Pairings | Spice

Pairing wine and spices

Pairing wine and spices

Author and food blogger Signe Johansen reports on a visit to spice blender Rolf Gast.

Pairing wine and Indian seafood

It’s less common to come across Indian-spiced seafood dishes than it is fish and vegetable-based ones so what sort of wine works? Yesterday I had a chance to find out

 Spiced whitebait with sriracha and Chinon rosé

Spiced whitebait with sriracha and Chinon rosé

As you’d expect many of the usual suspects featured in my pairings this weekend (chocolate, anyone*?) but the match I was most impressed by was nothing to do with Easter

How to pair wine with an authentic Indian meal

How to pair wine with an authentic Indian meal

Of all the different aspects of wine and food matching I write about, wine and Indian food is the most controversial. What type of wine works best, and indeed whether you should drink wine at all is the subject of endlessly heated exchanges. The subject has recently come up again with the introduction of a number of wines that are specifically designed to go with spicy food. Was this, at last, the solution?

Rare seared sirloin steak slivers with feta, charred lettuce and charred cucumber

Rare seared sirloin steak slivers with feta, charred lettuce and charred cucumber

If you're thinking of going in for our Le Creuset competition this month you may have been tempted by the rather gorgeous-looking cast iron square grill.

Cauliflower curry, boiled eggs & coconut crumble

Cauliflower curry, boiled eggs & coconut crumble

Cauliflower and eggs are two of my favourite things, here ingeniously combined by Dan Doherty of the Duck & Waffle in his brilliant book Toast, Hash, Roast, Mash.

More pairings with Indian food

I spent an interesting evening this week at one of London’s leading Indian restaurants Benares. It was organised jointly by a wine events company called The Wine Nose and SOPEXA, the promotional arm of the French food and wine industry.

Pigeon 'tagine' with Jaboulet Ainé Hermitage La Chapelle 1994

Pigeon 'tagine' with Jaboulet Ainé Hermitage La Chapelle 1994

I came across this pairing at Chris and Jeff Galvin’s newly opened Galvin La Chapelle in Spitalfields in the City where they have a vertical of vintages, some of which are available by the glass. As I observed in my review on decanter.com it’s not a cheap option but if you’ve never tasted an old vintage of Hermitage la Chapelle here’s a chance to do so.

Which foods pair best with high alcohol red wines?

Which foods pair best with high alcohol red wines?

Despite the growing concern about alcohol levels in wine many reds still clock in at 14.5% or more, a level at which they can become an unbalanced pairing for traditional European food. Many traditionalist would say that they are therefore not ‘food wines’ but as with other types of wine it depends how well they’re made and whether overall the wine is in balance. Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe for example rarely hits the shelves at under 14% but wears its alcohol lightly.

Roast lamb with a Douro red

Roast lamb with a Douro red

Yesterday we had the family round for lunch and served a 2002 Douro red from Portugal with the main course of spice-crusted roast lamb with garlic and rosemary, roast potatoes (my youngest son managed to put away 15 but remains, annoyingly, as skinny as a rake) and in-season purple sprouting broccoli.

Chicken with peanut sauce and Faugères rosé

Chicken with peanut sauce and Faugères rosé

We liked Larcen, the restaurant that was the inspiration for two of the Clever Food Ideas last week, so much that we managed to fit in another visit before we left France. I had the plat du jour (dish of the day) - a brilliant combination of chicken in a rich peanut sauce and a 2007 Faugères rosé from H Bouchard called Abbaye Sylva Plana.

Wine and pepper

Like salt, pepper has a pronounced effect on wine, often making reds taste softer and lusher than they otherwise would. Unlike salt though, you also find peppery flavours in wines such as Northern Rhône Syrah and Austrian Grüner Veltliner.

Matching food and wine at Le Gavroche

If I told you we’d kicked off a tasting menu with a dish of barely seared, pepper-crusted tuna, with a punchy sesame and ginger dressing paired with a chilled cherry beer you’d probably think we’d dined at one of London’s cutting edge Asian restaurants rather than one of its most venerable institutions, the two Michelin-starred Le Gavroche. But its chef-patron Michel Roux Jr is quite prepared to challenge his well-heeled Mayfair clientele. In fact I suspect that if he felt he could get away with it his whole menu would be packed with similarly bold combinations.

Why Pinot Gris hits the spot with spicy food

Why Pinot Gris hits the spot with spicy food

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.

Laksa and Riesling

Laksa and Riesling

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.

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

 Raan and Grover Chêne

Raan and Grover Chêne

I’ve been thinking a fair bit about red wine and Indian food lately - of which more in due course - but wanted to flag up one pairing from my trip to India last week which definitely worked.

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