talking about their favourite snacks. Very few beverages are mentioned so I thought I’d suggest a few pairings ;-)
The other night I was lucky enough to go out with a wineloving friend of mine and his wife who brought along a bottle of Château Palmer 1990 with them. It was a lovely wine but, as any 20 year old vintage would be, quite delicate so immediately created the dilemma of what to eat.
Last night we opened a bottle of 2005 Nugan Estate McLaren Parish Vineyard Shiraz - a typically big lush Aussie red at a hefty 15% ABV.
I was interested to read in the Telegraph this weekend that Ken Hom is planning to move from his French base in Cahors to spend more time in Italy and Thailand.
Like salt, pepper has a pronounced effect on wine, often making reds taste softer and lusher than they otherwise would. Unlike salt though, you also find peppery flavours in wines such as Northern Rhône Syrah and Austrian Grüner Veltliner.
Sometimes I wonder when we get to drink our best wines, food has become so fiddly and complicated so it’s a welcome relief to see a recipe like Rowley Leigh’s in the FT this weekend for a simply roast duck with peas.
Turkish food is not traditionally accompanied by wine. And although the Turks do have a wine industry not much of it makes its way over here. But here are some thoughts on possible pairings for Mark Hix's Turkish inspired recipes in the Independent this weekend"
People occasionally ask me what characterises British food. Unlike French or Italian food it can be hard to pin down, there are so many different ethnic influences but last night I had a meal that was quintessentially English summer food.
Olive, the UK-based food magazine, has identified cocktail and food pairing as a coming trend in 2009. It's possible but I'm a little sceptical nowadays when it comes to initiatives involving spirits and food. There have been so many false dawns over the last few years (remember cocktail dessert menus?) and I would have thought the current economic climate was the least propitious period to get the idea off the ground. But I could be wrong.
I don’t think I ever go to a sherry tasting without coming away renewed in my conviction about what a marvellous match it is for food and the one I attended yesterday was no exception. It was organised by the enterprising Les Caves de Pyrne who are importing for the first time into the UK some rare sherries from Emilio Hidalgo and took place at Dehesa, the sister (if that’s the appropriate word) restaurant of the better known Salt Yard.
One of the main events at the Dartmouth Food Festival this weekend was a dinner at Mitch Tonks Seahorse restaurant cooked by London chef Mark Hix. The unusual factor though was that every dish was matched with a cocktail.
The first thing everyone asked me when I got back from Korea was what does the food taste like? Unless you live in London, or New Malden in Surrey, which, rather randomly, boasts the UK’s biggest concentration of Korean restaurants, then you probably won’t be familiar with Korean food.
Few recipes are truly original but this twist on the classic vitello tonnato from Ed Smith of Rocket and Squash, using tomatoes as the base instead of roast veal is just inspired.
The most perfect Provençal-style summer tart from Alex Jackson's evocative book Sardine, named after his London restaurant which has now sadly closed.
A really easy, delicious preserve using red wine and cassis from Sybil Kapoor's recently released The Great British Vegetable Cookbook - a great present for anyone who has an allotment.
I love this recipe from Claire Thomson's brilliant new book Home Cookery Year which I'm tempted to say is the only cookery book you'll ever need although if you're anything like me it's highly unlikely you're going to give the other however many dozen books you've got away.
If you're looking for an impressive vegetarian centrepiece to a spring meal this lovely light recipe from Signe Johansen's and Peter's Yard's book Smörgåsbord, is perfect though if you serve it on its own I think it would probably only feed 4-6! (Only 4 in my family!)
I recently chaired a panel on women in food at the Abergavenny Food Festival which included the wonderful Zoe Adjonyoh. I hadn't seen her book Zoe's Ghana Kitchen before but discovered it was full of the most delicious recipes, many of them vegan.
The big trend for cookbooks this year is vegetarian food and no-one is better able to hold your hand and give you inspiration than my pal Elly Pear. This delicious weekday recipe, which can be rustled up in 20 minutes, comes from her new book Green.
I've always been intrigued by Oysters Rockefeller, described by the great Simon Hopkinson as "the best hot oyster dish I know". Here's his recipe.
With the new season's spring veg springing up in the garden and coming into the shops it's the perfect moment to make these delicious Seasonal Veg Pakora from Grace Regan's appetising new book, Spicebox.
One of the books I'm most enjoying at the moment is Mark Diacono's Herb which is perfectly suited to a man who is a great gardener as well as a cook (and the most engaging writer as well as taking all his own photographs. Sickening, really!)
Another recipe for your World Cup celebrations from the Van Loveren family. It comes from the new Wines of South Africa cookbook Cape Wine Braai Masters but you could equally well cook it with a conventional oven and grill.
One of the most evocative cookbooks to have been published this autumn is Lori de Mori and Laura Jackson's Towpath, a series of recipes and reminiscences from the charmingly quirky Towpath Café. It's divided up month by month and this is in fact a September recipe but as squash is still in season and wonderful warming at this time of year it works equally well now.
A really robust pasta dish from my book Cooking with Wine - perfect for cold weather eating. The wine gives a richer, more warming flavour than the usual tomato-based sauce.
It's not often you go to a restaurant just for the potatoes but The Quality Chop House's confit potatoes are off the scale - crisp on the outside, meltingly delicious within. Fortunately for those of you who don't live in or near London chef Shaun Searley shared the recipe in his book The Quality Chop House which came out last year. (I also have my eye on the beef fat Hispi Cabbage!)
Many of this year's most appealing cookbooks are vegetarian which should be welcome to all of us who are looking for new ways of cooking and serving veg. This delicious recipe comes from Vegetarian Sheet Pan Cooking by food writer and private chef Liz Franklin.
"Hallowe'en's always a great excuse to let your imagination run riot and to make some spectacularly spooky food" says cookery writer Signe Johansen.
A gorgeously hearty, warming vegetable-based dish from Gizzi Erskine's inspiring new book Restore which is full of and advice on how to eat ethically and seasonally.
With the country blanketed by snow what else can you think of but soup? A favourite recipe from my book An Appetite for Ale that makes a great pairing with a dark, Trappist beer. You can decide how creamy you want it - my preference is to add just a dash to the soup then swirl a little in each bowl to decorate.
I first had this wonderful vegetable stew - a northern Spanish equivalent of a spring vegetable minestrone - in a restaurant in Pamplona and dreamed about it for several years before managing to recreate it.
A recipe for one of my favourite ingredients (potatoes) from one of my favourite restaurants, Root in Bristol, whose chef, Rob Howell has just published a glorious cookbook of their food which is basically vegetable-based without being wholly veggie.
If your new year's resolution is to get fit you may be planning to start the day with a smoothie. But how good for you are they and could you make them healthier?
You might think that as tortilla generally has carbs of its own it doesn’t need to be stuffed between two slices of bread. Wrong! The Spanish do it so why shouldn’t the rest of us? Particularly if you have leftovers to use up.
This is the kind of recipe (or rather idea) that I used to put on my old blog The Frugal Cook. But as I’ve given up on it (I know - I shouldn’t have done) I’m posting it here.
For those whose courgettes (zucchini) just won't stop producing here's the perfect way to use them from Tom Hunt's lovely book The Natural Cook.
If you're a fellow potato fan you'll absolutely love this warming recipe from Jenny Linford's new book Potatoes.
My friend cookery writer Andrea Leeman is one of the best home cooks I know with a knack of making even the simplest food taste utterly delicious.
If you're vegetarian - or catering for one - you expect more than the Christmas sides while everyone else tucks into the turkey. This delicious pie from Rachel Demuth of Demuths Cookery School in Bath fits the bill perfectly.
Cauliflower and eggs are two of my favourite things, here ingeniously combined by Dan Doherty of the Duck & Waffle in his brilliant book Toast, Hash, Roast, Mash.
New year tends to mean two things - frugal living and healthy eating - and this recipe my eldest daughter Jo devised when she was a student ticks both boxes. Best, of course, with organic veg if you can get hold of them.
Finding a special occasion vegetarian dish is tough if you're not a veggie yourself but try this show-stopping recipe from Sabrina Ghayour's Persiana which won best new cookbook at this week's Observer Food Monthly awards.
Although you can find any kind of recipe online these days nothing beats a beautiful cookbook and the new Fern Verrow book by Herefordshire farmers Jane Scotter and Harry Astley is one you're definitely going to want to own.
The idea of Thanksgivukkah - a once-in-a-lifetime simultaneous celebration of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah - has really caught on. Caterer Elly Curshen of Bristol's Pear Café comes up with her perfect starter.
Beets are everywhere at the moment but have you ever thought of using them in a risotto? And adding a dash of pinot noir?
I've been lucky enough to eat my friend Romy Gill's food on many occasions - she's an inspired home cook - so it's great to finally see her recipes in print.
This unusual quiche comes from Great British Bakeoff star Flora Shedden's really charming cookbook Gatherings
This brilliant storecupboard dip was taught to me by my friend cookery writer Trish Deseine who rustled it up in no time when I was staying with her recently.
With the first serious snow of the season you may be craving après-ski food but lack the time, energy or ingredients to rustle up a fondue or tartiflette.
As it's Word Vegetarian Day I thought I'd re-run an article from Decanter on wine and vegetarian food I wrote a few years ago but still contains some useful pointers from top wine producers and sommeliers. (Some of the people quoted are now in different jobs.)
Frankly if you can afford white truffles (currently selling at about 2500 euros per kilo) you probably already have a substantial cellar to pick from but just so you don’t in any way detract from the pleasure of eating your investment let me tell you what the Piedmontese do.
Last week, the Union des Grands Vins Liquoureux de Bordeaux, the body that represents Bordeaux sweet wine producers, hosted a tasting of wines from six of the appellations they represent to partner savoury and sweet dishes at a lunch at le Cercle restaurant in Chelsea.
I’ve written before about pairing wine with Chinese food - and so have some of my contributors but here’s a slightly different way of going about it that may help you decide which bottle to choose and make your pairings more successful. It involves deciding which flavours are predominant in a dish or selection of dishes.
I have to admit I accepted Leonid Shutov’s invitation to taste vodka with some trepidation having heard tales of the hangovers that some of my colleagues had suffered as a result of their visits to his Soho restaurant Bob Bob Ricard.
This weekend I’ve been down at my favourite food festival in Dartmouth where I’ve been giving a number of wine talks. One of them was a forum on food and wine matching with wine writer and TV presenter Susy Atkins and former sommelier and wine supplier Tim McLoughlin-Green of Sommelier’s Choice.
Food and wine writer Marc Millon recounts a memorable celebration of the new vintage last week with his Piemontese winemaker friends
One of the aspects of the World’s Best Sommelier competition I hadn’t really thought about is how on earth you create a menu for a roomful of sommeliers. And choose wine pairings they won’t be sniffy about. One way is to impress them with large format bottles and old vintages which is the route competition sponsor Moët et Chandon took . . .
Although there’s still plenty of the rich, lush style of Shiraz we’ve come to associate with Australia there’s more than one style as I discovered on my recent trip. If you like more restrained, even funky syrahs, Australian producers can deliver. Unsurprisingly many of them are organic or biodynamic and made with a minimum of sulphur. Most are from cooler vineyards. Take your pick . . .
Here’s a great question from Anna Boulton, the owner of a gîte in the Limousin
This month I asked my fellow Tweeters to tackle the subject of wine with asparagus - supposed to be a tricky combination, but as @cuvee_corner put it “Maybe it's just me, but I don't see the difficulty.” (It isn't just you. There are plenty of options!)
If you think of the ingredients that show off a great wine mushrooms would have to be near the top of the list.
With Chinese new year coming up this weekend you may be planning a trip to a Chinese restaurant or planning a Chinese meal at home. But which wine to serve?
Given that whisky is generally considered the most appropriate match for haggis I thought it would be interesting to check out what Britain’s top whisky experts have to recommend for Burns Night:
Should it be wine or beer - or even a cocktail? Last year I asked the Twitter community what their favourite barbecue bevvy was and this is what they came up with . . .
If there’s one dish more difficult to pair with wine than already tricky tomatoes it’s gazpacho, the chilled Spanish summer soup that includes raw onion and peppers as well. So what wine should you match with it?
If you’re used to choosing wine - or other drinks - to match with meat or fish you may be flummoxed when it comes to chosing one for vegetarian friends. But as I explain in my Guardian column today it’s a question of finding out how the wine is made - and in particular whether any animal-based products have been used in the fining process.
Amontillado sherry has richer, nuttier flavours than a classic fino or manzanilla sherry and calls for different food matches. Think more in terms of cured meat, game and cheese than seafood and richer, meatier tapas.
Vermentino is incredibly versatile - a brilliant wine pairing for anything fishy, herby or citrussy and a great wine for spring and summer drinking.
With media interest in vegan food at an unprecedented high you might wonder which wines vegans can drink. Quite a lot as it happens ...
Artichokes have the reputation of being a wine-killer but as with most of these diktats the problem is over-played. True, artichokes can make even dry whites taste oddly sweet but that doesn’t account for the different ways in which they are cooked and how they are served.
I was reminded about my trip to Priorat almost exactly two years ago by my recent visit to the Roussillon which has a similar terroir. And I think the wines would go with similar kinds of food. These were my suggested pairings at the time . . .
We Brits don't need much encouragement to eat pies. But which is the better match - wine or beer?
Although we all talk turkey at Thanksgiving, in fact it’s the sides that tend to steal the show. Finding a wine that can cope with them all is never easy but you may just find your favourite side or dressing can inspire your choice.
The idea of doing a post on wine matches with brussels sprouts might strike you as a tad over the top - after all who eats sprouts on their own? (Answer: me. Whenever I get the chance.)
If you're wondering what wines you should buy for Easter weekend here's quick guide to what I think are the best Easter wine pairings.
Vegetarians often get overlooked at this time of year so if you’re vegetarian yourself or cooking for one here are some perfect pairings for some delicious festive recipes from the web.
Following my trip to Islay a while ago I drew up some pairings for its extraordinary peaty whiskies. I’m not a great one for whisky dinners but I like the idea of serving tapa-sized dishes with a dram.
There’a a fair chance that if you grow courgettes - or zucchini - you’re eating more than your fair share of them at this time of year but what wine should you drink with them?
Peppers or bell peppers, as they’re also known, crop up in so many dishes, that you may well have wondered what wine goes best with them - or even if they’re the element of the dish you need to match.
White burgundy includes a multitude of wines from generic bourgogne blanc to the grandeur of a Bâtard-Montrachet or Corton-Charlemagne. But it’s the affordable wines that I’m focussing on in this post. What type of food do they pair with best?
Mark Hix, a great forager himself, concentrates on recipes you can make from the hedgerow this week in The Independent (now is a good time to go to his new restaurant, I suggest . . . ) so I’m thinking a little outside the box as to what to pair with them. Country wines, made with hedgerow fruits, seem the perfect answer. I don’t know why we don’t see more of them.
Last night I had dinner at the Dorchester Grill Room, one of London’s grander hotel restaurants which has been given an absurdly baroque makeover reminiscent of what Balmoral must have looked like in Victorian times. The team in the restaurant though are bang up to date with one of the smartest sommeliers in town, Jason McAuliffe doing an impressive double act with the talented young chef Aiden Byrne.
Of all the great food and wine pairings I experienced in Rioja last week this was the most unexpected.
This week’s wine pairing couldn’t be anything else but Istrian having spent three days in this northern part of Croatia last week. Surprisingly it turns out to be a great gastronomic destination - not from the point of view of fine dining but of respect for local traditions, ingredients and grape varieties.
The idea of partnering asparagus with wine is contentious enough but red wine? Surely that won’t work?
As those of you who follow me on instagram (@food_writer) will know I’ve been in Venice for the past few days - and if I could would still be there!
It's been a while since I've posted about soup - it's notoriously tricky to match with wine - but this weekend I came across a great combination at a new restaurant in Bath, the oddly named Menu Gordon Jones*
Where I live in Bristol we’re lucky to have an unusually good Indian restaurant called Thali Café, that sells sophisticated street food which you can take away in your own tiffin box. I’m addicted to the vegetable-based ‘Dairy Free Tiffin’ which is light, fresh and aromatic and was wondering what to drink with it when I picked up a bottle of Tire Bite Golden Ale from the excellent Flying Dog brewery.
I’ve been thinking about the tricky subject of wine with asparagus for long enough to have come up with a number of different pairings but I came across two this week that were really a bit of a revelation.
It’s been so busy the last few weeks that good pairings have been coming thick and fast but this was a great match I enjoyed at an offbeat new occasional restaurant which was launched by food and wine writer Marc Millon in Topsham, Devon the other day. (He’s also contributed a couple of pieces to this site including this wonderful piece about Bagna Cauda)
Last week I was on an assignment in Tuscany for a couple of days. It was pretty hot but that didn’t discourage the Tuscans from serving the kind of food they enjoy all the year round - namely substantial bean and chickpea soups.
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.
Most of the time, as you’ll have noticed, I feature the more offbeat wine pairings I’ve come across in my match of the week slot. This week I’ve been reminded of the virtue of some that seldom go wrong.
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.
Like many of you, I suspect, I’ve been working my way through the older bottles in my cellar* and unearthed a 2014 vintage of Brokenwood Semillon the other day which I visited on my last wine visit to the Hunter Valley.
This pretty dish was served the other night at what is still our favourite Bristol restaurant, Culinaria, even if we now live over the other side of town. It provided everything you want from a starter - light, appealing, appetite-stimulating.
In the general flurry of celebrations last week I missed out on St David’s Day (the patron saint of Wales) and the opportunity to write about leeks. Leeks tend to excite a certain amount of derision but I think they’re a fabulous vegetable, much milder, subtler and sweeter than onion and much more sympathetic to a fine white wine (for I think they go much better with a white wine than a red one).
This match, which I enjoyed at Plateau wine bar in Brighton last week, breaks a couple of wine pairing conventions. Firstly that you match red meat with a full bodied red. And secondly that you don’t drink red wine with asparagus.
I’ve been in the Loire for the last two days enjoying a fascinating range of wines but the pairing that stood out for me was one I’d never come across before: roast chestnuts and Bernache.
It’s not often these days that I hit on a totally new discovery but this combination at the newly opened Pitt Cue Co, a southern American-style ribshack is the business.
On Saturday I was in London’s Borough Market which was full of the most wonderful spring vegetables - artichokes, broad beans, peas and asparagus. It reminded me of a dish I normally make this time of year when we’re at our house in the Languedoc in southern France which is rabbit braised with spring vegetables and Viognier.
You wouldn’t necessarily expect an Italian dish like pumpkin ravioli to pair with a Portuguese white but the match was just perfect.
This may seem a bit of a random pairing but it was the ‘amuse’ at the start of a really delicious meal at Schloss Ottersbach during our trip to Austria’s Südsteiermark (Styria) region last week.
After months of lockdown it’s been such a pleasure to return to favourite restaurants like Elliott and Tessa Lidstone’s Box-E and I couldn’t have had a more perfect day to enjoy it. The food too - especially this quintessentially summery dish of courgettes, tomatoes and basil with the lightest, fluffiest polenta - was just perfect for sitting outside on a hot day.
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
We’re in Arles this week for our annual visit to the Rencontres Arles, the fabulous photography festival that takes over the entire town. Since we’re with our youngest son, culinary exploration has to alternate with visits to his favourite pizza and sandwich joints which is how we ended up last night at a basic but brilliant pizzeria in the Trinquetaille on the other side of the Rhône.
I’ve been researching a big feature on perry over the last few days sothat's what this week's pairing had to be. And by that I don’t meanwhat is popularly called pear cider but a cider-like drink that is madewith real perry pears.
Having been flying around the world for the best part of the past month I had a quiet week at home last week which (unusually for me) involved no outstanding drinks pairings.
Yesterday we arrived in Arles for the Recontres Arles, a massive annual photographic exhibition that takes over the entire town. Our youngest son Flyn is showing some of his work at a restaurant called Le Corazon so we’re here for the next 10 days or so.
Last week I went on a flying visit to Tuscany to take part in the olive oil harvest and had the rare treat of being able to sample oil that has just been pressed. As you can see from the picture, it’s an incredible colour - literally deep olive green and has the most fantastic grassy flavour.
This was part of an expertly paired meal at a restaurant in Trondheim called To Rom og Kjøkken (Two Rooms and a Kitchen) last Saturday night.
I went to a Piemontese wine dinner last week at a local Italian restaurant in Bristol, Prosecco about which I’ve written before. There were some very good matches - along with a couple of off-key ones, one of which involved a faulty bottle which the wine merchant introducing the event seemed determined to disregard despite grumblings from the floor.
Every so often you come across a great little recipe than does wonders for almost any wine you pair with it. And so it is with mushroom ‘caviar’, a regular offering from the takeaway section of my favourite local restaurant Culinaria. Basically it’s a mushroom pâté but so reduced and wickedly intense it’s like pure essence of mushroom. Except for the perfect counterpoint - a tiny touch of tarragon.
The way things are looking I don’t imagine there will be many standout matches of the week over the forthcoming months given that I’m out and about much less than normal. But this one, from Trivet in Bermondsey last week is truly excellent.
It must be the unseasonally hot weather but I've been drinking a lot of soft drinks lately. There seems to be much more choice on the market, especially more sophisticated drinks that are full of flavour but not too sweet. And which go well with food.
OK, this pairing at Jason Atherton’s new Social Wine and Tapas isn’t exactly easy to reproduce at home but it was certainly the highlight of my food and wine matches last week.
I was reminded just how enjoyable this combination is the other day when I dropped by London’s latest tapas bar Barrafina and enjoyed a pre-dinner pick-up of a glass of Hidalgo with some al-i-oli and toast. The sharp tangy sherry was the perfect foil for the crisp toast and silky, garlic-flavoured mayo that accompanied it.
As I’ve been down in the Languedoc for the past week most of my food and wine combinations have been classic. Picpoul and oysters (always great), a rich grenache/syrah/mourvedre blend called Cascaillou* with a beef daube (spot on) and my wine of the week, Mas des Chimères Oeillade (a cinsault) with grilled lamb and herbs.
One of the many appealing things about Birch in Bristol is that they have an extensive list of artisanal ciders. Which is maybe not so surprising given that they are intending to sell the restaurant and concentrate on making cider themselves.
I came across this unlikely combination while I was flying back from Argentina with the Brazilian airline TAM* who have this year decided to inaugurate a Brazilian menu in business class devised by a woman chef called Ana Luisa Trajano. And quite right too.
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.
A surprisingly good pairing I came across in a local Italian restaurant on Saturday night. The (admirably light) home-made gnocchi were dressed with a fresh tomato sauce with basil which I would have thought would have been overwhelmed by the firm, well-structured 13.5% Barbera the boys had ordered with it - a Ca’ del Matt 2002. (For preference I’d have drunk a dry Italian white such as a Soave.) But it was spot on - even better than it was with my main course of slow roast pork belly.
Just squeaking in in time for this week’s match of the week is a great gazpacho and Rueda combo I had at lunch today at a new London winebar 28-50.
If you’re not drinking for whatever reason - because you’re driving, pregnant or just taking a break - it’s sometimes difficult to find something that makes a good match for what you’re eating. Soft drinks can be sweet and sugary. Water sometimes too plain.
To kick off National Vegetarian Week and a week of veggie pairings (don’t groan, carnivores, we’ll be back on meat next week!) here’s a great pairing from Friday night’s underground supper club, Montpelier Basement in Bristol.
The most interesting meal I had last week was undoubtedly at Viajante, an innovative new restaurant in what used to be Bethnal Green town hall. You can see my full review on decanter.com but I just wanted to write a bit more about the pairings.
When I think of coriander I rarely think of chardonnay - more like a sauvignon blanc or a riesling - but the tasting sponsored by Wine Australia at Imbibe the other week before last really surprised me.
It's always difficult to decide what to drink with soup - one liquid with another never seems quite right as I've remarked before - but the thicker the soup is the easier it is.
I agonised over which match to highlight this week - there were so many good ones, especially from my trip to the Jura which I’ll report on in the next couple of days but I’ve gone for this intriguing and off the wall pairing from a seasonal wine dinner at Lido in Bristol on Saturday night.
Most pairings focus on alcoholic drinks but it’s equally intriguing to see how a similar synergy can be achieved with an alcohol-free one.
For the first time my match of the week is not one I’ve experienced myself but was reported by Ron Zimmerman of The Herbfarm in Woodinville, Washington on Twitter (where he tweets as Herbguy - and I tweet as winematcher)
Even if you're not a fan of the blockbuster style of Chardonnay still favoured by many producers you have to admit it meets its match in butternut squash. Why? Because the rich sweetness of the squash kicks the sometimes over-exuberant tropical fruit and vanilla-scented oak into touch and magically transforms them into an elegant, refreshing glassful.
It’s not often that you come across a wine match that’s as successful as it’s unexpected but sommelier Ruth Spivey’s pairing of a fruity Monferrato chiaretto rosato (aka rosé) from Piedmont with a dish of burrata, pressed watermelon and pickled fennel at Arbutus the other night was spot on - and all the more impressive given that she hadn’t had a chance to taste the combination beforehand.
With St Patrick’s Day falling on a Monday this year - and in Easter week into the bargain - many are expected to be celebrating this coming Saturday so here’s a reminder of just how great an Irish stout (Guinness or otherwise) is with that classic dish of boiled bacon and cabbage.
The other day I enjoyed a surprisingly good pairing of a beetroot soup with an English blend of Pinot Noir and Rondo from Kent winery Chapel Down at the London restaurant Roast. I say surprising a) because soup is difficult to pair and b) because the two are so similar in colour that you’d think the wine wouldn’t be a sufficient contrast to the soup. In fact its fruitiness and crisp acidity (the Rondo making it taste more like a mid-weight Italian red) was just the right counterpoint to the earthy rich character of the beetroot.
Despite the razmatazz surrounding the launch of Dom Perignon 2003 and a serious amount of wine and truffle action to which I’ll devote more space shortly I’m picking a more modest match from last week - the delicious beetroot-cured salmon, capers and egg yolk and 2010 Godelia Godello I had at José Pizarro’s new London restaurant Pizarro.
In a week of pretty amazing wine pairings (it’s not every day you get to taste five different vintages of Harlan Estate* over dinner) there was one really interesting match I wouldn’t have predicted - and that’s what this weekly slot is all about.
I’d already flagged up southern Italian red wines as a good pairing for aubergine (or eggplant) but it was good to be reminded just what a great match nero d'avola can be, especially with aubergine parmigiana
This coming weekend sees the 16th annual festival of the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) in San Francisco. I went one year and it was an absolute blast - two great sheds filled with hundreds of enthusiasts enjoying this great belter of a red.
As Greece’s best known grape variety you’d probably think of pairing assyrtiko with meze or seafood but as this week’s match of the week shows it’s good away from its home territory too.
Asparagus and fine white Bordeaux sounds a bit of a risky wine match but the way the dish was prepared made it a standout pairing.
I’ve been reminded during the last few days in the Cape Winelands of the great versatility of Chenin Blanc also known locally by its Afrikaans name Steen but this was the standout pairing.
A wine-loving friend and I weren’t sure what to order the other night at Native in Southwark. The menu was suitably springlike but having had a glass of white beforehand (at the excellent Bar Douro) we fancied a red
So maybe Austria’s signature grape grüner veltliner is the perfect pairing for tricky-to-match artichokes?
Anchovies are always reputed to be difficult with food but I found a great match for them over the past few days down in Collioure and Banyuls. Which of course there should be as they’re a speciality of the area.
I’m beginning to wonder if there’s anything manzanilla doesn’t pair with - or fino, come to that. Of course, there is but both sherries do seem to be brilliant at dealing with the tricky customers of the culinary world, especially pungent salty ones like anchovies and capers.
To tell you the truth this is as much about the story behind the pie as the wine match but that was good too so let’s kick off with that.
Signe Johansen recently competed in - and won - a food bloggers challenge to come up with the perfect dish for a Casillero del Diablo Chilean Cabernet. Here’s how she went about it. (You can find the recipe for the winning dish, Pigeon breast and chocolate mole with redcurrants and parmesan mash here.)
This is the kind of easy meal I like to make for friends. The soup can be made in advance (or buy one of the excellent ready made chilled soups there are nowadays and dress it up with some fresh herbs), the steak is finished in the oven and the dessert literally takes minutes.
This week has been all about dipping into bottles in the cellar in our house in France. Well, not strictly the cellar - more like the cupboard under the stairs. It’s not ideal wine storage - it’s a bit too warm in the Languedoc - but it stays cooler than the rest of the house.
Today, if you weren’t aware, is the first day of Organic September, a month-long celebration of organic food and drink. So maybe a good opportunity to explore organic wine.
Everyone knows that artichokes are one of the most difficult ingredients to match with wine - especially with red wine. Only last weekend we struggled to find a pairing at the food matching forum I was taking part in.