Match of the week |  Three surprisingly good pairings for sparkling wine

Match of the week

Three surprisingly good pairings for sparkling wine

Last week I had three dishes that went unexpectedly well with sparkling wine - for slightly different reasons:

The first was a food and wine pairing exercise at Denbies Vineyard Hotel in Surrey where they paired their Cubitt blanc de noirs with baguette and Marmite butter which I can strongly recommend to Marmite addicts. Why did it work? The combination of the umami in the Marmite and the toasty fizz (which came from the 2013 vintage).

Then I had the most incredible dish of macaroni cacio e pepe (a cheese and pepper sauce) with deep-fried crispy chicken wings at Wild Honey St James. This was perhaps more predictable match as deep-fried foods generally go with fizz but the cheese added an extra dimension too. The wine was another English fizz - the Westwell Estate Pelegrin Brut.

And finally - this was an exceptionally good week, wasn’t it? - a cheese course at a game dinner at the Pony & Trap in Chew Magna which was essentially a giant gougère stuffed with Baron Bigod, a British Brie-type cheese with gooseberry purée and walnuts with an Etienne Fort Crémant de Limoux from Vinetrail who supplied the wines and devised the pairings. This was really quite bold as we’d just been drinking a substantial Rhône red - the Fréderic Agneray Mitan with the main course of pigeon. It was the pastry of the gougère - also crisp and cheesy - that made the match sing.

Champagne would, of course, have worked equally well with these dishes.

I ate as a guest of Denbies Vineyard Hotel and the Pony & Trap. Wild Honey St James gave me a complimentary glass of the Westwell though I paid for the rest of the meal.

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