Match of the week

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.

Beef stew and oloroso sherry

Beef stew and oloroso sherry

Last week I was at the Copa Jerez, an international wine and food competition where teams pair a 3 course menu with sherry.

Roast chicken and champagne

Roast chicken and champagne

There are so many good things to drink with chicken you might wonder why champagne needs to be among them, particularly if you regard it as a wine you drink with canapés rather than with a meal

Cider and cheddar

Cider and cheddar

Cider and cheese are natural bedfellows.

Steak and sake

Steak and sake

As with most ingredients the best pairing for steak is going to depend on the way it’s cooked. For the most part you're probably going to reach for a red wine but we were in Japan and so the automatic go to was sake.

Okonomiyaki and orange wine

Okonomiyaki and orange wine

Our experience of Japanese wine is so limited in the UK that it came as quite a surprise to find three wines I would never have expected in a small restaurant and natural wine bar called Pasania in Osaka - a pinot noir, a kerner and an orange koshu.

Strawberries and white zinfandel

Strawberries and white zinfandel

I think it’s good to re-examine your prejudices so every so often I go back to wines I don’t much like, white zin being a good example.

Mezze and a Palestinian white wine

Mezze and a Palestinian white wine

Finding a Palestinian restaurant in London is unusual enough but discovering a Palestinian wine to go with the food is beyond all expectations

Smoked mackerel salad and 'ancestral' cider

Smoked mackerel salad and 'ancestral' cider

Last week was mainly about cider - I went to the Cider Salon in Bristol at the weekend where I enjoyed a succession of English ciders with a five course feast prepared by Native Vine.

 Pet nat and pizza

Pet nat and pizza

I’ve been on a road trip visiting wineries in Kent for the last few days but the highlight from a food and wine pairing point of view was the pizza and pet nat combo we had at Westwell, a ‘low intervention’ (aka natural) wine producer just southwest of Canterbury.

Fresh crab and a citrussy spritz

Fresh crab and a citrussy spritz

Even wine writers have to take a day off occasionally, especially if they’re lunching with a teetotaller, but it’s always a bit of a challenge finding a drink that goes as well with food as wine

 Pistachio pesto and solaris

Pistachio pesto and solaris

One of the best food pairing experiences I’ve come across in a winery is the one laid on by Hebron vineyard in West Wales.

Oysters and Provence rosé

Oysters and Provence rosé

I wouldn’t have thought of pairing rosé with oysters to be honest when there are so many good alternatives in the way of white wines but when I was poured a glass of Chateau Galoupet’s Côtes de Provence rosé at Hawksmoor Wood Wharf the other night I found it was a surprisingly good match.

 Cañitas with coffee and licore tostada

Cañitas with coffee and licore tostada

There were so many great seafood pairings with albarino in Rias Baixas last week you might wonder why I would pick anything else as my match of the week but its always been a feature of this slot that the pairing should be a bit of a surprise, as much to me as to you. And this combination at Casa Boveda totally was.

Kohlrabi with fig leaf oil and English sparkling wine

Kohlrabi with fig leaf oil and English sparkling wine

A really fascinating pairing from a wine dinner at Skye Gyngell’s restaurant, Spring in collaboration with Domaine Hugo (and their vegetable supplier Fern Verrow)

Pasta with pork, peas and lemon and bardolino

Pasta with pork, peas and lemon and bardolino

So often a wine takes us through several courses these days (which, of course, is a virtue) but I’m rather arbitrarily spotlighting just one dish on the menu we had at Sonny Stores in Bristol the other night as the ideal match for the Bardolino we were drinking.

Tandoori lamb chops and a Portuguese red

Tandoori lamb chops and a Portuguese red

In our careless way we often refer to Indian food as ‘curry’ especially when talking about wine pairing but the base ingredient and the way it is cooked is just as important as in any other cuisine. And surprisingly the wine match can be quite obvious.

Cheese soufflé and old Sauternes

Cheese soufflé and old Sauternes

OK, OK. It wasn’t just *any* Sauternes but a bottle of 2003 Chateau d’Yquem and not just *any* old cheese soufflé but a Stinking Bishop double baked soufflé with hazelnuts and Comté sauce with pear, apple and ginger chutney

Wood-roasted fish and assyrtiko

Wood-roasted fish and assyrtiko

This might not sound like the most cutting edge pairing - unless you haven’t heard of assyrtiko which is perfectly possible - but bear with as they say …

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