Match of the week

Roast grouse and saperavi

Roast grouse and saperavi

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.

Steak and Trousseau

Steak and Trousseau

'Hmmm, steak and red wine - nothing particularly original about that' you might be thinking but bear with, as they say.

Cote Hill Blue and blackberry mead

Cote Hill Blue and blackberry mead

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.

Bao and Bacchus

Bao and Bacchus

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!)

 Meursault and black truffle crisps

Meursault and black truffle crisps

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.

 Prawns with ouzo, orzo and courgette and Greek rosé

Prawns with ouzo, orzo and courgette and Greek rosé

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.

Polenta with roasted courgettes, tomatoes and basil and Bardolino

Polenta with roasted courgettes, tomatoes and basil and Bardolino

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.

Grilled monkfish with salsa verde and vermentino

Grilled monkfish with salsa verde and vermentino

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?

Rainbow trout ceviche and Western Australia riesling

Rainbow trout ceviche and Western Australia riesling

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.

Beef cheek arancini with a (very special) Spanish garnacha

Beef cheek arancini with a (very special) Spanish garnacha

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.

Pizza and Franciacorta

Pizza and Franciacorta

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.

 Chocolate truffles and PX

Chocolate truffles and PX

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.

Paella with pork, chorizo and spinach and palo cortado sherry

Paella with pork, chorizo and spinach and palo cortado sherry

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.

Korean meatballs with mango, lime and ginger gin

Korean meatballs with mango, lime and ginger gin

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.

 Cacio e pepe and Frappato

Cacio e pepe and Frappato

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.

Bacon cheeseburger with Pinea 17 Ribera del Duero

Bacon cheeseburger with Pinea 17 Ribera del Duero

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.

Linguine carbonara and English chardonnay

Linguine carbonara and English chardonnay

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.

 Indian veggie food and sauvignon blanc

Indian veggie food and sauvignon blanc

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.

Stir-fried pork with Thai basil and Australian riesling

Stir-fried pork with Thai basil and Australian riesling

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.

 Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese and Casillero del Diablo Merlot

Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese and Casillero del Diablo Merlot

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.

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