Pairings | Smoked
An unusually complicated recipe for this site but one which should be absolutely worth the effort. It comes from Phil Howard's fantastic The Square: The Cookbook volume 1 which I suspect is already well-thumbed in many restaurant kitchens.
Smoked salmon is most commonly associated with champagne but in fact it goes with many other wines as well as with beer, whisky and vodka.
I love it when a restaurant lays on an imaginative drink pairing and this was a terrific one from Ben Cooke at Little Gloster just outside Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
A fresh, simple, clever recipe for two from one of the most charming of last year's cookery books, Rosie Birkett's A Lot on her Plate
Smoked eel is not so difficult to find but most retailers sell it vacuum packed*: the problem with this technique, whilst keeping the fish admirably, is that it tends to express the oil from the meat. It is worth drying the fillets on kitchen paper before slicing. Most people don’t peel young baby carrots: I prefer to because I like to see them look smooth and glossy but I see the point of those who don’t.
In the run-up Christmas there’s not much time for time-consuming dinner parties so this tasting and light supper is a fun and indulgent way to entertain good friends. Ask each of them to bring a chilled* bottle of bubbly - Champagne or otherwise - provide a couple of your own, cover up the bottles and taste them ‘blind’. Great fun for a start to see who can spot the ‘real’ Champagne (don’t worry if you can’t - many professionals are fooled by these kind of exercises) and a delicious way to get into festive mood.
Vodka may be primarily thought of as a base for cocktails but in vodka-loving countries like Russia and Poland it’s always accompanied by food. Basically anything smoked, pickled or cured works well. Here are some ideas:
I’ve been a bit of a sceptic in the past about pairing food with whisky. Not that there aren’t some great combinations but I find it hard to sustain for more than one dish.
I was overwhelmed with good wine pairings last week but given that quite a few were similar to ones I’ve written about before I’m making this my star match.
This week’s match is not mine but fellow wine writer Margaret Rand’s who also writes for Decanter. She recently went to Hungary at the invitation of AXA Millésimes who ownes the Tokaji producer Disznókö - as well as Château Suiduiraut - for what must be the most extraordinary wine dinner ever conceived: a Chinese meal, paired with sweet wine cooked by two Bordeaux-based chefs Tommy and Andy Shan of Au Bonheur du Palais, (which happens to be AXA proprietor Christian Seely’s favourite restaurant in the city).
We may have got rid of the old convention of white wine with fish and red wine with meat but you’d still expect to drink a light wine with a starter and a more robust wine with your main course, non? Well not when it’s tea-smoked duck as I discovered at a great meal at one of our local Bristol restaurants, Riverstation in Bristol last week.
The other day I found myself at a meeting just round the corner from the newly opened Princess Victoria in Shepherds Bush in West London and popped in for lunch. It’s a splendid old building with a wonderfully baroque ceiling, one of the best I’ve ever seen in a pub.
Gewürztraminer is a tricky wine to match, one that one usually falls back on recommending with oriental food, so it’s always good to come across something that’s outside the Asian register.
I seem to be spending most of my time dining with bloggers at the moment. On Sunday it was the Blaggers Banquet, next week an Umami night at Ms Marmite Lover’s underground restaurant and last Monday Dine with Dos Hermanos a monthly (or so) feast organised by Simon Majumdar and his brother Robin.
Gin isn’t just an aperitif, it’s also a surprisingly good match for food as I’ve already suggested in this post. Last week I discovered yet another way to enjoy it - with peppered smoked mackerel.
If you're planning ahead for Easter weekend and don't fancy doing the traditional big Easter Day lunch how about a brunch instead? Here's my menu for this time of year ...
If you can't face the thought of haggis on Burns' Night how about a warming bowl of deliciously creamy cullen skink - the Scots' answer to chowder?
If you were thinking of a wine pairing for risotto you’d probably reach for an Italian white such as a Pinot Grigio but Spain’s famous Galician white Albarino works equally well as I discovered the other day.
A good obscure pairing to kick off the week from the newly opened Vinoteca wine bar at Seymour Place.
Every so often someone trumpets a mead revival but it never quite seems to happen, probably because there’s not enough of it about yet.
As those of you who follow our Facebook page may have spotted I was in France last week so you might expect a pairing with a wine from Languedoc. But no: the outstanding match, as with the previous week, was with a beer - and a rather unusual one at that . . .
This is one of those serendipitous pairings you sometimes stumble across when you rustle up a scratch meal and pair it with an open bottle in the fridge.
My problem this week is that I have a terrific wine pairing but I can't tell you about it because it's the result of a tasting I was running for Decanter magazine. So you'll have to hang on till December for that. Sorry.
This pretty dish was served the other night at what is still our favourite Bristol restaurant, Culinaria, even if we now live over the other side of town. It provided everything you want from a starter - light, appealing, appetite-stimulating.
Q Are there not some classic wines, perhaps Chateauneuf-du-Pape that are typically recommended with smoky meats? I ask this as here in Texas we are big grillers and pit smokers of meat, meat, meat! I'm thinking there truly are wines that are good with smoked meats and wonder if you might recommend a couple.
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.
Manzanilla, as you probably know, is a fino sherry made in the port of Sanlucar de Barrameda rather than in the cities of Jerez or Puerto de Santa Maria which gives it its characteristic salty tang.
One of the main events at the Dartmouth Food Festival this weekend was a dinner at Mitch Tonks Seahorse restaurant cooked by London chef Mark Hix. The unusual factor though was that every dish was matched with a cocktail.
Winemakers like to tell you that their wines go with everything but in the case of Grüner Veltliner, Austria’s best known white wine, it’s true.
Despite the sun it's been unseasonably cold recently so here's a light lunch to enjoy with a couple of friends that has a touch of spring about it but still includes a warming stew.
You may think tasting wine sounds arduous but a major wine and food tasting, I assure you, is a much greater assault on the system as I was reminded the other day when Victoria Moore of The Guardian and I ran 14 Pinot Gris through their paces with foods that ranged from smoked eel to chicken tikka masala. Neither of us was able to eat much for several days.
The last two days have been quite, quite beautiful, starting mistily, basking midday in an unseasonally warm sun and finishing with an extended dusk that announces that spring is finally here. I immediately want to eat lighter meals: the new season’s vegetables are not quite in yet but I can at least plan for summer and that means a spring clean of the cellar, pushing the full bodied reds to the back and assessing what whites, lighter reds and rosés I still have lurking in the racks.
Whatever you get up to on Valentine’s night (and truly, I’d rather not know) my guess is you’ve got better things to do than spend it slaving over a hot stove. So this is an unashamed cheat’s menu for you to romance your loved one with the absolute minimum of effort. Needless to say, buy only the very best ingredients.
As I mentioned in my last post our last lunch of the Oregon trip was at Cristom where sales director (no less!) John D'Anna cooked us a great meal. Here's how he did it and - where I have a link to them - the recipes he used. Try it!
Although we wine writers like to think we might be able to encourage you to be more adventurous in your wine choices this Christmas the truth is you’re probably going to stick to the wines you're familiar with.
Following my trip to Islay a while ago I drew up some pairings for its extraordinary peaty whiskies. I’m not a great one for whisky dinners but I like the idea of serving tapa-sized dishes with a dram.
I realised the other day that there’s a marked French bias to this site. Partly because I spend a fair bit of time in France but also, I have to admit, because I do enjoy drinking French wine. So here, in an attempt to redress the balance and to celebrate Australia Day is an unusual but highly successful Aussie pairing.
Although there are obviously differences between the two types of beer, dark stouts and porters tend to match similar types of food. Here are my top matches ...
Having spent five days in Germany this week I’ve been thinking a lot about riesling and food. And my conclusion is that the heavy focus on Chinese, Thai and Indian food may be doing German wine a disservice
One of the reasons people most appreciate independent wine merchants is that they can talk to them about the kind of wine that will suit the meals or occasions they're planning.
With the sun shining and the World Cup just a week away what could be better than a South African-style braai. Let alone one that involves a pie . . .
The idea of Thanksgivukkah - a once-in-a-lifetime simultaneous celebration of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah - has really caught on. Caterer Elly Curshen of Bristol's Pear Café comes up with her perfect starter.
I’ve just spent the past two days at What Food What Wine? tasting wine alongside dishes as disparate as smoked salmon and apple crumble, Stilton and steak and lasagne and lamb - a bit of an assault on the palate (and stomach!) but one of the best ways to work out what wine really works with your favourite recipes
It’s hard to avoid the obvious on St Paddy’s Day. Guinness, Bailey’s and Irish whiskey are the usual suspects but if none of these appeals here are the sort of wines that will work with classic Irish fare.
Malbec is getting so popular it may have become one of your favourite reds but what are the best kind of dishes to eat with it?
You may not be familiar with Carmenère but it's a delicious red at this chilly time of year.
German wheat beers are sufficiently different from Belgian wheat beers to merit a separate post - so what are the best food matches for hefeweizen with their striking banana and clove flavours?
There’s one wine that’s invariably recommended as a pairing for duck and that is Pinot Noir but of course duck, like any other meat, can be cooked in different ways. How does that affect the match?
I’ll be focussing on some of the more conventional wine pairings I came across during my recent visit to Napa and Sonoma later this week but here’s a really off-the-wall match I encountered in San Francisco
The cider revival continues to gather momentum - and this time it’s with food. Of course cider has always been popular in summer but this year there seem to be many more well-made 'craft' ciders around - not just the latest raft of fruit flavoured fizzy drinks.
Laksa is one of those dishes you hesitate to pair with wine being both a soup and really spicy but the pairing I came across at the Pegasus Bay wine dinner at The Providores the other night was spot on.
I haven’t had a beer as match of the week for a while but with the British Guild of Beer Writers dinner and Dea Latis Beer and Breakfast tasting last week I could hardly have chosen anything else.
Natasha Hughes re-orders her hit list of wine matches for pinot following her visit to the International Pinot Noir Celebration.
When I read Mark Hix recipes in The Independent today they were so challenging that I nearly gave up but as everyone else seems to be writing about asparagus today and I’ve done a lot on asparagus recently there was no other option . . .
A muggy evening in mid-July might seem an odd occasion to focus on wine and game matching but there were two reasons for last night’s Louis Jadot game dinner and the Westminster Kingsway catering college. One is that they hoped to engage the attention of consumer magazines who work 4-6 months ahead in terms of feature planning and the second is that the Game-to-Eat campaign is trying to encourage us all to think of eating game year round.
If culture and ‘terroir’ are a basis for deciding which drinks bestmatch a particular cuisine then beer must have a strong claim to bepaired with Scandinavian food.
How many of you will be putting beer on the table at Christmas? Not that many, I suspect, but if you can bring yourself to break with tradition you could be in for a treat. Most supermarkets now carry a sufficiently wide range for you to be able to serve a different beer with each course, should you be so minded. And here’s how to do it:
I don’t think I ever go to a sherry tasting without coming away renewed in my conviction about what a marvellous match it is for food and the one I attended yesterday was no exception. It was organised by the enterprising Les Caves de Pyrne who are importing for the first time into the UK some rare sherries from Emilio Hidalgo and took place at Dehesa, the sister (if that’s the appropriate word) restaurant of the better known Salt Yard.
One of the most popular posts I’ve ever written on this site was one called 20 food and wine pairings to learn by heart - an easy reference guide to commit to memory.
Although there’s still plenty of the rich, lush style of Shiraz we’ve come to associate with Australia there’s more than one style as I discovered on my recent trip. If you like more restrained, even funky syrahs, Australian producers can deliver. Unsurprisingly many of them are organic or biodynamic and made with a minimum of sulphur. Most are from cooler vineyards. Take your pick . . .
If you haven't yet worked out what to drink tomorrow (which is February 14th, if you need reminding!) here are a few suggestions to match popular Valentine's Day foods.
If you’re celebrating July 4th this weekend and haven’t yet made up your mind what to drink here are some last minute suggestions.
Like any other red South Africa's Pinotage comes in different styles - some lighter and fruitier than others. When you're matching it with food you take a cue from the sort of ingredients and dishes that go with its two ancestors - Pinot Noir and Cinsault.
If you've visited a winery and bought a few English or Welsh whites to celebrate English wine week this week you may be wondering what sort of food suits them best.
Given the immense popularity of gin the chances of you sitting in a bar downing a gin-based cocktail are pretty high. But at some point you're going to need something to eat so what kind of food can you pair with it?
Wheat beers are fabulously flexible when it comes to food matching - the beer world’s equivalent of a crisp white wine.
As with my previous ‘learn by heart’ posts this is simply a quick way to remember great food and wine pairings at a busy time of year. There are of course other possibilities to which the links will guide you.
You may well know what you’re going to drink with the turkey by now but here are some ideas for what to match with your Christmas starters, paired with recipes from some of Britain’s favourite chefs and cookery writers.
If your New Year breakfast today includes eggs, especially brunch-type dishes such as scrambled eggs with smoked salmon or eggs benedict there’s no better partner than Champagne or other dry sparkling wine.
I’m always on the lookout for interesting matches with alcohol-free drinks and this just inched it over a really good cider pairing at the Hang Fire Southern Kitchen yesterday.
It’s not often these days that I hit on a totally new discovery but this combination at the newly opened Pitt Cue Co, a southern American-style ribshack is the business.
Last week I was in Galicia (for three days. Without my suitcase. Thankyou Easyjet) visiting the denominations of Valdeorras and Bierzo where the star red grape is Mencia. (For years I got them confused periodically thinking the grape was Bierzo and the region Mencia but I’ve finally got it straight.)
My match of the week for last week has to come from the sublime WIMPS lunch I had at the Ledbury which members can read about here. It was hard to decide which the best pairing was but I think the calf’s kidney and 1998 Gilles Barge Côte Rôtie just shaved it.
Heston Blumenthal’s Jubilee picnic hamper was unveiled yesterday - to be served at Buckingham Palace before an open-air concert on June 4th. The picnic is being funded by Waitrose who must be pleased as punch to have the Palace’s endorsement in this video. The guests will also apparently be given vouchers for a glass of Moët or a bottle of Cobra beer (the other sponsors of the event).
If you’re planning a Pancake Day celebration for Tuesday and haven’t yet decided what to drink here are few ideas.
I’ve long been an admirer of Compass Box whisky who were one of the first blenders to create and package sophisticated modern ‘artisan’ whiskies as they like to describe them.
The usual bombardment of hearts and flowers that heralds Valentine’s Day is bound to make anyone who doesn’t have a Valentine feel a bit out of it. But there’s no reason not to enjoy yourself . . .
This was part of an expertly paired meal at a restaurant in Trondheim called To Rom og Kjøkken (Two Rooms and a Kitchen) last Saturday night.
OK, this pairing at Jason Atherton’s new Social Wine and Tapas isn’t exactly easy to reproduce at home but it was certainly the highlight of my food and wine matches last week.