Matching Food & Wine by Michel Roux Jr
You’d think, wouldn’t you, that most chefs would be pretty good at food and wine matching, not least French chefs. Well, you’d be wrong! I’m constantly shocked by the number of chefs who haven’t the faintest idea what wine goes best with their recipes or indeed, who drink wine at all. (Some of them possibly because they’ve, er hem, enjoyed it a bit too much in the past . . . )
Well Michel Roux of London’s Le Gavroche isn’t one of them. He loves food (though frustratingly has the physique of a marathon runner - which is exactly what he is). He loves wine. And he knows how to combine the two in an exceptionally creative way.
This is basically a recipe book with some great wine suggestions. And not just classic French ones either. M. Roux isn’t averse to an Australian Shiraz, a warm sake or even a bottle of Newcastle Brown ale. He also caters for fine wine lovers who have a special bottle to show off so you’ll know what to cook when it’s time to open your Chateau Latour 1982.
For me, however, the most interesting section of the book is the section on cheese which contains some sound advice on matching - or rather not matching - red wine and cheese and some imaginative ideas for cheese courses including this elegant dish of Roquefort-stuffed pears.
Hot Pears with Roquefort and WalnutsPears, like apples, go well with lots of cheeses because of their sweet and sour taste. This recipe could be eaten as a starter or a cheese course. Double the quantities given if serving as a starter.
2 ripe pears, William or Passe-Crassane
120g Roquefort cheese, crumbled into pieces
60g walnuts, roughly chopped
1 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tbsp tawny port
1 spring onion, sliced
Salt and pepper
Take the pears and cut in half lengthways. Remove the seeds and core then carefully scoop out some of the flesh without splitting the skin. This should leave you with four ‘boats’.
Roughly chop the pear flesh and add to the crumbled cheese with the walnuts. Fold in the creme fraiche, port, spring onion and seasoning. Fill the ‘boats’ and bake for 15 minutes at 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Put under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes to brown.
Michel suggests a Bonnezeaux, a sweet old oloroso sherry or a tawny port.
“Bonnezeaux is a sweet Loire Valley wine made from the chenin grape. It’s velvety and amber when aged with a good amount of residual acidity and, served lightly chilled, makes a good partner for blue cheese and walnuts. A medium-sweet old Oloroso would also be a good match as is the blue cheese stalwart - Tawny Port.
For more about Le Gavroche visit www.le-gavroche.co.uk
Image © Silvano Rebai - Fotolia.com
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