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Match of the week

Match of the week

Coffee and cardamom buns

Coffee and cardamom buns

For a long time I’ve resisted the idea of a Nespresso machine but then a friend said she had a spare to get rid of and I’ve succumbed. Why did I wait so long? No sooner does the thought enter your mind that you might like a coffee than you can gratify it. Literally in seconds.

Lobster macaroni cheese and Ruinart champagne

Lobster macaroni cheese and Ruinart champagne

When I flicked through the pictures I’d taken of the wines I’d drunk over Christmas and the New Year I realised there was a LOT of champagne. Partly because I’d been given or shared some rather nice bottles but equally because champagne goes with practically everything from oysters to shepherds pie (as the novelist Jeffrey Archer famously established).

Herring and aquavit

Herring and aquavit

This week’s match of the week - herring and aquavit - was paired for me - appropriately enough - by the restaurant Aquavit which has just opened an outpost in London.

Cannelloni and Refosco

Cannelloni and Refosco

When did you last see cannelloni on a menu? It was one of my favourite dishes when I was growing up then it seemed to vanish into the mists of time so it’s good to see it back at the boys from the Clove Club’s new restaurant Luca.

Fish tacos and Clare Valley riesling

Fish tacos and Clare Valley riesling

Last week I pushed the envelope a bit further with wine and spice pairing with a Wine and Chilli dinner at The Spicery in Bristol

Practically every barbecued meat you can think of and an amazing Aussie grenache

Practically every barbecued meat you can think of and an amazing Aussie grenache

Normally my matches of the week are quite specific - a dish and a drink - but it’s always great to find a wine that sails through everything on the table as this gorgeous grenache did at London’s latest barbecue restaurant Temper last week.

Seabass crudo, Felsina olive oil and Meriggio sauvignon blanc

Seabass crudo, Felsina olive oil and Meriggio sauvignon blanc

Given that I’m not a massive sauvignon fan it might surprise you that it features as my match of the week for the second successive week but it’s a question of quality. With the right dish good sauvignon is a joy.

Wigmore cheese and 13 year old Pouilly Fumé

Wigmore cheese and 13 year old Pouilly Fumé

It’s still not widely recognised that white wines have the capacity to age, particularly wines that are noted for their freshness and bright acidity so it was fascinating to try a range of older wines from the Centre-Loire yesterday with a range of different cheeses.

Miso-marinated pork belly and Karasi Sour cocktail

Miso-marinated pork belly and Karasi Sour cocktail

Sometimes I wonder what pork belly doesn’t pair with. It seems to be delicious with so many drinks but even so It’s always intriguing to find a new match.

Pizzocheri and Valtellina

Pizzocheri and Valtellina

A slightly obscure pairing this week from the Lombardy region of Italy, the focus for an absolutely brilliant pop-up supper I went to at Wild Artichokes in Kingsbridge last Friday.

Paté en croute and mature Saint Estèphe

Paté en croute and mature Saint Estèphe

Having spent two days in the company of the most high profile advocates of the art of food and wine pairing in France, the Gardinier brothers of Taillevent, I have more outstanding wine matches than I know what to do with this week

Pasta with truffles and chardonnay

Pasta with truffles and chardonnay

Although chardonnay is grown practically everywhere that grows grapes (with notable exceptions such as Bordeaux) it’s not a variety you may associate with Italy. But the country produces some fine examples and Isole e Olena’s Collezione Privata is one.

Panko-fried yellowtail with truffle honey and sparkling sake

Panko-fried yellowtail with truffle honey and sparkling sake

I honestly didn't know which dish to pick out of this extraordinary pop-up at The Dead Doll’s House Islington last week, hosted by wine importer Bibendum PLB who now also bring in a wide range of sakes. So I’m going for this one because it was the first and one of the simplest.

Matcha cheesecake and shiso icecream with Smith Teamaker Astoriamaro ‘Digesteaf’

Matcha cheesecake and shiso icecream with Smith Teamaker Astoriamaro ‘Digesteaf’

It might seem perverse to pick a tea pairing as my match of the week after four days in wine country and one of the leading beer cities of the US but this combination was so unexpected and so brilliant I had to single it out.

Sauvignon-semillon and seared salmon carpaccio

Sauvignon-semillon and seared salmon carpaccio

Some weeks are tougher than others when it comes to picking my match of the week. Last week which included an excellent lunch with Carolyn Martin of Creation Wines at Sexy Fish was one.

Fried sprats and grower champagne

Fried sprats and grower champagne

A reminder this week of just what a perfect match champagne and fried fish is - with a twist. The fish was one of the cheapest of catches, the humble sprat.

Gazpacho, oak-smoked tomatoes and smoked vodka

Gazpacho, oak-smoked tomatoes and smoked vodka

I love it when a restaurant lays on an imaginative drink pairing and this was a terrific one from Ben Cooke at Little Gloster just outside Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

Chicken vol-au-vents and La Crema chardonnay

Chicken vol-au-vents and La Crema chardonnay

I don’t know why a group of us got swept up by a bout of nostalgia for vol-au-vents on Twitter last week but it became so irresistible my friend Kate and her lodger Mike felt compelled to rustle up a batch to accompany an informal wine tasting the other night.

Grilled ox tongue with radishes and Mr Thirsty vin de soif

Grilled ox tongue with radishes and Mr Thirsty vin de soif

As soon as I heard Will Lander of The Quality Chop House and Portland had opened a new restaurant, Clipstone, I couldn’t wait to check it out - and I wasn’t disappointed.

Prawn tagliolini and Poggio San Polo Rosso di Montalcino

Prawn tagliolini and Poggio San Polo Rosso di Montalcino

If there’s one thing you might think you could be sure of it would be that you should drink white wine with a seafood pasta dish like this. But, you know what? It was this silkily delicious red that went swimmingly.

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