Pairings | Muscat

Cornish Blue and South African Muscat

Cornish Blue and South African Muscat

After last week's Muscat pairing my match of the week oddly involves Muscat again, this time a sweet Muscat Petits Grains from South Africa with the romantic name of Heaven-on-Earth. The grapes are apparently dried on a bed of straw and rooibos tea, a flavour I couldn't really pick up in the wine but it was very attractive nonetheless with an lovely quince and apricot flavour.

Olive oil vanilla and pistachio cake with Muscat de Rivesaltes

Olive oil vanilla and pistachio cake with Muscat de Rivesaltes

It was a tough call to single out the best pairing from my meal at Galoupet in Knightsbridge last week but as I haven't featured a dessert for a while this just shaded it.

Scallops and Muscat

Scallops and Muscat

A clever combination I had last week at a French restaurant called Larcen.

White peaches and Muscat de Frontignan

White peaches and Muscat de Frontignan

Last week we were in the south of France where, bizarrely, it wasn't as hot as it's been in England the past couple of days. One night we went round for supper at a neighbour's who served the simplest and most delicious dessert of white pèches de vigne with chilled Muscat de Frontignan splashed over them.

Galette des Rois and Muscat de St-Jean-de-Minervois

Galette des Rois and Muscat de St-Jean-de-Minervois

As the kids were off home straight after the New Year we jumped the gun by a few days with the last of the seasonal treats, a celebratory galette des rois. Traditionally eaten in France on the 6th of January (Twelfth Night) it celebrates the arrival of the three kings to visit the infant Jesus.

A Bastille Day Lunch

A Bastille Day Lunch

July 14th - le quatorze juillet - is an important public holiday in France. It commemorates the storming of the Bastille in 1789 and the beginning of the French Revolution. Despite its bloodthirsty connotations, it’s now seen as a family day, an opportunity for a picnic or an out-of-doors lunch and provides a good excuse - as if we needed one - for Francophiles to celebrate.

Gooseberry and saffron crème brûlée with a southern French Muscat

Gooseberry and saffron crème brûlée with a southern French Muscat

Once you get a feel for food and wine matching you don’t always need to taste a wine with a dish to know what will work. So it was with a simple, seasonal dessert I had last week at my favourite local, Culinaria.

Wine pairings for pumpkin pie

Wine pairings for pumpkin pie

I have a bit of a problem with pumpkin pie. I'm not a big fan of pumpkin and I don't have a massively sweet tooth which makes the thought of partnering it with a sweet wine a bit of a killer. But I know I'm in a minority and with Thanksgiving coming up on Thursday here are my top picks:

6 perfect pairings for pumpkin pie

6 perfect pairings for pumpkin pie

if you're planning to make a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving here are some great wine and other pairings to serve with it.

What's the best wine to drink with Christmas pudding?

What's the best wine to drink with Christmas pudding?

There is an argument that you don't need anything to drink with the classic Christmas pudding*, especially if you've sloshed brandy all over it but if you're pairing other courses of the Christmas meal you might fancy a small glass of something sweet.

Is red wine a good match for chocolate?

Is red wine a good match for chocolate?

I’ve never totally bought into the idea but a recent wine and chocolate tasting put on by Australian Wine at Australia House in London went halfway to convincing me.

What to drink with cake

What to drink with cake

A recent email from a reader asked me to suggest a wine to go with “a triple coconut cake with a tangy pineapple icing served with fresh fruit salsa that has kiwi, strawberry, madarine oranges, blueberries and fresh pineapple in it”. Quite a challenge (I suggested demi-sec Champagne or a peach-flavoured liqueur topped up with fizz) but it got me thinking that there are many possible matches for cake beyond a cup of tea or coffee, particularly if you're serving it as a dessert.

Top pairings for dry and off-dry Alsace whites

Top pairings for dry and off-dry Alsace whites

A re-run of an old post following a visit to Alsace, updating my recommendations on the best pairings for the region's dry and off-dry white wines.

Clams with rice and Verd Albera

Clams with rice and Verd Albera

What do you drink with tapas? My immediate go-to is sherry but having indulged that whim the other day in the form of a glass of tangy manzanilla amontillada from Lustau’s almacenista collection I unusually followed it up with a glass of white.

A St Patrick's Day supper

A St Patrick's Day supper

It’s a tribute to the sheer joie-de-vivre of the Irish that we regard St Patrick’s Day with much more enthusiasm than St George’s, St Andrew’s or St David’s Days (the patron saints for England, Scotland and Wales for those of you who aren’t into your saints). So your friends are going to be more than pleased to be invited to celebrate it with you.

Best pairings with sticky toffee pudding

Best pairings with sticky toffee pudding

One of the all-time favourite British desserts sticky toffee pudding is super-sweet so will overwhelm most wines you might think of pairing with it so what should you choose?

6 of the best matches for chocolate mousse

6 of the best matches for chocolate mousse

Although chocolate mousse is usually made from dark chocolate it's quite a light dessert as chocolate puddings go because of its airy texture - lighter than petits pots au chocolat, for example.

Saint-Nectaire with Domaine Matassa Cuvée Alexandria 2012, Côtes Catalanes

Saint-Nectaire with Domaine Matassa Cuvée Alexandria 2012, Côtes Catalanes

While orange wines are becoming more common I’m still not sure most people know when and with what to drink them so here’s a pairing that worked really well from a dinner I hosted for Bar Buvette, one of my favourite Bristol haunts, last week.

The tricky task of pairing wine and citrus

This is the perfect time of year for buying oranges and lemons but what effect do they have on the recipes you’re making? Quite a marked one, if truth be told. Lemons in particular have a high level of acidity which will make any wine you drink with them taste sweeter. If that’s counterbalanced in the recipe by sugar as in a lemon tart or lemon meringue pie, for example, the result is a dish that’s really quite hard to match.

Rustle up a Red Nose Pudding!

Rustle up a Red Nose Pudding!

If you’re organising a Red Nose Day tasting tonight here’s a zany idea for a pudding that I devised for a Sainsbury’s magazine feature a couple of years ago when I interviewed TV presenter Phillip Schofield for Comic Relief.

Regula Ysewijn's Bakewell pudding

Regula Ysewijn's Bakewell pudding

A sample recipe from food writer and photographer Regula Ysewijn's Pride and Pudding which I really hope will make you want to buy this brilliant new book.

Honey & Co's chocolate and pistachio cookies

Honey & Co's chocolate and pistachio cookies

I tasted these gorgeously squidgy chocolate cookies last year at the Bath launch of Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich’s baking book which is a must-buy for anyone who loves baking. Or frankly, even if you don’t - you will by the time you've read it.

Apricot brandy pancakes

Apricot brandy pancakes

A simple and impressive recipe to serve for pancake day. Although apricots are obviously at their best in the summer you should be able to find imported ones from countries such as South Africa and Chile.

What type of wine pairs best with Vietnamese food?

What type of wine pairs best with Vietnamese food?

Sunday marked not only the start of the Chinese New Year but the Vietnamese New Year celebrations too - known as Tet. As in China there are certain foods which are traditional to the occasion such as pickled vegetables and candied fruits, none of which are particularly wine-friendly but in general I find Vietnamese food, with its milder heat and fragrant herbal flavours easier to match than Thai (although I haven’t had such extensive experience of doing so).

Five great cheese and wine pairings

Five great cheese and wine pairings

You know how difficult it is to find a good wine and cheese match? Well here are five I’ve recently tasted that hit the spot perfectly. Four were at a tasting at the recent Bristol Wine Fair that was conducted by the food and wine writer Andrea Leeman. The other was a serendipitous one I came across the other night when we were eating with friends.

Sparkling wine and spicy snacks

Sparkling wine and spicy snacks

The idea of drinking sparkling wine with Indian street food might seem crazy but it’s a really good pairing as I was reminded last night when I dined at Masala Zone just off Carnaby Street with Warren Edwardes, the CEO of a company called Wine for Spice.

Roast turbot with wild mushrooms and white Minervois

Roast turbot with wild mushrooms and white Minervois

I spent last week in the Languedoc where we visit quite regularly so there weren’t many new food and wine discoveries to be made but I think the most thought-provoking match was a main course dish of roast turbot with girolles and a bottle of Château Cabezac 'Alice' 2008 from the Minervois I had at a restaurant in Agde called Le Bistrot d’Hervé.

Kibbeh and Domaine des Tourelles red

Kibbeh and Domaine des Tourelles red

I agonised over whether this should be the standout pairing from this marvellous Lebanese meal at Arabica last week but it won by just a whisker.

Bread and butter pudding with apricots and passito di Pantelleria

Bread and butter pudding with apricots and passito di Pantelleria

It’s tough to pick out just one wine match for from the dinner I had at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons last week but I’m going for this sophisticated twist on a classic English pudding from chef Paul Heathcote which was paired with a passito dessert wine from the island of Pantelleria

Apricot soufflé and Coteaux du Layon

Apricot soufflé and Coteaux du Layon

Why don’t more people make souffls these days? I include myself in that. They’re not that difficult, look so impressive and are such a lovely match for a dessert wine.

Which wine to choose for Thanksgiving

Which wine to choose for Thanksgiving

The first thing to bear in mind about Thanksgiving - and for that matter Christmas - is that it’s as much about mood as food. Who you’re inviting, what age they are and how big your party is are factors every bit as important as what you’re eating.

A Middle-Eastern inspired barbecue for eight

A Middle-Eastern inspired barbecue for eight

Here's a barbecue with a difference from my book Food, Wine and Friends. The centrepiece is a spiced, butterflied leg of lamb served with a delicious Turkish-style bulghur wheat salad called Kisir. Finish with grilled nectarines or, if you prefer to have your dessert prepared ahead, some refreshing wine jellies.

A Hallowe'en supper for 4-6

A Hallowe'en supper for 4-6

With Hallowe'en just a couple of weeks away here's a sophisticated supper for those of you who don't have to go out trick or treating . . .

2010 Engelgarten, Domaine Marcel Deiss

2010 Engelgarten, Domaine Marcel Deiss

With wall-to-wall tastngs this week I could easily have picked out at least 50 matches of the week but I’m choosing this delicious Alsace white from Jean-Michel Deiss I tasted at Lea & Sandeman's table at The Bunch tasting because it’s so unusual.

St John and the art of the long lunch

St John and the art of the long lunch

Everyone I know who’s into food has a soft spot for St John. True, it has/has had its ups and downs but It’s easy to forget just how groundbreaking it was when it opened 19 years ago. And how absolutely right its values still are in terms of serving great ingredients simply,

Strawberry tiramisu

This is a slight adaptation of a fantastic recipe from Italian cookery writer Valentina Harris which I first tasted on one of her cookery courses in Tuscany and included in my book Food, Wine and Friends.

Tiramisu and oxidised sweet wines

Tiramisu and oxidised sweet wines

This doesn’t, I admit, sound a particularly tempting proposition so let me explain. By oxidised sweet wines I mean dessert wines which have been deliberately exposed to air through extended barrel ageing, giving them a complex nutty, treacley flavour.

Elderflower fritters and Moscato d'Asti

Elderflower fritters and Moscato d'Asti

I’ve always thought of an elderflower spritzer as the perfect drink to pair with elderflower fritters - until this weekend when I tried them with Moscato d’Asti at the local underground supper club Montpelier Basement.

Duck tagine and Moscatel

Duck tagine and Moscatel

I certainly feel duck’s status as one of the best ingredients to pair with wine has been enhanced by this week’s match of the week

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