Match of the week

Roast beef sandwich and a Virgin Mary

Roast beef sandwich and a Virgin Mary

I’ve got a bit obsessed with Virgin Marys (alcohol-free Bloody Marys) over the last few days.

Anchovies and alvarinho

Anchovies and alvarinho

If you don’t like fish don’t go to Olhao! Restaurants in this bustling fishing port on the Algarve serve almost nothing else which is fine with me but less good for people, like my friend J, who has a real phobia about fishbones.

Leeks and Skyborry perry

Leeks and Skyborry perry

One of the many appealing things about Birch in Bristol is that they have an extensive list of artisanal ciders. Which is maybe not so surprising given that they are intending to sell the restaurant and concentrate on making cider themselves.

Vignole and Friulano

Vignole and Friulano

As those of you who follow me on instagram (@food_writer) will know I’ve been in Venice for the past few days - and if I could would still be there!

Langoustine ravioli and Errazuriz Las Pizarras chardonnay

Langoustine ravioli and Errazuriz Las Pizarras chardonnay

Last Thursday’s dinner to celebrate Decanter’s 2018 Man of the Year, Eduardo Chadwick of Viña Errazuriz was a treat - a line-up of the winery’s very best wines. It was obviously sound thinking to pair two of his top reds, the Don Maximiliano Founder’s Reserve 2014 and Kai 2005 with fillet of beef but I thought the more intriguing match was the first course of langoustine ravioli with their 2015 Las Pizarras chardonnay.

Spinach and ricotta gnudi and Pecorino

Spinach and ricotta gnudi and Pecorino

“Tender little dumplings, as fragile as a pasta filling” is how Diana Henry describes gnudi in her fabulous new book How to Eat a Peach. (The word, which is pronounced new-dee means naked)

2009 Pessac-Léognan and a cheeseburger

2009 Pessac-Léognan and a cheeseburger

Although I’ve visited posh St James’s wine club 67 Pall Mall several times for tastings I hadn't ever had lunch there until last week. I don’t know quite what I expected - perhaps the sort of roast and overcooked veg you’d find in a gentleman’s club but certainly not a rare burger in an airy brioche bun with perfectly cooked onion rings on the side.

Cauliflower popcorn and a Seedlip and pineapple cocktail

Cauliflower popcorn and a Seedlip and pineapple cocktail

Most pairings focus on alcoholic drinks but it’s equally intriguing to see how a similar synergy can be achieved with an alcohol-free one.

Lamb biryani and grand cru gewurztraminer

Lamb biryani and grand cru gewurztraminer

Sometimes it’s worth revisiting your prejudices. I’ve never been a huge fan of gewürztraminer with Indian food although it’s an established pairing. It always seems to me slightly jarring, especially with tomato-based curry sauces. But this week I changed my mind.

Steak with an Old Fashioned

Steak with an Old Fashioned

Red wine is such an established go to with steak that it’s hard to consider anything else as a pairing but it struck me this week after a few days tasting rum with Philippines producer Don Papa (yes, it’s a hard life … ) that dark rum might also be an interesting match.

Pork and pistachio terrine and old vine Brouilly

Pork and pistachio terrine and old vine Brouilly

This isn’t the first time I’ve remarked how well Beaujolais pairs with a terrine but sometimes it’s worth being reminded what really, really works. And both were particularly good in this case - as indeed you’d expect at one of London’s best wine bars, Noble Rot.

Choucroute and Alsace riesling

Choucroute and Alsace riesling

I do love a tried and tested terroir-based wine match and there’s nothing better to pair with a dish of choucroute (almost Alsace’s national dish*) than a glass of the local riesling

Hake with cream and anchovy sauce and cava

Hake with cream and anchovy sauce and cava

It’s a pretty safe bet that if you have a wine-based sauce that an accompanying glass of the same type of wine will pair well with it so I was confident of ordering a glass of cava to go with a hake dish cooked with a cream, cava and anchovy sauce last week.

Flying fish cutters and Banks beer

Flying fish cutters and Banks beer

A week without wine might sound like hell for wine lovers but to be honest in Barbados why would you drink anything else? Wine is expensive and there’s not much choice whereas beer is cheap and ubiquitous.

Middle eastern-style lamb with grilled vegetables and a natural red wine

Middle eastern-style lamb with grilled vegetables and a natural red wine

We all know that roast lamb is a great pairing with red wines but the assumption is often that it’s prepared in a classic French way so it was interesting to note over the weekend that if you give it a middle-eastern spin exactly the same applies

Courgette, seed and curry leaf cake and dry German riesling

Courgette, seed and curry leaf cake and dry German riesling

The more I taste authentic Indian food the less I think it causes problems for wine. A group of us cooked up a whole load of recipes on Saturday night including this savoury cake called handvo from Anjum Anand’s I love India.

My best wine (and other) pairings of 2017

My best wine (and other) pairings of 2017

Those of you who visit the site regularly will be aware I post a regular match of the week - the most interesting wine - or other drink - pairing I’ve come across in the past 7 days.

Christmas pudding and cognac

Christmas pudding and cognac

Sometimes the simplest pairings elude you. If you flambé a Christmas pudding with brandy why on earth shouldn’t you drink brandy - or rather cognac - with it too?

Alcester Gold cheese and truffle honey and Sainte-Croix-du-Mont

Alcester Gold cheese and truffle honey and Sainte-Croix-du-Mont

Despite the fact that white and sweet wines go just as well with cheese as red wine the idea persists that red is the better pairing

Smoked cods roe and Metissage

Smoked cods roe and Metissage

This week’s pairing is as much about the wine as the dish though the two went exceptionally well together.

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