Match of the week

Ox cheek lasagne and zinfandel

Ox cheek lasagne and zinfandel

It’s always a treat going round to my friends Stephen and Judy for supper.

White onion and cheddar tart and Mayacamas chardonnay

White onion and cheddar tart and Mayacamas chardonnay

I was really spoilt for choice with wine pairings at Claridges last week. (It’s not often I get to write a sentence like that …)

Bacchus with asparagus with gnocchi and wild garlic pesto

Bacchus with asparagus with gnocchi and wild garlic pesto

With the home grown asparagus season kicking off and wild garlic in full bloom you may well be thinking of combining the two as my friend TV presenter Andy Clarke did this weekend when a group of us stayed at Wraxall vineyard in Somerset.

Baba with rum

Baba with rum

Yes, you did read that right. Baba with rum not rum baba.

Roast veal and Gevrey-Chambertin

Roast veal and Gevrey-Chambertin

My general rule is not to buy burgundy or other expensive wines on a wine list because the mark-ups are just too painful but celebrating a friend’s big birthday at Bouchon Racine in London the other day it proved too hard to resist.

Shellfish, citrus and tequila

Shellfish, citrus and tequila

I went to an absolutely brilliant citrus dinner last week at Toklas in London, at which almost any one of the pairings could have been my match of the week.

Lasagna and Georgian saperavi

Lasagna and Georgian saperavi

I’m beginning to think lasagna or lasagne is one of the perfect dishes to pair with a good red wine - it seems to go with practically every bottle you throw at it (metaphorically speaking).

Fish stew and an oaked Valencian white wine

Fish stew and an oaked Valencian white wine

As those of you who follow me on instagram will know I’ve been in Valencia for the past two weeks, trying to improve my Spanish which hasn’t left a great deal of time for considered food and wine pairing but this was a great match at a restaurant called Rausell in the city centre.

Fideuá and Bobal

Fideuá and Bobal

You might know Valencia best for paella but in fact it has another paella-like dish called fideuá pronounced fi-de-wah which is made with pasta rather than rice.

Sausage rolls and orange chardonnay

Sausage rolls and orange chardonnay

I admit orange wine is the last pairing I would have thought of with a sausage roll. Especially a high-end orange wine like Radikon’s.

Bagna Cauda and Arneis

Bagna Cauda and Arneis

I could have chosen any one of the pairings at the ‘An A to Z di Vini Divini’ wine dinner at Bocca di Lupo last week as my match of the week but this is one of the most useful ones as bagna cauda, an anchovy, garlic and olive oil dip with raw vegetables isn’t the easiest dish to pair.

Thai food and off-dry German riesling

Thai food and off-dry German riesling

This is not the first time, I know, that I’ve suggested Thai food with riesling but it was such a standout pairing at Kolae last week I felt I should remind you of it.

Venison and amarone

Venison and amarone

Believe it or not this is the 800th match of the week since I first started doing them in 2006 despite leaving the odd week out.

Lettuce with smoked fish and vermouth sauce paired with vermouth

Lettuce with smoked fish and vermouth sauce paired with vermouth

I hesitated to make this astounding drink pairing which I had at Mauro Colagreco’s new restaurant at Raffles in London recently my match of the week because I it would be really hard to replicate but I’m sure would fascinate the chefs, sommeliers and other food and drink professionals among you.

Tiramisu and espresso martini

Tiramisu and espresso martini

I’ve often struggled to find a wine to pair with tiramisu.

Parmesan custard and Soave

Parmesan custard and Soave

Parmesan or parmigiano reggiano is one of the most wine-friendly of cheeses but on its own normally pairs best with an Italian red. But in this fabled incarnation of an unctuously rich creamy custard by chef Rowley Leigh, white wine makes the better pairing

Red cabbage and shiraz

Red cabbage and shiraz

You might not think red cabbage was a sufficiently important part of a meal to dictate a wine pairing but it’s one of those rare sides that really makes a difference to the wine you choose (ratatouille being another).

Salmon, apple, dill and cider

Salmon, apple, dill and cider

You’d think having come to Norway to judge the World Cheese Awards my pairing this week would involve cheese but we were tasting it in a competitive environment rather then enjoying it as part of a meal. And by the time we’d tasted 45 of them we were pretty well cheesed out.

Red mullet and saffron risotto with Valtellina

Red mullet and saffron risotto with Valtellina

You might instinctively think of pairing a fish-based risotto with white wine but there are two factors that make this one, which I had at a lunch to celebrate the 15th anniversary of The Seahorse restaurant in Dartmouth, a good match for a red.

Poached turbot with champagne

Poached turbot with champagne

Of all the wine matches I enjoyed last week - and it was an unusually good week for food and drink pairings - I’m going for this dish of poached turbot with champagne - not because it was startlingly original but simply so brilliantly executed.

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