Match of the week

Match of the week

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.

Fillet of beef with 2009 Pio Cesare Barolo

Fillet of beef with 2009 Pio Cesare Barolo

Beef and red wine is a blindingly obvious match but it gets more interesting once you think about the cut and the way that it's cooked.

Gin and tonic with peppered smoked mackerel

Gin and tonic with peppered smoked mackerel

Gin isn’t just an aperitif, it’s also a surprisingly good match for food as I’ve already suggested in this post. Last week I discovered yet another way to enjoy it - with peppered smoked mackerel.

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

Saint-Nectaire with Domaine Matassa Cuvée Alexandria 2012, Côtes Catalanes

Saint-Nectaire with Domaine Matassa Cuvée Alexandria 2012, Côtes Catalanes

While orange wines are becoming more common I’m still not sure most people know when and with what to drink them so here’s a pairing that worked really well from a dinner I hosted for Bar Buvette, one of my favourite Bristol haunts, last week.

Pike and crayfish pithivier with white burgundy

Pike and crayfish pithivier with white burgundy

If you’re looking for a match for a serious white burgundy you couldn’t do better than this elaborate pike and crayfish pie or tourte de brochet, bisque écrevisse as they billed it at the Château de Montreuil last week.

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?

Lotus root stir-fry and chrysanthemum tea

Lotus root stir-fry and chrysanthemum tea

It seems invidious to pick out just one wine pairing from my visit to the Okanagan valley last week (of which more in due course) so I’m going for the first drink I had on my arrival: chrysanthemum tea at a brilliant Chinese restaurant called Chef Tony in Richmond, the town just next door to Vancouver.

Dassai 50% unfiltered sake with lamb cutlets with Korean spices

Dassai 50% unfiltered sake with lamb cutlets with Korean spices

I imagine you all know how well sake works with sashimi but it came as quite a surprise to me - wagyu aside - how well it could handle red meat and spice

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.

Mango shrikhand with Floris mango beer

Mango shrikhand with Floris mango beer

Last week I did another pop-up with Bristol chef Romy Gill - this time at the Butlers Arms in Sutton Coldfield which is owned by Twitter friend Chris Giles and his wife Paula.

Root beer and fried chicken and waffles

Root beer and fried chicken and waffles

I’m always on the lookout for interesting matches with alcohol-free drinks and this just inched it over a really good cider pairing at the Hang Fire Southern Kitchen yesterday.

Manzanilla sherry and sushi

Manzanilla sherry and sushi

Sushi is possibly not the first kind of food you’d think of pairing with wine but turns out it’s surprisingly good with sherry.

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?

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