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Which wine pairs best with salad?

Which wine pairs best with salad?

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.

What wines (and other drinks) pair best with noodles?

What wines (and other drinks) pair best with noodles?

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

8 great wine (and other) matches for roast chicken

8 great wine (and other) matches for roast chicken

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.

Which foods pair best with Merlot?

Which foods pair best with Merlot?

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.

What's the best type of wine for a barbecue?

What's the best type of wine for a barbecue?

If you’re planning a barbecue this weekend - or barbecuing any other weekend this summer - you may well be wondering which wine to choose.

South-east Asian seafood dishes and salads and aged Eden Valley riesling

South-east Asian seafood dishes and salads and aged Eden Valley riesling

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

The best wine pairings with Caesar salad

The best wine pairings with Caesar salad

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.

 Beetroot, goats cheese and walnut salad

Beetroot, goats cheese and walnut salad

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, herb, walnut and pomegranate salad

Bulgur, herb, walnut and pomegranate salad

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.

Layered tomato and egg salad with Verdejo

Layered tomato and egg salad with Verdejo

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.*

Endive, Stilton and walnut salad with blanc de blancs champagne

Endive, Stilton and walnut salad with blanc de blancs champagne

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

Oktoberfest potato salad

Oktoberfest potato salad

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.

Smoked duck and blood orange salad with Chilean Gewürztraminer

Smoked duck and blood orange salad with Chilean Gewürztraminer

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.

Salade Niçoise and Rosé

Salade Niçoise and Rosé

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.

Pork, chilli, coconut and gapi salad with Momo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Pork, chilli, coconut and gapi salad with Momo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

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.

Crisp duck salad with Fielding Estate Riesling

Crisp duck salad with Fielding Estate Riesling

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.

Chicken caesar salad and blonde ale

Chicken caesar salad and blonde ale

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.

Potato and lemon frittata with watercress & almond salad

Potato and lemon frittata with watercress & almond 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.

Asparagus salad and Grüner Veltliner

Asparagus salad and Grüner Veltliner

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

Vietnamese chicken salad and ginger and lemongrass cordial

Vietnamese chicken salad and ginger and lemongrass cordial

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.

Gizzi's Thai Roast Duck & Watermelon Salad

Gizzi's Thai Roast Duck & Watermelon Salad

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.

Rocket and parmesan salad with dry amontillado sherry

Rocket and parmesan salad with dry amontillado sherry

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.

Seamus Mullen's kale salad with apple, toasted pecans and yoghurt and dill vinaigrette

Seamus Mullen's kale salad with apple, toasted pecans and yoghurt and dill vinaigrette

I've never really 'got' kale but this delicious salad would convert anybody. AND it's healthy too!

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

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

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

Caesar salad with a Godello based Spanish white

Caesar salad with a Godello based Spanish white

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.

Raw cauliflower, mushroom and feta salad

Raw cauliflower, mushroom and feta salad

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).

 Burmese Mango Salad with Peanut and Lime

Burmese Mango Salad with Peanut and Lime

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 10 best wines for spring and early summer drinking

The 10 best wines for spring and early summer drinking

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.

Top pairings for dry and off-dry Alsace whites

Top pairings for dry and off-dry Alsace whites

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.

Thai beef salad and off-dry Riesling

Thai beef salad and off-dry Riesling

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.

A Middle-Eastern inspired barbecue for eight

A Middle-Eastern inspired barbecue for eight

Here's a barbecue with a difference from my book Food, Wine and Friends. The centrepiece is a spiced, butterflied leg of lamb served with a delicious Turkish-style bulghur wheat salad called Kisir. Finish with grilled nectarines or, if you prefer to have your dessert prepared ahead, some refreshing wine jellies.

Spicy chicken salad

Spicy chicken salad

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.

Chicken salad and real apple juice

Chicken salad and real apple juice

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)

Roasted red pepper and anchovy salad on roasted garlic toasts

Roasted red pepper and anchovy salad on roasted garlic toasts

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 best food pairings for dry (or off-dry) riesling

The best food pairings for dry (or off-dry) riesling

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.

The best food matches with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

The best food matches with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

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.

Smoked haddock and apple salad with New Zealand Riesling

Smoked haddock and apple salad with New Zealand Riesling

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.

 Chargrilled baby lamb, salad and Rueda

Chargrilled baby lamb, salad and Rueda

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.

Which food to pair with South African chenin blanc

Which food to pair with South African chenin blanc

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

Wines - and other drinks - to match recipes from the Ottolenghi Cookbook

Wines - and other drinks - to match recipes from the Ottolenghi Cookbook

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.

Roasted asparagus and Jersey royal salad with herb mayonnaise and a 2012 Saumur Champigny

Roasted asparagus and Jersey royal salad with herb mayonnaise and a 2012 Saumur Champigny

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.

Some top food pairings for pear cider and perry

Some top food pairings for pear cider and perry

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.

Some great new ideas for pairing madeira

Some great new ideas for pairing madeira

Lucy Bridgers discovers some stunning matches with madeira and gets some inspiration for Christmas entertaining.

The 10 trickiest foods to pair with wine

The 10 trickiest foods to pair with wine

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.

Which drinks pair best with Thai food?

Which drinks pair best with Thai food?

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?

The best food to pair with vodka

The best food to pair with vodka

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:

Wines to pair with fennel

Wines to pair with fennel

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.

A Spring Scandinavian Supper for 8

A Spring Scandinavian Supper for 8

Now that we're firmly into spring here's a menu to celebrate from Danish cookery writer Trine Hahnemann introduced by her Scandi compatriot food writer and blogger Signe Johansen

6 good wine pairings for aubergine/eggplant

6 good wine pairings for aubergine/eggplant

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.

The new wines of Malaga

Malaga has more to offer than its fortified wines as wine educator and consultant David Furer found on a recent visit.

A cassoulet lunch

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.

Five-spice smoked tofu nuggets

Five-spice smoked tofu nuggets

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.

Cherry, herb and freekeh tabule

Cherry, herb and freekeh tabule

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.

 Watermelon, halloumi, lime-pickled red onions

Watermelon, halloumi, lime-pickled red onions

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 beginner's guide to sake

A beginner's guide to sake

A newbie's guide to sake from wine writer Natasha Hughes.

The best wines to pair with beetroot

The best wines to pair with beetroot

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.

Lyndey Milan's Aussie-style barbecue lunch

Lyndey Milan's Aussie-style barbecue lunch

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

A steak and Malbec supper

A steak and Malbec supper

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).

6 things you need to think about when pairing wine and vegetarian food

6 things you need to think about when pairing wine and vegetarian food

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.

6 of the best pairings for pinot grigio

6 of the best pairings for pinot grigio

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.

A week’s eating in Paris

A week’s eating in Paris

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 . . .

Pigging out - literally - at Blackfoot, Exmouth Market

Pigging out - literally - at Blackfoot, Exmouth Market

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.

How to throw a vodka and zakuski party

How to throw a vodka and zakuski party

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.

Celebrate your own Oktoberfest!

Celebrate your own Oktoberfest!

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.

Book review: Leon Fast Vegetarian

Book review: Leon Fast Vegetarian

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.

Spanish wine matches for Moro recipes

Spanish wine matches for Moro recipes

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.

What to drink with the turkey leftovers

What to drink with the turkey leftovers

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:

Top wine and beer matches for game

Top wine and beer matches for game

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.

Guacamole, salsa and a citrussy pale ale

Guacamole, salsa and a citrussy pale ale

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.

Matching the vegetarian tasting menu at Sketch

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.

Venice restaurants - the big hitters

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.

Does St John deserve the hype?

When the World’s top 50 restaurants are published each year St John is always near the top of the list. This year it’s number 14 but is it really the fourteenth best restaurant in the world?

Steak that doesn't need a red

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.

Possibly the best barbecue in the world . . . All you need to know about asado

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:

Beer and food matching with Raymond Blanc

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.

Wines to match summer recipes from two talented English women chefs

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

Which wines pair best with raw food?

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.

How to host a cheese dinner

How to host a cheese dinner

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.

A beginner's guide to pairing food and wine

A beginner's guide to pairing food and wine

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.

Where - and what - Bristol chefs eat

Where - and what - Bristol chefs eat

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.

Eating out tips for Toronto

Eating out tips for Toronto

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)

4 good restaurants in Oxford

4 good restaurants in Oxford

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.

Two London restaurants you’re going to love

Two London restaurants you’re going to love

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

Three hot restaurants to visit in Paris in spring 2015

Three hot restaurants to visit in Paris in spring 2015

Deciding where to eat in Paris is just as stressful as where to eat in London. There’s just too much choice

The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais

The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais

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?

Scully: intrepid eating in St James’s

Scully: intrepid eating in St James’s

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.

Magpie: smart bar food for wine lovers

Magpie: smart bar food for wine lovers

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.

Hix at The Tramshed: chicken, steak and Damien Hirst

Hix at The Tramshed: chicken, steak and Damien Hirst

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.

Dabbous - already one of the hottest restaurant openings of 2012

Dabbous - already one of the hottest restaurant openings of 2012

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.

Boulestin, St James’s Street: London’s latest French restaurant isn't quite there yet

Boulestin, St James’s Street: London’s latest French restaurant isn't quite there yet

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?

28-50 Marylebone: a smart West End wine bar for weary shoppers

28-50 Marylebone: a smart West End wine bar for weary shoppers

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.

Twice-baked goats' cheese soufflés

Twice-baked goats' cheese soufflés

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 . . .

Simit with lemon and thyme-baked feta

Simit with lemon and thyme-baked feta

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!)

My 25 top food and wine pairings

My 25 top food and wine pairings

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?

Christmas pairings with port, sherry and madeira

Christmas pairings with port, sherry and madeira

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?

10 top Canadian wine pairings

10 top Canadian wine pairings

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:

Margaritas, tacos and tostadas

Margaritas, tacos and tostadas

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)

Goats' cheese and Sauvignon Blanc

Goats' cheese and Sauvignon Blanc

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.

Bacchus and cucumber

Bacchus and cucumber

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.

10 top food pairings for South African wines

10 top food pairings for South African wines

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.

My top 20 books to give your friends for Christmas 2017

My top 20 books to give your friends for Christmas 2017

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.

A Change of Appetite - but what if your beloved doesn't want to change?

A Change of Appetite - but what if your beloved doesn't want to change?

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.)

St John and the art of the long lunch

St John and the art of the long lunch

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,

Sea Containers at Mondrian: much more fun than it sounds

Sea Containers at Mondrian: much more fun than it sounds

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.

Celeriac, potato and anchovy gratin

Celeriac, potato and anchovy gratin

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.

Hot smoked salmon, Korean carrots and pinot gris

Hot smoked salmon, Korean carrots and pinot gris

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.

Cold roast veal with herbs and St Chinian rosé

Cold roast veal with herbs and St Chinian rosé

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.

Seasonal wine pairings for Domaine de l’Arlot burgundy

Seasonal wine pairings for Domaine de l’Arlot burgundy

Lucy Bridgers reports on an elegant dinner matching different vintages of Domaine de l’Arlot burgundy with a seasonal spring menu

Rare seared sirloin steak slivers with feta, charred lettuce and charred cucumber

Rare seared sirloin steak slivers with feta, charred lettuce and charred cucumber

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.

What to pair with Beaujolais Nouveau

What to pair with Beaujolais Nouveau

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.

Food pairings for wheat beer II - hefeweizen, dunkelweizen and other German-style wheat beers

Food pairings for wheat beer II - hefeweizen, dunkelweizen and other German-style wheat beers

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?

 Drink of the week: Cawston Press Apple and Rhubarb Juice

Drink of the week: Cawston Press Apple and Rhubarb Juice

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.

More pairings with Indian food

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.

More food and wine matching at Senderens and a gem of a restaurant on the Left Bank

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:

The tricky task of pairing wine and citrus

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.

Wines to match wild salmon

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:

Wines to match Mark Hix's summer main courses and desserts

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

Why young wines work best for summer

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.

What to pair with new-wave Portuguese wines

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.

A return visit to cheese heaven

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.

Wines - and other drinks - to match Delia's new 'cheat' recipes

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.

Partake, Healdsburg - a new concept in food and wine pairing

Partake, Healdsburg - a new concept in food and wine pairing

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.

Pairing champagne and summer food

Pairing champagne and summer food

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.

Can you pair tea with a 4 course meal?

Can you pair tea with a 4 course meal?

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.

Brazil 3 Argentina 3

Brazil 3 Argentina 3

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.

Where Bristol foodies eat

Where Bristol foodies eat

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 …)

Toupeirinho, Matosinhos - a perfect seafood restaurant

Toupeirinho, Matosinhos - a perfect seafood restaurant

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.

Thai tapas in Paris at Le Mary Celeste - updated March 2015

Thai tapas in Paris at Le Mary Celeste - updated March 2015

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)

Rovi - Ottolenghi’s latest restaurant is perfect for flexitarians

Rovi - Ottolenghi’s latest restaurant is perfect for flexitarians

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.

River Cottage Canteen, Bristol: a good place for families

River Cottage Canteen, Bristol: a good place for families

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

Jeremy Lee at Quo Vadis, Soho

Jeremy Lee at Quo Vadis, Soho

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.

Caravan Kings Cross: just a very nice restaurant

Caravan Kings Cross: just a very nice restaurant

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.

Bistro d'Alex, Florensac - a real find in an unlikely location

Bistro d'Alex, Florensac - a real find in an unlikely location

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.

Alle Testiere - best restaurant in Venice or most over-hyped?

Alle Testiere - best restaurant in Venice or most over-hyped?

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.

Duckstrami

Duckstrami

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.

My top 20 drink pairings of 2013

My top 20 drink pairings of 2013

So what stood out in the way of food and wine matches - and pairings with other drinks - in 2013?

Lunch is for WIMPS!

Lunch is for WIMPS!

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!).

Italian beer and food matching at Tozi

Italian beer and food matching at Tozi

Sophie Atherton reports on the introduction of a new range of 'birra artigianale' (craft beer) at ciccetti restaurant, Tozi.

Fine Wine and Fast Food

Fine Wine and Fast Food

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.

What type of wine goes with blue cheese?

What type of wine goes with blue cheese?

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?

The best wine pairings for cauliflower

The best wine pairings for cauliflower

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.

10 undiscovered wine gems from Germany

10 undiscovered wine gems from Germany

"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.

Wines to match the menu at Jamie's Italian

Wines to match the menu at Jamie's Italian

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. )

Dessert wine pairing: ‘Sweet Thai Green Curry’ with Lapeyre Jurancon

Dessert wine pairing: ‘Sweet Thai Green Curry’ with Lapeyre Jurancon

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

Pasta with pesto and Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi

Pasta with pesto and Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi

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.

My 20 best wine (and other drink) pairings of 2015

My 20 best wine (and other drink) pairings of 2015

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.

Double IPA and pork belly

Double IPA and pork belly

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.

Cider and Camembert

Cider and Camembert

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.

Two really good wines to buy from Help 4 Hospitality

Two really good wines to buy from Help 4 Hospitality

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.

The Cookbook Dilemma: The Food of Spain or The Food of Morocco?

The Cookbook Dilemma: The Food of Spain or The Food of Morocco?

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?

Save with Jamie - a better book than you’d think

Save with Jamie - a better book than you’d think

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?

Flavour matching with Niki Segnit

Flavour matching with Niki Segnit

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

Book of the month: Mamushka by Olia Hercules

Book of the month: Mamushka by Olia Hercules

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.

New voices in food

New voices in food

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.

Beer and food pairing at Meantime

Beer and food pairing at Meantime

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.

Roast Pumpkin with Savoury Sage & Pumpkin Seed Granola

Roast Pumpkin with Savoury Sage & Pumpkin Seed Granola

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.

Lobster thermidor baked potatoes

Lobster thermidor baked potatoes

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 . . .

Drowned tomatoes

Drowned tomatoes

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!

Witbier and asparagus

Witbier and asparagus

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.

The best wine - and other - pairings for leeks

The best wine - and other - pairings for leeks

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 ... )

The best pairings for fino and manzanilla sherry

The best pairings for fino and manzanilla sherry

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.

Wine pairing: burrata, beetroot and Albarino

Wine pairing: burrata, beetroot and Albarino

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 and smoked dried beef with almonds

Manzanilla sherry and smoked dried beef with almonds

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.

Lebanese mezze and Côtes de Provence rosé

Lebanese mezze and Côtes de Provence rosé

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.

Chargrilled endive, hazelnut crumble and Bayonne ham with white Bairrada

Chargrilled endive, hazelnut crumble and Bayonne ham with white Bairrada

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

On the road in the Pacific North West: Day 1

On the road in the Pacific North West: Day 1

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.

Top food pairings with Clare Valley and Eden Valley riesling

Top food pairings with Clare Valley and Eden Valley riesling

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.

A perfect starter for credit crunch entertaining

A perfect starter for credit crunch entertaining

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.

Middle eastern-style lamb with grilled vegetables and a natural red wine

Middle eastern-style lamb with grilled vegetables and a natural red wine

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

Lager and jerk chicken

Lager and jerk chicken

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.

Is this wine the perfect match for Thai food?

Is this wine the perfect match for Thai food?

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.

Sponsored feature: 10 ways to enjoy your favourite Provence rosé this Christmas

Sponsored feature: 10 ways to enjoy your favourite Provence rosé this Christmas

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?

Off the shelf: Domaine Grangette La Saignée de Rose Piquepoul Noir 2012

Off the shelf: Domaine Grangette La Saignée de Rose Piquepoul Noir 2012

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.

Drink of the week: Sawanotsuru sake

Drink of the week: Sawanotsuru sake

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.

Domaine Gueguen Sacy Cepage Confidentiel Coteaux Bourguignons 2018

Domaine Gueguen Sacy Cepage Confidentiel Coteaux Bourguignons 2018

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.

 Wine of the week: Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2015

Wine of the week: Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2015

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.

Six of the best matches for Bacchus and other dry English white wines

Six of the best matches for Bacchus and other dry English white wines

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.

Matching wine with fusion food

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.

I'll have a wee dram if you don't mind

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.

How to host a Bordeaux dinner

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.

Argentine wines with Asian food

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)

My first meal at Marc Veyrat - but will it be my last?

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.

Food and wine pairing in Provence

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 . . .

Porc à la moutarde

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.

Chablis at Nobu

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!)

Dans Le Noir?

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.

Entertaining on a budget: surviving the credit crunch

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.

Wine matches at 1884 Francis Mallman

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.

Wine Wars at Arbutus

Wine Wars at Arbutus

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.

My tasting at the Wine & Culinary Forum, Barcelona

My tasting at the Wine & Culinary Forum, Barcelona

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

What type of food pairs with orange wine?

What type of food pairs with orange wine?

Donald Edwards finds a clue in the traditional Georgian food that was served at a dinner at the Notting Hill restaurant Colchis recently.

'Rad' food matching at the London Wine Sessions

'Rad' food matching at the London Wine Sessions

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.

New wines from old families. Lunch with Australia’s First Families of Wine

New wines from old families. Lunch with Australia’s First Families of Wine

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

Is there a scientific basis for wine and food pairing?

Is there a scientific basis for wine and food pairing?

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

Beer - and whiskey - pairing at L Mulligan Grocer

Beer - and whiskey - pairing at L Mulligan Grocer

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

A beer dinner in the heart of Paris shows how the French are taking to craft beer

A beer dinner in the heart of Paris shows how the French are taking to craft beer

Lotte Peplow sees American craft brewers persuade the French that wine is not the only thing to drink with a meal ....

Where to eat in and around Agde

Where to eat in and around Agde

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.

Venice restaurants: Eating off the beaten track

Venice restaurants: Eating off the beaten track

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.

Two classic meals in Chablis

Two classic meals in Chablis

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.

Gorgeous green Oregon

Gorgeous green Oregon

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.

Four great restaurant finds in Paris

Four great restaurant finds in Paris

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

Food and wine pairing in Trentino

Food and wine pairing in Trentino

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.

China's glitzy new gastronomy

China's glitzy new gastronomy

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

Chez Miton and Au Fil de L’Aigronne: two Loire bargains

Chez Miton and Au Fil de L’Aigronne: two Loire bargains

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.

A perfect romantic hideaway in an unlikely location

A perfect romantic hideaway in an unlikely location

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.

A great base to explore Beaujolais

A great base to explore Beaujolais

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.

The Barbary, Covent Garden

The Barbary, Covent Garden

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.

Taberna do Mercado, Spitalfields, London

Taberna do Mercado, Spitalfields, London

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.

So what is Sticky Walnut really like?

So what is Sticky Walnut really like?

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.

Shop Eight Food and Wine, Christchurch, New Zealand

Shop Eight Food and Wine, Christchurch, New Zealand

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.

Sartoria: a smart West End Italian

Sartoria: a smart West End Italian

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.

Ristorante Cibreo, Florence

Ristorante Cibreo, Florence

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.

De Librije, Zwolle - a ‘mini-menu’ that’s an 8 course feast

De Librije, Zwolle - a ‘mini-menu’ that’s an 8 course feast

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?

Pastaiao and the new pasta craze

Pastaiao and the new pasta craze

If you want to open a new restaurant serve pasta. That seems to be the formula for success these days.

One Leicester Street: an oasis of calm off Leicester Square

One Leicester Street: an oasis of calm off Leicester Square

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.

My two favourite restaurants in Paris

My two favourite restaurants in Paris

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.

Hit and miss at Robuchon

Hit and miss at Robuchon

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.

Duck + Rice: posh Chinese in a Soho pub

Duck + Rice: posh Chinese in a Soho pub

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 ….

Does The Kitchin deserve a second Michelin star?

Does The Kitchin deserve a second Michelin star?

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.

Delahunt, Dublin - gorgeous room, classy food

Delahunt, Dublin - gorgeous room, classy food

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.

Daffodil Mulligan: a touch of Dublin in the heart of London

Daffodil Mulligan: a touch of Dublin in the heart of London

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.

Brasserie Zédel: Paris comes to Piccadilly

Brasserie Zédel: Paris comes to Piccadilly

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.

Borago: cutting-edge cuisine in Santiago, Chile

Borago: cutting-edge cuisine in Santiago, Chile

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.

Aron's Jewish Delicatessen - Brooklyn comes to Bristol

Aron's Jewish Delicatessen - Brooklyn comes to Bristol

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.

 The return of Henry Harris at The Coach

The return of Henry Harris at The Coach

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.

Yoghurt-baked fish with walnut-herb crumbs

Yoghurt-baked fish with walnut-herb crumbs

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.

Wilhelm Coetzee's Butterflied Leg of Lamb

Wilhelm Coetzee's Butterflied Leg of Lamb

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.

Slow-cooked ox cheek in spicy tomato sauce

Slow-cooked ox cheek in spicy tomato sauce

A warming wintry recipe from José Pizarro's Catalonia - the perfect dish to cook as the nights draw in.

Salmon in pastry with currants and ginger

Salmon in pastry with currants and ginger

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.

Salmon burgers with goats cheese and sundried tomatoes

Salmon burgers with goats cheese and sundried tomatoes

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!

Roast supreme of guinea fowl with sherry and grapes

Roast supreme of guinea fowl with sherry and grapes

A perfect autumnal dinner party recipe from James Ramsden's lovely book Do Ahead Dinners.

Rabbit stifado

Rabbit stifado

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.

Pizza by any other name

Pizza by any other name

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.

Peter Gordon's nam phrik num dressing

Peter Gordon's nam phrik num dressing

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.

Lavash, chicken & herb pie with barberries

Lavash, chicken & herb pie with barberries

A really lovely summery recipe from Olia Hercules most recent book Kaukasis.

Josceline Dimbleby's Crispy Pigeon Pie

Josceline Dimbleby's Crispy Pigeon Pie

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.

Japanese ginger and garlic chicken with smashed cucumber

Japanese ginger and garlic chicken with smashed cucumber

A simple but spectacular Japanese-style dish from Diana Henry's marvellous new book A Change of Appetite which I've also reviewed on the site here.

Honey-roast chicken with roast sweet potatoes

Honey-roast chicken with roast sweet potatoes

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.

Baked chicken with garlic and sherry

Baked chicken with garlic and sherry

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

In search of the perfect steak wine

In search of the perfect steak wine

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.

What impact does garlic have on wine pairing?

What impact does garlic have on wine pairing?

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.

What to drink with Middle Eastern food?

What to drink with Middle Eastern food?

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

Pairing Errazuriz wines at Pollen Street Social

Pairing Errazuriz wines at Pollen Street Social

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.

Matching Korean food with wine

Matching Korean food with wine

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.

How to pair beer and food

How to pair beer and food

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 . . .

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.

A perfect wine for cheese. A perfect cheese for wine

A perfect wine for cheese. A perfect cheese for wine

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.

A beginner's guide to juicing

A beginner's guide to juicing

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.

10 tips for cold weather drinking

10 tips for cold weather drinking

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.

What to eat with your favourite wines this Christmas

What to eat with your favourite wines this Christmas

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.

What refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach?

What refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach?

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.

Two spot-on beer pairings from beerbistro

Two spot-on beer pairings from beerbistro

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.

Twitmatching #1 An A-Z of Twitter's best Champagne pairings!

Twitmatching #1 An A-Z of Twitter's best Champagne pairings!

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.

Top wine pairings with goat cheese (chèvre)

Top wine pairings with goat cheese (chèvre)

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.

Pairing asparagus and beer

Pairing asparagus and beer

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.

Tuna Tataki and Grenache Blanc

Tuna Tataki and Grenache Blanc

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.

Stichelton and onion quiche and Fleurie

Stichelton and onion quiche and Fleurie

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.

Seared diver-caught scallops and mature white burgundy

Seared diver-caught scallops and mature white burgundy

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.

Seafood tapas and Txakoli

Seafood tapas and Txakoli

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

Scallop tartare and sauvignon blanc

Scallop tartare and sauvignon blanc

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?

Sausage and gammon pie and Wiper & True Family Tree IPA

Sausage and gammon pie and Wiper & True Family Tree IPA

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

Roast suckling pig with Casa de Saima Bairrada Tinto

Roast suckling pig with Casa de Saima Bairrada Tinto

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.

Red mullet, tapenade and white Saint Joseph

Red mullet, tapenade and white Saint Joseph

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

Prawn laksa and dry German riesling

Prawn laksa and dry German riesling

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.

Peter Gordon's beef pesto and Pencarrow pinot noir

Peter Gordon's beef pesto and Pencarrow pinot noir

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*

Pear and chai cake and green jasmine tea

Pear and chai cake and green jasmine tea

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.

Passionfruit and tarragon with Jurancon

Passionfruit and tarragon with Jurancon

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.

Korean meatballs with mango, lime and ginger gin

Korean meatballs with mango, lime and ginger gin

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.

Grilled monkfish with salsa verde and vermentino

Grilled monkfish with salsa verde and vermentino

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?

Fried acedias and Hidalgo Pastrana Manzanilla Pasada

Fried acedias and Hidalgo Pastrana Manzanilla Pasada

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?

Filet 'sliders' and Pinot Noir

Filet 'sliders' and Pinot Noir

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’.

Crayfish and Crab Cocktail with Bonny Doon Pacific Rim Riesling

Crayfish and Crab Cocktail with Bonny Doon Pacific Rim Riesling

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!)

Cold sesame noodles and weissbier

Cold sesame noodles and weissbier

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.

Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic and Thierry Puzelat Pinot Noir

Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic and Thierry Puzelat Pinot Noir

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).

Chambolle-Musigny and game

Chambolle-Musigny and game

No earth-shattering revelations this week, just a reminder that mature red burgundy is a brilliant match for game.

Brown shrimps and cucumber with Corail Ros 2010

Brown shrimps and cucumber with Corail Ros 2010

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.

Braised saltmarsh lamb at Langford Fivehead

Braised saltmarsh lamb at Langford Fivehead

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

A Birds Eye pea and truffle buttie  with a glass of Meursault? It could only be Heston . . .

A Birds Eye pea and truffle buttie with a glass of Meursault? It could only be Heston . . .

Six top chefs reveal their best ever food and wine match and what they'll be eating and drinking this Christmas.

12 great South African food and wine pairings

12 great South African food and wine pairings

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)

 Milk fed lamb and aged Vega Sicilia

Milk fed lamb and aged Vega Sicilia

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.

What to pour for your mum this Sunday

What to pour for your mum this Sunday

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.

How to feed your friends like Fergus Henderson of St John

How to feed your friends like Fergus Henderson of St John

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.

How to create a great Christmas cheeseboard

How to create a great Christmas cheeseboard

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.

An alternative New Year's Eve menu for four

An alternative New Year's Eve menu for four

Tired of turkey? Bored with goose? Try Signe Johansen's fresh-tasting suggestions for a simple New Year's supper with friends.

A Valentine's dinner for lazy lovers

A Valentine's dinner for lazy lovers

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.

Yonder Raspberry Gose

Yonder Raspberry Gose

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.

Wine of the week: Josmeyer Mise du Printemps 2014

Wine of the week: Josmeyer Mise du Printemps 2014

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.

Santa Maria del Cami Binissalem 2012, Mallorca

Santa Maria del Cami Binissalem 2012, Mallorca

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.

RinQuinQuin à la pêche

RinQuinQuin à la pêche

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.

Domaine Labet Fleur de Savagnin ‘en chalasse’ Cotes du Jura 2012

Domaine Labet Fleur de Savagnin ‘en chalasse’ Cotes du Jura 2012

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.)

10 good wine buys from the current Sainsbury’s offer

10 good wine buys from the current Sainsbury’s offer

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

The Fast Diet by Dr Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer

The Fast Diet by Dr Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer

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?

Sud de France: Caroline Conran's love letter to Languedoc

Sud de France: Caroline Conran's love letter to Languedoc

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.

San Pellegrino and seafood

San Pellegrino and seafood

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.

What type of wine works best with a barbecue?

What type of wine works best with a barbecue?

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.

More wines under 12.5%

More wines under 12.5%

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.

8 good wine buys at Sainsbury’s

8 good wine buys at Sainsbury’s

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.

Laurent Miquel Vendanges Nocturnes Viognier 2013, Pays d’Oc

Laurent Miquel Vendanges Nocturnes Viognier 2013, Pays d’Oc

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.

Frying pan Turkish flatbreads

Frying pan Turkish flatbreads

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

The best food pairings for white rioja

The best food pairings for white rioja

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

 Some great food pairings for tequila

Some great food pairings for tequila

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

Leeks vinaigrette and Vermentino

Leeks vinaigrette and Vermentino

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.

 Wine of the week: Morande One to One Pais

Wine of the week: Morande One to One Pais

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.

Why Vinho Verde won't be the new Grüner Veltliner (or the new Albarino, come to that)

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.

Why old is gold for autumn entertaining

No, I haven’t completely lost it! I do mean autumn, not spring. This is for the benefit of those subscribers and visitors who come from the southern hemisphere:

Why Mosel riesling matches Vietnamese food

Why Mosel riesling matches Vietnamese food

Our roving gastronaut Lucy Bridgers discovers why German Mosel riesling is the ideal wine pairing for Vietnamese food

Using 'bridge' ingredients to create a perfect match

Using 'bridge' ingredients to create a perfect match

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.

What the IPNC is really like

What the IPNC is really like

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.

Where to eat in Bristol in 2014

Where to eat in Bristol in 2014

Many of these recommendations are now out of date. There is a more recent post of where I recommend to eat in Bristol here.

Beer-Can Chicken - the best way to barbecue a bird!

Beer-Can Chicken - the best way to barbecue a bird!

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.

The best of Waitrose’s white wines, fizz and stickies: November 2016

The best of Waitrose’s white wines, fizz and stickies: November 2016

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.

More French wine bargains from Lidl

More French wine bargains from Lidl

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.)

8 wines under £6 from Sainsbury’s

8 wines under £6 from Sainsbury’s

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.

Wine and Indonesian food: which wine pairs best with Rijsttafel?

Wine and Indonesian food: which wine pairs best with Rijsttafel?

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.

What wine (or other drinks) should you pair with herbs?

What wine (or other drinks) should you pair with herbs?

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.

The best wine pairings with Roquefort cheese

The best wine pairings with Roquefort cheese

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.

Thai fishcakes and witbier

Thai fishcakes and witbier

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.

Gorwydd Caerphilly and white burgundy

Gorwydd Caerphilly and white burgundy

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).

Coffee and maple syrup-brined pork with Saint Joseph

Coffee and maple syrup-brined pork with Saint Joseph

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.

Albarino with arroz negro (rice with squid ink)

Albarino with arroz negro (rice with squid ink)

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.

Wine of the week: Bohoek Semillon 2017

Wine of the week: Bohoek Semillon 2017

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.

Planeta Alastro 2015

Planeta Alastro 2015

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.

 Off the shelf: Tesco Cotes de Gascogne Blanc

Off the shelf: Tesco Cotes de Gascogne Blanc

At just £5* and 11% this is the perfect wine for this cash-strapped, trying-to-be-a-bit-healthier time of year.

Food finds: Vivo bakery and café, Islington

Food finds: Vivo bakery and café, Islington

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.

Gin and cucumber sorbet

Gin and cucumber sorbet

If you're looking to mark World Gin Day this weekend why not rustle up this refreshing gin and cucumber sorbet which was created by Simon Dawson of Bell's Diner in Bristol.

Possibly the best truffle dinner ever

Possibly the best truffle dinner ever

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.

Normandy cider and creamy sauces

Normandy cider and creamy sauces

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.

Chicken with sweet peppers and Tempranillo

Chicken with sweet peppers and Tempranillo

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.

What food to pair with mature Margaux

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.

Wine and pepper

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.

Which wine to match with Rowley Leigh's roast duck and peas

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.

What to drink with Turkish food

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"

A classic English meal with a perfectly matched French wine

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.

Cocktail and food pairing

Cocktail and food pairing

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.

Clever pairings for rare sherries

Clever pairings for rare sherries

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.

A cocktail pairing dinner at The Seahorse

A cocktail pairing dinner at The Seahorse

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.

What makes Korean food distinctive

What makes Korean food distinctive

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.

Tomato Tonnato

Tomato Tonnato

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.

Tomato and tapenade tart

Tomato and tapenade tart

The most perfect Provençal-style summer tart from Alex Jackson's evocative book Sardine, named after his London restaurant which has now sadly closed.

Sticky blackcurrant shallots

Sticky blackcurrant shallots

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.

Spinach & agushi curry

Spinach & agushi curry

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.

Spiced Paneer, Spinach and Pea Grain Bowl with Mint Yoghurt Sauce

Spiced Paneer, Spinach and Pea Grain Bowl with Mint Yoghurt Sauce

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.

Simon Hopkinson's Oysters Rockefeller

Simon Hopkinson's Oysters Rockefeller

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.

Roast vegetable stacks

Roast vegetable stacks

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.

Rigatoni with aubergine (eggplant), sausage and Zinfandel sauce

Rigatoni with aubergine (eggplant), sausage and Zinfandel sauce

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.

Quality Chop's legendary confit potatoes

Quality Chop's legendary confit potatoes

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 has now shared his recipe in their new book The Quality Chop House which is published this week (on November 14th)

Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Flageolet Beans with Preserved Lemon Mayo

Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Flageolet Beans with Preserved Lemon Mayo

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.

Pumpkin (or butternut squash) muffins for Hallowe'en

Pumpkin (or butternut squash) muffins for Hallowe'en

"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.

Mushroom and Mustard soup

Mushroom and Mustard soup

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.

Menestra

Menestra

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.

How to make a really healthy smoothie

How to make a really healthy smoothie

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?

Fridge-raid tortilla sandwiches

Fridge-raid tortilla sandwiches

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.

Fridge- or freezer-foraged cheese, onion and parsley pie

Fridge- or freezer-foraged cheese, onion and parsley pie

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.

Courgette and feta fritters with yogurt

Courgette and feta fritters with yogurt

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.

Cheesy Three-Root Bake

Cheesy Three-Root Bake

If you're a fellow potato fan you'll absolutely love this warming recipe from Jenny Linford's new book Potatoes.

Celery, tomato and echalion sauce - a simple way of serving fish

Celery, tomato and echalion sauce - a simple way of serving fish

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.

Celeriac, leek, chestnut and cranberry pies

Celeriac, leek, chestnut and cranberry pies

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 curry, boiled eggs & coconut crumble

Cauliflower curry, boiled eggs & coconut crumble

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.

Carrot and beetroot borscht

Carrot and beetroot borscht

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.

Butternut squash with pistachio pesto, feta and pomegranate seeds

Butternut squash with pistachio pesto, feta and pomegranate seeds

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.

Buckwheat galettes with spinach béchamel

Buckwheat galettes with spinach béchamel

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.

Beetroot latkes: the perfect recipe for Thanksgivukkah

Beetroot latkes: the perfect recipe for Thanksgivukkah

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.

Beetroot and pinot noir risotto

Beetroot and pinot noir risotto

Beets are everywhere at the moment but have you ever thought of using them in a risotto? And adding a dash of pinot noir?

Baingan Bharta - roasted smoky aubergine

Baingan Bharta - roasted smoky aubergine

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.

Asparagus and ricotta tart with herb pastry

Asparagus and ricotta tart with herb pastry

This unusual quiche comes from Great British Bakeoff star Flora Shedden's really charming cookbook Gatherings

Artichoke and preserved lemon dip

Artichoke and preserved lemon dip

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.

Après-work tartiflette

Après-work tartiflette

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.

Which wines to pick with vegetarian food?

Which wines to pick with vegetarian food?

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.)

The tough task of pairing white truffles

The tough task of pairing white truffles

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.

Sweet Bordeaux and savoury food

Sweet Bordeaux and savoury food

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.

How to drink vodka like a Russian

How to drink vodka like a Russian

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.

Food villains - 9 awkward customers that could kill your wine

Food villains - 9 awkward customers that could kill your wine

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.

Bagna cauda and the new Dolcetto

Bagna cauda and the new Dolcetto

Food and wine writer Marc Millon recounts a memorable celebration of the new vintage last week with his Piemontese winemaker friends

A Champagne dinner fit for sommeliers

A Champagne dinner fit for sommeliers

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 . . .

10 Australian Shiraz - and Shiraz blends - that might surprise you

10 Australian Shiraz - and Shiraz blends - that might surprise you

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 . . .

Which wines and beers to pair with asparagus

Which wines and beers to pair with asparagus

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!)

Which whisky pairs best with haggis?

Which whisky pairs best with haggis?

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:

What wine to drink with gazpacho

What wine to drink with gazpacho

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?

What to drink with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's veggie recipes

What to drink with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's veggie recipes

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.

The best pairings for amontillado and palo cortado sherry

The best pairings for amontillado and palo cortado sherry

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.

Pairing wine with vegan food

Pairing wine with vegan food

With media interest in vegan food at an unprecedented high you might wonder which wines vegans can drink. Quite a lot as it happens ...

How Thanksgiving sides can inspire your wine pairing

How Thanksgiving sides can inspire your wine pairing

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.

10 food pairings for peaty whiskies

10 food pairings for peaty whiskies

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.

 The best wines to pair with courgettes or zucchini

The best wines to pair with courgettes or zucchini

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?

 NEW: The best wine pairings for peppers

NEW: The best wine pairings for peppers

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.

 The best food pairings with white burgundy

The best food pairings with white burgundy

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?

What to drink with foraged food?

What to drink with foraged food?

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.

What to drink with asparagus part I

What to drink with asparagus part I

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.

Young red rioja and menestra (Spanish vegetable stew)

Young red rioja and menestra (Spanish vegetable stew)

Of all the great food and wine pairings I experienced in Rioja last week this was the most unexpected.

Wild asparagus and Istrian Malvazija

Wild asparagus and Istrian Malvazija

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.

When you can pair asparagus with red wine

When you can pair asparagus with red wine

The idea of partnering asparagus with wine is contentious enough but red wine? Surely that won’t work?

Vignole and Friulano

Vignole and Friulano

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!

Velouté of asparagus with Grüner Veltliner

Velouté of asparagus with Grüner Veltliner

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*

Vegetable Thali and Flying Dog Tire Bite Golden Ale

Vegetable Thali and Flying Dog Tire Bite Golden Ale

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.

Tuscan-style sausages and beans with Montepulciano

Tuscan-style sausages and beans with Montepulciano

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)

Tuscan bean soup and Sangiovese

Tuscan bean soup and Sangiovese

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.

Tortilla chips, salsa fresca and a virgin mojito

Tortilla chips, salsa fresca and a virgin mojito

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

Three surefire pairings for pinot noir

Three surefire pairings for pinot noir

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.

Sweetcorn, feta and green chilli waffles and pink grapefruit juice

Sweetcorn, feta and green chilli waffles and pink grapefruit juice

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

Stuffed piquillo peppers with brandade and Hunter Valley Semillon

Stuffed piquillo peppers with brandade and Hunter Valley Semillon

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.

Smoked eel, beetroot and Malbec

Smoked eel, beetroot and Malbec

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.

Salmon with leeks and Chardonnay

Salmon with leeks and Chardonnay

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).

Roast lamb with wild garlic risotto, asparagus and feta with a chilled Languedoc red

Roast lamb with wild garlic risotto, asparagus and feta with a chilled Languedoc red

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.

Roast chestnuts and Bernache

Roast chestnuts and Bernache

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.

Ribs, bourbon and picklebacks

Ribs, bourbon and picklebacks

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.

Rabbit (or chicken) with spring vegetables and Viognier

Rabbit (or chicken) with spring vegetables and Viognier

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.

Pumpkin ravioli and a Douro white

Pumpkin ravioli and a Douro white

You wouldn’t necessarily expect an Italian dish like pumpkin ravioli to pair with a Portuguese white but the match was just perfect.

Potato spread, potato bread and weissburgunder

Potato spread, potato bread and weissburgunder

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.

Polenta with roasted courgettes, tomatoes and basil and Bardolino

Polenta with roasted courgettes, tomatoes and basil and Bardolino

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.

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

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

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

Pizza and chilled red wine

Pizza and chilled red wine

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.

Perry and a Ploughman's

Perry and a Ploughman's

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.

Peas and pinot

Peas and pinot

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.

Pastis and olives

Pastis and olives

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.

New season's olive oil and vino novo

New season's olive oil and vino novo

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.

Mushroom soup and Rignes Polaris Røykbokk

Mushroom soup and Rignes Polaris Røykbokk

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.

Mushroom risotto with Barbera

Mushroom risotto with Barbera

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.

Mushroom 'caviar' and Californian sparkling wine

Mushroom 'caviar' and Californian sparkling wine

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.

Miso-glazed cabbage and orange wine

Miso-glazed cabbage and orange wine

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.

Mezze and apple, mint and ginger lemonade

Mezze and apple, mint and ginger lemonade

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.

Mature Savennières with chargrilled carrots, burnt aubergine, miso and walnut pesto

Mature Savennières with chargrilled carrots, burnt aubergine, miso and walnut pesto

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.

Manzanilla and tapas

Manzanilla and tapas

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.

Mackerel and artichokes with Mademoiselle rosé

Mackerel and artichokes with Mademoiselle rosé

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.

Leeks and Skyborry perry

Leeks and Skyborry perry

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.

Grüner Veltliner and salt cod

Grüner Veltliner and salt cod

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.

Grey mullet, fennel and muscadet

Grey mullet, fennel and muscadet

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

Gnocchi with fresh tomato sauce and Barbera d'Asti

Gnocchi with fresh tomato sauce and Barbera d'Asti

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.

Gazpacho and Rueda

Gazpacho and Rueda

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.

Citrus fizz and Mexican food

Citrus fizz and Mexican food

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.

Cider-battered onions with fino sherry

Cider-battered onions with fino sherry

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.

Chocolate and roasted Oolong tea

Chocolate and roasted Oolong tea

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.

Chardonnay and charred aubergine with coriander chutney

Chardonnay and charred aubergine with coriander chutney

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.

Celeriac, celery and caerphilly soup with Coteau des Treilles Anjou blanc

Celeriac, celery and caerphilly soup with Coteau des Treilles Anjou blanc

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.

Cauliflower tortellini with hazelnuts and 10 year old Muscadet

Cauliflower tortellini with hazelnuts and 10 year old Muscadet

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.

Cauliflower popcorn and a Seedlip and pineapple cocktail

Cauliflower popcorn and a Seedlip and pineapple cocktail

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.

Carrot and basil-infused slugs and Saumur Blanc

Carrot and basil-infused slugs and Saumur Blanc

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)

Butternut squash and barrel-fermented Chardonnay

Butternut squash and barrel-fermented Chardonnay

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.

Burrata and watermelon with Montej rosé

Burrata and watermelon with Montej rosé

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.

Boiled bacon and cabbage with Irish stout

Boiled bacon and cabbage with Irish stout

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.

Beetroot soup and English Pinot Noir

Beetroot soup and English Pinot Noir

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.

Beetroot-cured salmon and Godello

Beetroot-cured salmon and Godello

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.

Beetroot and goat cheese macarons with a pet nat rosé

Beetroot and goat cheese macarons with a pet nat rosé

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.

Aubergine parmigiana with Nero d’Avola

Aubergine parmigiana with Nero d’Avola

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

Aubergine (eggplant) and Zinfandel

Aubergine (eggplant) and Zinfandel

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.

Asparagus with poached egg, watercress sabayon and Chateau Doisy-Daene Sec

Asparagus with poached egg, watercress sabayon and Chateau Doisy-Daene Sec

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.

Asparagus mousse, peas and oyster with Donkiesbaai Steen

Asparagus mousse, peas and oyster with Donkiesbaai Steen

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.

Asparagus and Rondo (English red)

Asparagus and Rondo (English red)

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

Artichoke barigoule and grüner veltliner

Artichoke barigoule and grüner veltliner

So maybe Austria’s signature grape grüner veltliner is the perfect pairing for tricky-to-match artichokes?

Anchovies and Grenache Gris

Anchovies and Grenache Gris

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.

Anchoïade and manzanilla

Anchoïade and manzanilla

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.

 Italian spinach and ricotta pie with Soave (or Vermentino)

Italian spinach and ricotta pie with Soave (or Vermentino)

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.

How to create a dish to match a wine

How to create a dish to match a wine

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.)

A simple spring supper for 4

A simple spring supper for 4

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.

Clos Michet 2009, Domaine de la Taille aux Loups, Montlouis

Clos Michet 2009, Domaine de la Taille aux Loups, Montlouis

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.

 Wine of the week: Terre di Faiano Primitivo Salento 2015

Wine of the week: Terre di Faiano Primitivo Salento 2015

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.

Eureka! A red wine match for artichokes

Eureka! A red wine match for artichokes

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.

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