Match of the week
Beef tongue and dry oloroso sherry
I’ve been sitting on this pairing (not literally) for a couple of weeks now but thought I’d bring it out for Sherry Week so you can try something like it yourself
It was the winning entry in the UK final of the Copa Jerez which is an international sherry pairing competition for chefs and sommeliers and was won by Gail Ge’er Li and Jaichen Lu of Dinings SW3 restaurant.
What was interesting about the dish was how homely it was - rich, warming and perfect for this time of year. Both the tongue and the radish had been braised in an umami-rich stock to which amontillado sherry had been added - the claypot rice had been cooked in the same stock. There were also some pickled girolles in the dish and some shredded ginger and shiso leaf which added a refreshing lift.
The intensely nutty, dry sherry the winning pair chose was the ‘La Cigarrera’ Palomino oloroso from Bodegas La Cigarrera, a small family-owned bodega in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. You can buy it from terrawines.co.uk for £16.50
Both the other finalists partnered their main courses with dry oloroso - Restaurant Story with a dish of roast pigeon and a roasted artichoke purée and the team from Elchies Brasserie on the Macallan estate with a Speyside Wellington where the beef was cured in oloroso then smoked over Macallan sherry cask shavings.
Dry oloroso is a much underrated style IMO (you can see some more pairings here) but one well worth exploring with food.
I was a judge at the Copa Jerez final which took place this year at Trivet in London
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