Match of the week

Camembert-style cheese and amphora-aged Bacchus

Camembert-style cheese and amphora-aged Bacchus

I’ve long felt that white wine is as good, if not a better match for cheese than red but it takes chutzpah to serve it at the end of a wine dinner as Mark Hix and Rob Corbett of Castlewood Vineyard did at an event I took part in last week at The Fox Inn at Corscombe

Gratinated onion and sercial madeira

Gratinated onion and sercial madeira

If you eat in a 3 Michelin-starred restaurant, as I did last week at Le Cinq at the George V in Paris, you’d expect the sommelier to come up with some pretty fantastic pairings with the food.

Smoked eel and alcohol-free lager

Smoked eel and alcohol-free lager

If you go to a Michelin-starred restaurant you probably don’t expect to drink alcohol-free beer but my meal at The Ninth last week which was hosted by the best-selling alcohol-free lager Lucky Saint demonstrated that it’s a surprisingly good option for anyone who’s not drinking

 Sweetbreads with mushrooms and Dog Point pinot noir

Sweetbreads with mushrooms and Dog Point pinot noir

One of the great pleasures of living in Bristol over the past 15 years has been the friendship I’ve struck up with chef Stephen Markwick and his wife Judy.

23 year old Chablis and crispy chicken wings

23 year old Chablis and crispy chicken wings

There were a couple of contenders for match of the week this week. I particularly enjoyed a gin and tonic with my king prawn coconut curry for a start but I’m going for this pairing as it’s always tricky to know what to drink with an very old wine.

Tagliatelle of raw cuttlefish and passerina

Tagliatelle of raw cuttlefish and passerina

Having spent most of our week in Abruzzo inland we seized the opportunity to have a meal at La Barcaccia a fish restaurant on the seafront at Pescara before flying back and this clever dish of cuttlefish ‘tagliatelle’ was one of the crudi (raw dishes) on the menu.

Grilled lamb with mustard glaze and a 25 year old Xinomavro

Grilled lamb with mustard glaze and a 25 year old Xinomavro

I’m conscious I don’t post as many red wine pairings as I should partly because I tend to drink white wine more often, particularly at this time of year but this was a really spectacular match at a Visit Greece lunch at Above at Hide last week held to promote the Greek wine trails.

Burrata and a Cape White blend

Burrata and a Cape White blend

It’s been such a hectic week I haven’t been cooking or eating out much so I had to scratch my head for a standout match.

 Waffles, bacon and champagne

Waffles, bacon and champagne

Champagne for breakfast always seems particularly decadent but it works brilliantly especially with waffles as I discovered at a pop-up in London last week to celebrate Veuve Clicquot’s 250th anniversary.

Cured trout with verdita and vinho verde

Cured trout with verdita and vinho verde

Raw fish seems to be really popular right now but I had a fascinating variation the other day at Root restaurant in Bristol in the form of some raw Chalk Stream trout, cured in mezcal and dressed with verdita, a Mexican drink which is generally made from lime and pineapple juice, jalapeno pepper, coriander and mint and drunk as a chaser for tequila

Vincisgrassi and Saint-Aubin

Vincisgrassi and Saint-Aubin

I love a collaborative cooking project so when I stayed with my friend food writer Fiona Sims at the weekend we embarked on a vincisgrassi, an elaborate mushroom lasagne from Rachel Roddy’s fantastic book, an A-Z of Pasta. It was made famous by Franco Taruschio of the Walnut Tree but you can find Rachel’s version here. (Note the fabulous crisp edges!)

Chocolate and muscadel

Chocolate and muscadel

There hasn’t been much food and wine pairing going on in the Beckett household this week as I lost my sense of taste with Covid - fortunately for only four days - but I tasted a wine yesterday that I know would make the perfect match with chocolate.

Shrimp and soft shell crab burger with vintage champagne

Shrimp and soft shell crab burger with vintage champagne

One of the (many) charms of champagne is how well it goes with comfort food like a shrimp burger as I discovered at London’s famous seafood restaurant J Sheekey last week

Beef carpaccio and chardonnay

Beef carpaccio and chardonnay

Beef and chardonnay doesn’t sound like an obvious combo at first glance but it depends, as always, how the beef is cooked.

 Thai food and orange wine

Thai food and orange wine

Orange wine wouldn’t have been the first pairing I’d have turned to with Thai food but what I love about this business is that there are always opportunities to revise your opinion

 Artichokes and Trebbiano

Artichokes and Trebbiano

Artichokes are a notoriously tricky match with wine but don’t have to be an insuperable one as last week’s artichoke dinner at Bocca di Lupo proved.

Smoked salmon and Deanston Virgin Oak single malt whisky

Smoked salmon and Deanston Virgin Oak single malt whisky

There were a number of great matches with Deanston’s Virgin Oak whisky up in Scotland last week but unusually I’m going for the most conventional - a starter of (very good) smoked salmon with gravadlax and a tomato and cucumber dressing at Gleneagles hotel - on the grounds that it’s the most useful.

 Smoked eel and potato soup with dry Moscatel

Smoked eel and potato soup with dry Moscatel

I could have picked any number of pairings from the really inspiring wine dinner hosted by Bodegas Bentomiz at Gambas tapas bar in Bristol last week but this marginally inched it.

Chateau d’Yquem with Gorgonzola and a pressed apple terrine

Chateau d’Yquem with Gorgonzola and a pressed apple terrine

OK, I don’t expect you to have a bottle of Chateau d’Yquem to hand, let alone a 1999 or 1989 vintage but this would work with any mature or not-so-mature Sauternes or similar sweet Bordeaux

Anchovy crisps and a pink Gibson

Anchovy crisps and a pink Gibson

After hibernating virtually the whole of January I had a run of eating out last week which threw up a number of good matches but this slot is all about discovering more unusual wine and other drink pairings.

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