Match of the week |  Smoked eel and potato soup with dry Moscatel

Match of the week

Smoked eel and potato soup with dry Moscatel

I could have picked any number of pairings from the really inspiring wine dinner hosted by Bodegas Bentomiz at Gambas tapas bar in Bristol last week but this marginally inched it.

It was a dish called Gazpachuelo which comes from Malaga - the same region as the wine - and is a traditional fisherman’s soup made with mayonnaise. (You can see it being made here)

This version was served at room temperature with smoked eel potato and scallop roe and was unctuously creamy, and slightly smokey from the eel.

With it the restaurant paired a dry, almost sherry like 2019 moscatel called Ariyanas or Ariyanas Seco Sobre Lias Finos to give it its full name that handled all the flavours perfectly. The glass was topped by a tortita di camarones, a crisp wafer with tiny shrimps which again is one of the specialities of the region - and of the restaurant.

Another terrific pairing was a final course of avocado sorbet, yoghurt and olive oil with the bodega’s best known wine, Ariyanas Naturalmente Dulce, a sweet moscatel that tasted of gloriously ripe apricots with the almost savoury dessert.

You don’t often come across such carefully thought out and imaginative pairings which included dishes that are not normally on offer at the restaurant but it really pays dividends, presenting a satisfying challenge for the kitchen and a new experience for restaurant regulars as well as showing off the wines to best effect.

Gambas is at Unit 12 in Cargo 2, Wapping Wharf, Bristol. You can buy the wines from them direct if you live in Bristol or via Indigo Wines if you're in the UK wine trade. The Ariyanas Seco is £31.90 and the Naturalmente Dulce £5.90 a glass.

I attended the dinner as a guest of Gambas and Bodegas Bentomiz

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