Match of the week
I’m not sure how many of you actually eat grouse - I’m not sure I would if I didn’t have a chef friend who loves to cook it. As a result I get to have a grouse dinner every year and this year’s was last week.
'Hmmm, steak and red wine - nothing particularly original about that' you might be thinking but bear with, as they say.
It’s not often that food and drink that goes together perfectly turns up at exactly the same time but serendipitously I was sent a selection of delicious meads last week just as my order of blue cheese from The Courtyard Dairy arrived.
Who would have thought a few years ago that it would be as easy to drink local wine in southern England as it is over the channel in northern France? (Well, almost. I’m not counting Burgundy!)
Food is always a secondary consideration when you’re enjoying a really great bottle of wine but you don’t want anything to detract from it either.
I didn’t have plans to go to Greece this year but staying in the UK for the summer has given me itchy feet so I’m cooking my way round the Med instead.
After months of lockdown it’s been such a pleasure to return to favourite restaurants like Elliott and Tessa Lidstone’s Box-E and I couldn’t have had a more perfect day to enjoy it. The food too - especially this quintessentially summery dish of courgettes, tomatoes and basil with the lightest, fluffiest polenta - was just perfect for sitting outside on a hot day.
Monkfish is regularly referenced as a meaty fish you can pair with red wine, especially when it’s wrapped in pancetta but suppose you serve it with salsa verde instead as they did at the Seahorse al Mare pop-up in Dartmouth last week?
I can’t actually believe I’ve never tried it before but I made some ceviche as part of a Zoom masterclass organised by the Bristol Food Union, a collaboration of local restaurateurs and food producers to raise money for those who have been most affected by the COVID 19 crisis.
In some cases it doesn’t matter what form an ingredient takes, if it’s present in a dish it dominates the match. So Claire Thomson of 5 o’clock apron’s innovative beef cheek and black rice arancini which she brought to a (very soggy) outdoor picnic last week hosted outside by wine importer Carte Blanche was just as good a pairing with a grenache as braised beef cheek would have been. In fact the dark nutty rice added an extra dimension which made it even more interesting.
Expensive Franciacorta might not be the first wine you’d think of drinking with a pizza but bear with, as they say … And not just because it’s Italian.
You can tell how much I love sherry from the fact that this is the second week running a food pairing involving sherry has been my match of the week.
There’s still a tendency to think of sherry as an aperitif or just for drinking with tapas but it can go really well with a more substantial dish as I was reminded this week.
Oooofff, Korean food is spicy! Even when I toned down the gochujang chilli paste in the meatballs I made on Saturday night they were a challenge for most of the wines I tried with them (a characterful Babylonstoren rosé powered through). But the best match by far was a gin and tonic made from Romy's Edition Mango, Ginger and Lime gin, a collaboration between Bristol-based Six O’Clock Gin and Indian food writer Romy Gill.
I’ve never known quite what wine to pair with cacio e pepe, the fashionable pasta dish that’s just based on cheese (usually pecorino) and cracked pepper.
I’m not normally someone who craves a ‘dirty burger’ but when I was sent a couple in a meat delivery from my mate Northern Irish butcher Pete Hannan I thought I’d go the full hog with it.
Spaghetti carbonara is one of my favourite pasta recipes so it seemed a brilliant idea to alleviate the boredom of lockdown by having a ‘carbonara night’ with some friends on Zoom.
After a lively discussion about what to drink with curry on my #weekendwinematching slot it was good to discover a new angle on pairing wine with Indian food.
This week’s match of the week doesn’t come as a big surprise but it’s sometimes good to be reminded of tried and tested pairings rather than ones that come totally out of the blue.
Those of you who visit the site regularly will know that I’m a great advocate of drinking white wine with cheese and a bit of a sceptic about how well red wine pairs with it.