Pairings |

The best wine pairing for steak

The best wine pairing for steak

Steak is the ideal foil for a good red but is there a best red wine for steak? You could simply say it’s the one you most enjoy but it also depends on the cut and the way you cook it.

Which foods pair best with Merlot?

Which foods pair best with Merlot?

Merlot has one of the widest ranges of styles of any red wine from the light, quaffable merlots of the Veneto to the grandest of Bordeaux. Obviously one type of food doesn’t go with them all but merlot is your flexible friend when it comes to wine pairing, smoother, rounder and less tannic than cabernet sauvignon with which, of course, it is often blended.

What wines (and other drinks) pair best with noodles?

What wines (and other drinks) pair best with noodles?

If you’re wondering what to drink with noodles you need to think about the way and the flavours with which they’re cooked rather than the fact that they’re noodles. (Yes, I know pasta counts as noodles too but I’m thinking more of Asian recipes

Which wine pairs best with salad?

Which wine pairs best with salad?

Asking which wine to pair with salad is a bit like asking about what wine to match with meat or fish. There's no single answer. It depends on the vegetables you use, what other ingredients it contains and what type of dressing you use.

The best food pairings for Pinot Noir

The best food pairings for Pinot Noir

Pinot noir is one of the most versatile red wines to match with food and a great option in a restaurant when one of you is eating meat and the other fish.

Six of the best wine (and other) pairings with chicken pie

Six of the best wine (and other) pairings with chicken pie

Chicken pie - or chicken pot pie - must be one of everyone’s favourite meals but what sort of drink goes with it best? Wine, beer or cider?

Six of the best pairings for Cabernet Sauvignon

Six of the best pairings for Cabernet Sauvignon

If you’re looking for the ideal food pairing for cabernet sauvignon you don’t have to look very far. Almost any red meat, especially served rare, is going to do the trick.

Six of the best food pairings for Australian Shiraz

Six of the best food pairings for Australian Shiraz

What most people probably think of in terms of Australian red wine is a Barossa or McLaren Vale shiraz - big, lush, sweet and ripe, the ideal pairing for grilled or barbecued beef. Hunter Valley shiraz typically has a more savoury character that suits meats like venison and kangaroo while Western Australian shiraz is made in a more elegant style, almost like a red Bordeaux, making it a good pairing for lamb.

 The best pairings with red burgundy

The best pairings with red burgundy

As with white burgundy there’s a world of difference between a simple village burgundy and an elegant premier or grand cru - most of which need 5 years at the very least to show at their best but the dividing line when it comes to pairing wine with red burgundy is age. Is it a light wine you’re dealing with or a more mature, intensely flavoured one. Duck is almost always a winner but here are some other options.

What's the best wine match for tuna?

What's the best wine match for tuna?

If you want a simple guideline as to which wine to pair with tuna think first about the way that it’s cooked - is it rare, seared or preserved (canned or bottled)? Then think of the style of the dish. Does it incorporate Japanese flavours? Are there other ingredients on the plate that might influence the match such as a citrussy glaze or salsa?

Four favourite wine matches for coq au vin

Four favourite wine matches for coq au vin

Coq au vin (chicken in wine) is of course cooked in wine - usually red wine - so does that mean you should pair it with the wine you've used to cook it in?

8 great wine (and other) matches for roast chicken

8 great wine (and other) matches for roast chicken

Roast chicken. Possibly everyone’s favourite Sunday roast. It can take a red or a white wine so the key thing to focus on is what flavourings - or stuffing - you put with it and the sides you serve.

Pairing wine and cheese: 6 ways to do it better

Pairing wine and cheese: 6 ways to do it better

Ask most people what the best wine is with cheese and most would choose a full-bodied red. But is it really the best pairing? It depends on the wine, it depends on the cheese and it depends on you. If you LOVE red wine with cheese nothing is going to put you off the experience.

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.

Beer and food pairing is getting big in the states

Having written a book on beer and food matching and cooking with beer last year (An Appetite for Ale) it’s been heartening to see the growing interest in the subject, especially in the states.

What food to pair with mature Margaux

The other night I was lucky enough to go out with a wineloving friend of mine and his wife who brought along a bottle of Château Palmer 1990 with them. It was a lovely wine but, as any 20 year old vintage would be, quite delicate so immediately created the dilemma of what to eat.

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.

Which wines pair best with raw food?

If anyone still needs convincing about the virtues of food and wine matching Mark Hix’s fresh seasonal recipes in The Independent today should convince them. Even the ‘drink what you like with the food you like’ brigade would have to admit that a voluptuous Meursault or oak-aged white Bordeaux would totally overwhelm the flavours of raw food.

What to pair with new-wave Portuguese wines

The new generation of Portuguese wines deserves greater attention from consumers and restaurant buyers alike. While successive waves of wine commentators have celebrated the broad spectrum of original flavours and styles the country’s renascent industry is producing, they remain too little explored. What’s more, compared to the big, clunking fist of much Australian Shiraz, or the twacky, juicy-fruit quality of many a New Zealand Sauvignon, they are demonstrably food-friendly wines.

Why don’t more wine tastings offer food pairing?

Why don’t more wine tastings offer food pairing?

It struck me as slightly ironic that the best example of a food offering I’ve seen at a consumer tasting recently was the Food Pairing Room at this weekend’s Whisky Show - whisky being the last drink that many people would think of pairing with food.

Who’s pairing what? From bacon and beer to Earl Grey and lemon cake . . .

Who’s pairing what? From bacon and beer to Earl Grey and lemon cake . . .

A new series for the Wine Pros section on what’s been happening in the world of food and drink pairing over the past few weeks:

Seasonal wine pairings for Domaine de l’Arlot burgundy

Seasonal wine pairings for Domaine de l’Arlot burgundy

Lucy Bridgers reports on an elegant dinner matching different vintages of Domaine de l’Arlot burgundy with a seasonal spring menu

What type of food pairs with orange wine?

What type of food pairs with orange wine?

Donald Edwards finds a clue in the traditional Georgian food that was served at a dinner at the Notting Hill restaurant Colchis recently.

The secret of sake and food pairing

The secret of sake and food pairing

Our new contributor, former sommelier Donald Edwards, reports back from a sake and food tasting at Novikov and reveals why the art of sake appreciation has a lot to teach wine-lovers.

The issue of consistency in food and wine pairing

The issue of consistency in food and wine pairing

A while ago I encountered a problem that restaurants must deal with every day: the issue of consistency.

Portuguese wine paired with the experimental cuisine at Viajante

Portuguese wine paired with the experimental cuisine at Viajante

Our roving gastronome Lucy Bridgers puts Portuguese wine through its paces with a succession of small plates from the inventive Nuno Mendes.

Partake, Healdsburg - a new concept in food and wine pairing

Partake, Healdsburg - a new concept in food and wine pairing

Since few Californian wineries now have restaurants on their premises* it’s been more of a challenge to showcase their food. But Sonoma-based Kendall-Jackson has come up with an ingenious solution in the form of a food pairing restaurant Partake which opened in Healdsburg this March.

Is white wine a better pairing than red for food?

Is white wine a better pairing than red for food?

There was a fascinating report in The Drinks Business this week of a speech by Dr Peter Klosse of the Academy of Gastronomy at the Fine & Rare Specialist Course in Vienna in which he argued that white wine is easier to match with food than red.

Is there a scientific basis for wine and food pairing?

Is there a scientific basis for wine and food pairing?

I went to a really interesting seminar last week on matching champagne with food. It was based on the chemical compounds flavourist Danny Hodrien of F & F projects had identified in Mumm champagnes using gas chromatography, solid phase micro-extraction and mass spectrometry (No, I don’t know what they are either). Based on those findings Iain Graham, the executive chef at the Caprice had devised a range of canapes that incorporated the flavours rather than seeking to complement them

Some great new ideas for pairing madeira

Some great new ideas for pairing madeira

Lucy Bridgers discovers some stunning matches with madeira and gets some inspiration for Christmas entertaining.

Cocktail and food pairing

Cocktail and food pairing

Olive, the UK-based food magazine, has identified cocktail and food pairing as a coming trend in 2009. It's possible but I'm a little sceptical nowadays when it comes to initiatives involving spirits and food. There have been so many false dawns over the last few years (remember cocktail dessert menus?) and I would have thought the current economic climate was the least propitious period to get the idea off the ground. But I could be wrong.

Clever pairings for rare sherries

Clever pairings for rare sherries

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.

Can you pair tea with a 4 course meal?

Can you pair tea with a 4 course meal?

Wine consultant and former chef Nayan Gowda reports on a tea dinner hosted by Lalani & Co but comes away more impressed by the tea than the pairings.

Beer - and whiskey - pairing at L Mulligan Grocer

Beer - and whiskey - pairing at L Mulligan Grocer

When I was in Dublin a few weeks ago I ate at a pub called L Mulligan Grocer which had been recommended on Twitter by a number of locals. I expected it to be a great hangout - most Dublin pubs are - but not that it would have a strikingly original approach to food and drink pairing

Are wine pairings getting too specific?

Are wine pairings getting too specific?

Having moaned for years how unhelpful it was for retailers and wine producers to put an incredibly vague ‘good with pasta’ or ‘good with chicken’ on their back labels I’m not sure the pendulum hasn’t swung too far in the other direction.

Are infusions the next big thing in drink pairing? Qin Xie isn't totally convinced

Are infusions the next big thing in drink pairing? Qin Xie isn't totally convinced

Every time I've been to Azurmendi, it's been a journey. The three Michelin-starred restaurant is situated half way up a very steep hill, about 15 minutes drive from Bilbao. In the evenings, almost every inch of the palatial structure is lit up like a glittering crystal; and as you drive up the winding road to reach the restaurant, it illuminates the darkness like a beacon.

A food and wine pairing experiment with Dr Peter Klosse

A food and wine pairing experiment with Dr Peter Klosse

Over lunch with Peter Klosse the other day I re-discovered what a huge difference the way an ingredient is cooked and sauced can make to the wine you choose.

A cocktail pairing dinner at The Seahorse

A cocktail pairing dinner at The Seahorse

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.

10 offbeat Christmas wine pairings to suggest to your customers

10 offbeat Christmas wine pairings to suggest to your customers

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.

A beginner's guide to pairing food and wine

A beginner's guide to pairing food and wine

You know your interest in wine has entered the next level when you start to wonder what food goes with the wine you’re drinking. So I thought it might be helpful to put together this beginner's guide, covering the basics of pairing wine with food.

Wine pairings for a chocolate-themed dinner party

Wine pairings for a chocolate-themed dinner party

Ever tried chocolate with smoked salmon? Or with butternut squash soup for that matter? Unlikely matches, I'll grant you, but 'chocolate' - in its confectionery guise - is actually a misnomer. It's most likely cacao you'll be cooking with in future, if the founders of the fashionable chocolate brand 'Venezuelan Black' have their way.

Which white wines pair best with white-rinded cheeses like Brie and Camembert?

Which white wines pair best with white-rinded cheeses like Brie and Camembert?

An edited version of a very interesting article written for the Oxford Wine Company's magazine by cheese expert Juliet Harbutt, organiser of the Great British Cheese Festival and author of The World Encyclopaedia of Cheese.

Which wine to pair with Texas BBQ

Which wine to pair with Texas BBQ

US-based wine writer and educator David Furer reports on an epic tasting in the homeland of American barbeque, Austin, Texas pairing a selection of international and home-grown reds with different meats.

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.

What impact does garlic have on wine pairing?

What impact does garlic have on wine pairing?

If you’re the kind of person (like me) who puts garlic into practically everything you cook you may regard this question as an irrelevance but some dishes are much more garlicky than others.

What Food, What Wine? Indian: which type of wine pairs best with a curry

What Food, What Wine? Indian: which type of wine pairs best with a curry

A lot of people still think that wine isn’t a good match with spicy food but our final session of What Food, What Wine? judging this week suggested that there’s no reason for winelovers to throw in the towel. The success (or otherwise) of the pairings did however depend on the heat of the curries and how ‘wet’ or dry they were.

The tough task of pairing white truffles

The tough task of pairing white truffles

Frankly if you can afford white truffles (currently selling at about 2500 euros per kilo) you probably already have a substantial cellar to pick from but just so you don’t in any way detract from the pleasure of eating your investment let me tell you what the Piedmontese do.

The 10 trickiest foods to pair with wine

The 10 trickiest foods to pair with wine

Look up any guide to food and wine matching and you’ll find a list of foods that are regarded as anathema to wine. I’ve done it myself but have come to the conclusion recently that the problems are overstated.

Some food and wine pairing tips from What Food What Wine? 2012

Some food and wine pairing tips from What Food What Wine? 2012

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

So what DO you pair with a blockbuster cabernet?

So what DO you pair with a blockbuster cabernet?

Talk to chefs and sommeliers about the wines they like to match with food and only rarely will Cabernet Sauvignon crop up. Many are, in fact, quite openly critical of the blockbuster style of many modern cabs.

My top 20 drink pairings of 2013

My top 20 drink pairings of 2013

So what stood out in the way of food and wine matches - and pairings with other drinks - in 2013?

My 25 top food and wine pairings

My 25 top food and wine pairings

How on earth to whittle the great food and wine combinations I’ve experienced down to a mere 25? And not to base them all on a few favourite wines and foods?

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?

How to pair beer and food

How to pair beer and food

I was recently asked the question: "What am i looking for when matching beer and food? Do I want a beer with a similar taste or should I be looking for a contrast?"

Food pairings for Apothic and other sweet red wines

Food pairings for Apothic and other sweet red wines

Heavily promoted Apothic is just one of a range of sweeter red wines that have been launched on the market recently. Not having much of a sweet tooth, I must confess it’s not particularly to my taste but I can see that it would greatly appeal to wine drinkers who find drier reds unappealing.

20 food and wine pairings to learn by heart

20 food and wine pairings to learn by heart

Inspired by the recent spate of minimal ingredient cookbooks such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Three Good Things I thought it might be helpful to come up with 20 wine matches that are easy to remember and which pretty well everyone will enjoy.

Wine with lobster: 6 of the best pairings

Wine with lobster: 6 of the best pairings

There’s such an obvious wine match for lobster (great chardonnay) that you might wonder if it was worth considering anything else but there are other interesting alternatives.

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:

Wine and lamb: my 5 favourite pairings

Wine and lamb: my 5 favourite pairings

It’s tough to say what the best wine matches for lamb are - it’s served so many different ways and there are so many wines (mainly red) that work but here are my five favourites.

Wine and Indonesian food: which wine pairs best with Rijsttafel?

Wine and Indonesian food: which wine pairs best with Rijsttafel?

I posted this last year after trying Rijsttafel - the Indonesian speciality that’s widely available in Amsterdam. Translated literally as ‘rice table’, it’s an elaborate array of curries, salads and pickles which present a tough challenge for any wine.

Wine and Cheese Pairing for Beginners

Wine and Cheese Pairing for Beginners

Wine and cheese are well known bedfellows but if you’re a beginner it might seem daunting to decide exactly which wine to choose for which cheese. This guide will quickly help you to get started pairing wine and cheese like a pro.

Wine and Appetizer Pairings: a quick guide

Wine and Appetizer Pairings: a quick guide

The best wine to pair with appetizers and hors d'oeuvres rather depends on whether they precede a meal, as is traditional, or, as is the way now, actually ARE the meal. We all seem to enjoy grazing these days.

Which wine to pair with a Moroccan tagine?

Which wine to pair with a Moroccan tagine?

While summer isn’t a time one feels drawn to hearty stews Moroccan tagines are a different matter. Exotic and aromatic, they somehow suit the heat and not being particularly spicy are relatively simple to match with wine.

Which wine (or beer) to pair with roast beef

Which wine (or beer) to pair with roast beef

Roast beef has the virtue of being one of the easiest dishes to match with wine. You can really drink any medium- to full-bodied red you enjoy. There are a couple of points to bear in mind, however, which might affect the style of wine you choose.

Which wines to pair with calamari/squid

Which wines to pair with calamari/squid

Calamari or squid is often served as a starter or appetiser with other dishes so you need to bear that in mind when you’re choosing a wine to pair with it. It also depends on the way you prepare it.

Which wines pair best with eggs?

Which wines pair best with eggs?

Eggs are supposed to be one of the trickiest ingredients to pair with wine but I’ve never entirely got it myself. More to the point do you want to drink wine with eggs at breakfast or even brunch, the time you’re most likely to eat them?

Which wines and beers to pair with asparagus

Which wines and beers to pair with asparagus

This month I asked my fellow Tweeters to tackle the subject of wine with asparagus - supposed to be a tricky combination, but as @cuvee_corner put it “Maybe it's just me, but I don't see the difficulty.” (It isn't just you. There are plenty of options!)

Which whisky pairs best with haggis?

Which whisky pairs best with haggis?

Given that whisky is generally considered the most appropriate match for haggis I thought it would be interesting to check out what Britain’s top whisky experts have to recommend for Burns Night:

Which foods pair best with whisky?

Which foods pair best with whisky?

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.

Which food to pair with South African chenin blanc

Which food to pair with South African chenin blanc

You might think it odd to pick out South African Chenin rather than Chenin Blanc in general but I do think the wines are distinctive, particularly when it comes to the crisper styles which are much zestier than they tend to be in the Loire

Which beer pairs best with the Thanksgiving feast? What the experts say

Which beer pairs best with the Thanksgiving feast? What the experts say

You’ve probably got your Thanksgiving wine sorted but what about a beer? If you don’t drink it yourself it may not be something you've given much thought to but in fact beer makes just as good a partner for the myriad different flavours of the typical Thanksgiving feast as wine.

What’s the best wine to pair with lemon tart (aka tarte au citron)?

What’s the best wine to pair with lemon tart (aka tarte au citron)?

The classic tarte au citron is tricky with wine, particularly if it’s home made. And the sharper and more lemony (and delicious) it is, the harder it is to find a good match.

What type of food pairs best with Brunello di Montalcino?

What type of food pairs best with Brunello di Montalcino?

I always like to respond promptly if someone draws attention to a wine match that’s not available on the site so thanks, Nigel B of Hong Kong for pointing out there was nothing on Brunello di Montalcino.

The best wine pairings for lasagna

The best wine pairings for lasagna

When we think of pairing wine with lasagna (or lasagne, whichever way you spell it) it’s probably the meaty version that’s uppermost in our minds but these days, as you know, there are many variations. As with pasta sauces, then, your wine choice should reflect the other ingredients in the dish.

What to pair with Coronation chicken?

What to pair with Coronation chicken?

Coronation chicken is an obvious choice for any Royal occasion but what wine - or beer - should you pair with it?

What wine to pair with a custard tart

What wine to pair with a custard tart

My assertion that custard tarts are the new cupcakes provoked such a heated exchange that I thought I’d stoke the fire by suggesting what you drink with ‘em.

What wine to pair with curry - my top 5 picks

What wine to pair with curry - my top 5 picks

If you’re wondering which wine to pair with curry, you’re not alone. There are probably more opinions about the matter than there are types of curry from “wine is never a good idea* to *any wine you like*.

What wine (or other drinks) should you pair with herbs?

What wine (or other drinks) should you pair with herbs?

Do herbs ever have a strong enough influence on a dish to determine your wine pairing? Relatively rarely in my view. Only very herby sauces like pesto or salsa verde dominate a dish to such an extent that you need to choose a wine to accommodate them.

What wine (and other drinks) to pair with poke

What wine (and other drinks) to pair with poke

If you haven’t heard of poke - the Hawaiian dish of cubed raw fish usually with rice and/or vegetables - you soon will. It’s everywhere (and pronounced, by the way, pokay not poke).

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).

What to pair with Camembert: 5 great drink matches

What to pair with Camembert: 5 great drink matches

Although it seems similar in style to Brie, Camembert is a trickier cheese to pair with a slightly funky edge that can clash with many wines, particularly reds.

What to pair with Beaujolais Nouveau

What to pair with Beaujolais Nouveau

With southern hemisphere wines from the 2016 vintage having been on the shelves for a few months now the annual release of Beaujolais Nouveau has become less significant but you may still want to crack open a bottle today.

What wine to pair with goose

What wine to pair with goose

If you’ve decided to serve goose rather than turkey this Christmas you’ve already opted to be adventurous. So you could arguably be adventurous about your wine (or other drink) pairing too.

What wine to pair with cherry desserts

What wine to pair with cherry desserts

Cherry is one of the fruit flavours most often found in wine and liqueurs so does that make them a good pairing for cherry desserts? It depends how intense the cherry flavour is.

What sort of food to pair with prosecco?

What sort of food to pair with prosecco?

Prosecco is so often drunk on its own that you may not have given much thought to the kind of food you can pair with it but if I had to sum it up in two words it would be ‘party food’

What food to pair with Vin Santo?

What food to pair with Vin Santo?

No visit to Tuscany is complete without a glass of Vin Santo or ‘holy wine’, a (usually) sweet wine that is served at the end of the meal, almost always with hard little ‘cantucci’ biscuits.

What food to pair with coffee

What food to pair with coffee

For many people coffee is a regular companion to food whether it’s breakfast or that great German institution of kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cake) - only the amount of caffeine they might consume holding them back.

What food to pair with red Bordeaux

What food to pair with red Bordeaux

Although Bordeaux produces some of the most expensive wines in the world it also produces bottles that are great for everyday drinking. So what kind of food pairs best with them?

Twitmatching #1 An A-Z of Twitter's best Champagne pairings!

Twitmatching #1 An A-Z of Twitter's best Champagne pairings!

I lobbed a question about unusual Champagne pairings into the Twittersphere yesterday and got the most amazing response. It prompted the idea of having a monthly Twitter matching session - Twitmatching - the results of which I’ll post on this site.

Top wine pairings with scallops

Top wine pairings with scallops

Scallops are some of the most delicious seafood around and some of the most flattering to a serious white wine. There’s one grape variety that will almost always see you right but also some other options

Top wine pairings with goat cheese (chèvre)

Top wine pairings with goat cheese (chèvre)

Since goats cheese and Sauvignon Blanc are such a great match it might seem redundant to think of anything else but despite its reputation for being . . . well . . . goaty, goats cheese is easy to pair with other wines.

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.

Top food pairings with Clare Valley and Eden Valley riesling

Top food pairings with Clare Valley and Eden Valley riesling

One of the most distinctive styles of white wine, dry rieslings from the Clare and Eden Valley in south Australia have a distinctive limey twist that makes them a particularly good match for Asian and Asian-inspired food.

Top food pairings for cider

Top food pairings for cider

Cider seems to be on the verge of going through the same quality revolution as beer did a few years ago. In the last 12 months I’ve tasted more interesting ciders than I have in the last 12 years.

The best wine pairings for spaghetti alle vongole

The best wine pairings for spaghetti alle vongole

The ideal pairing does of course depend on how you make your spaghetti alle vongole - the classic Italian dish of spaghetti with white wine and clams - but in my book, the answer is simple: a young, unoaked, Italian white wine.

6 of the best pairings for chilli con carne

6 of the best pairings for chilli con carne

Like many popular dishes chilli con carne has many different versions - some mild and child-friendly, others much more spicy and assertive and often a little smokey.

The best wines to pair with haggis

The best wines to pair with haggis

I’ve argued before that whisky and beer are the best match for haggis but what if you prefer a wine? What colour and style work best?

The best wines to pair with beetroot

The best wines to pair with beetroot

Beetroot is one of the few vegetables that pairs better with red wine than with white - not only for the colour though that tends to put the brain on auto-suggest - but its rich, earthy sometimes sweet flavour.

The best wine pairings with venison

The best wine pairings with venison

An easy answer to the question of what wine to pair with venison is the same sort of wine you’d drink with beef but I’d suggest a few modifications as the two are not quite the same.

The best wine pairings with Roquefort cheese

The best wine pairings with Roquefort cheese

Roquefort cheese is unusual in having such a frequently recommended wine match (Sauternes) that you may wonder if it’s worth drinking anything else but depending how you serve it there are a number of other options.

The best wine pairings with monkfish

The best wine pairings with monkfish

Monkfish (or lotte, as the French call it) is a meaty fish that is often roasted so pairs equally well with red wine as with white. In fact a lightly chilled red wine would generally be my preferred match, particularly if it’s wrapped in pancetta or bacon

The best wine pairings with cheese fondue, raclette and tartiflette

The best wine pairings with cheese fondue, raclette and tartiflette

Even if you're not currently on the slopes you might want to take your chance to make one of the great ski-food classics, fondue, raclette or tartiflette.

The best wine pairings with Caesar salad

The best wine pairings with Caesar salad

As with most salads Caesar salad is all about the dressing which on the face of it sounds tricky, anchovies being notoriously difficult to match with wine.

The best wine pairings for vitello tonnato

The best wine pairings for vitello tonnato

One of the best hot weather dishes, this piquant dish of cold poached or roast veal with a tuna, anchovy and caper mayonnaise invariably pops up on menus at this time of year. But what to pair with it?

The best wine pairings for steak tartare

The best wine pairings for steak tartare

Should you drink the same sort of full-bodied red wine with steak tartare - raw chopped beef - as you would with a grilled steak?

The best wine pairings for spaghetti puttanesca

The best wine pairings for spaghetti puttanesca

Spaghetti puttanesca - or 'whore’s spaghetti' to translate it literally - is a full-flavoured pasta dish with strong, punchy flavours but which wine should you pair with it?

The best wine pairings for pheasant

The best wine pairings for pheasant

Even if not well-hung, as it rarely is these days, pheasant has a stronger flavour than other feathered game such as partridge or duck. And older, tougher birds are often braised or pot-roasted which calls for a more robust wine match still.

The best wine pairings for cauliflower

The best wine pairings for cauliflower

There was once no point in thinking about wine in the context of cauliflower. It was a vegetable. It was bland - except arguably in cauliflower cheese - but now it’s roasted, fried, spiced and partnered by other exotic and flavourful ingredients.

The best wine pairings for seabass

The best wine pairings for seabass

Seabass is one of the most popular fish on restaurant menus these days - usually treated quite simply and rarely sauced. But what wine should you pair with it?

The best pairings for albarino (and alvarinho)

The best pairings for albarino (and alvarinho)

If I had to sum up the best food pairing for albarino in one word it would be seafood. Which makes sense considering where it comes from on the coast of Galicia in the Rias Baixas region of northern Spain.

The best wine pairings for a Chinese stir-fry

The best wine pairings for a Chinese stir-fry

A stir-fry is a great option for a quick midweek supper but what kind of wine should you drink with it?

The best wine - and other - pairings for leeks

The best wine - and other - pairings for leeks

March 1st is St David’s Day so what better to focus on than Wales’s national symbol, the leek? (Well they have daffodils and dragons too but I’m assuming you don’t want to eat either of those ... )

The best pairings for rum and rum-based cocktails

The best pairings for rum and rum-based cocktails

The key to pairing rum with food is to think about the cocktails that are made from it rather than the base spirit . With the exception of dark sipping rums (which are delicious with chocolate) that’s generally the way they’re served.

The best pairings for fino and manzanilla sherry

The best pairings for fino and manzanilla sherry

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.

The best wine pairings for eggs benedict

The best wine pairings for eggs benedict

The ideal wine pairing for eggs benedict - that unctuous dish of poached eggs and ham topped with buttery hollandaise sauce - is likely to be dictacted as much by when you eat it as the dish itself.

The best pairings for amontillado and palo cortado sherry

The best pairings for amontillado and palo cortado sherry

Amontillado sherry has richer, nuttier flavours than a classic fino or manzanilla sherry and calls for different food matches. Think more in terms of cured meat, game and cheese than seafood and richer, meatier tapas.

The best kind of wine to pair with gnocchi

The best kind of wine to pair with gnocchi

As with pasta the best wine to pair with gnocchi is all about the sauce rather than the gnocchi itself. You want a different wine if you’re serving it with a creamy sauce than if you’re serving it with a simple tomato one.

The best food to pair with vodka

The best food to pair with vodka

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:

The best food pairings with Saint-Emilion

The best food pairings with Saint-Emilion

Saint-Emilion is a familiar name on a wine list but what sort of food goes with it best? Sommelier Nathalie Gardiner suggests her favourite pairings.

Top food pairings with Barbera

Top food pairings with Barbera

Barbera is a versatile red that will happily partner pretty well any meaty dish you throw at it. It is more robust and typically drunk younger than its Piedmontese counterparts Barolo and Barbaresco.

The best food pairings for white rioja

The best food pairings for white rioja

White rioja is tricky when it comes to wine pairing as it comes in such contrasting styles. There are the crisp fresh unoaked white riojas which behave much like a sauvignon blanc and much richer barrel-fermented ones which can tackle more intensely-flavoured fish and meat dishes

The best food pairings for Tokaji Aszu

The best food pairings for Tokaji Aszu

Tokaj or Tokaji Aszu from Hungary is one of the most historic and delicious dessert wines which now has it’s own dedicated day on December 10th but if you’re looking for the ideal food pairing you can take it much further than the dessert course.

The best food pairings for Sauternes

The best food pairings for Sauternes

Sauternes is a famously luscious sweet wine from the Bordeaux region of France but what kind of food should you pair with it?

The best food pairings for Pinotage

The best food pairings for Pinotage

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.

The best food pairings for Lambrusco

The best food pairings for Lambrusco

If you’re wondering why I’m devoting a post to Lambrusco you obviously haven’t tasted the real thing and today, Lambrusco Day, is your ideal opportunity to try it.

The best food pairings for dry oloroso sherry

The best food pairings for dry oloroso sherry

The Spanish are more adventurous than us when it comes to matching sherry and food. I remember drinking a dry oloroso with roast partridge a few years back in Jerez. But what else could you pair with it?

The best food pairings for Barolo and Barbaresco

The best food pairings for Barolo and Barbaresco

The food of Piedmont in north-west Italy is as highly regarded as its wines so it makes sense to make the local dishes your first choice if you’re looking for a match for a bottle of Barolo or Barbaresco.

The 5 best wine (and best cocktail) pairings for garlic cheesy bread

The 5 best wine (and best cocktail) pairings for garlic cheesy bread

I wouldn’t have thought of proferring wine pairings for garlic cheesy bread had I not stumbled across the fact that it was the most repinned image on Pinterest. Exceeding even sparkly toes!

The 4 best wine pairings for a classic Pancake Day pancake

The 4 best wine pairings for a classic Pancake Day pancake

If you live in the UK and are enjoying pancakes today it’s most likely the classic kind, simply topped with lemon juice and a sprinkling of crunchy sugar. But what to drink with them?

Some top food pairings for pear cider and perry

Some top food pairings for pear cider and perry

Pear cider - also known as perry - has a different taste from apple cider. It’s generally lighter, drier and more fragrant, a better match for delicate ingredients like fish.

Some top beer and wine pairings for Cheshire cheese

Some top beer and wine pairings for Cheshire cheese

I’ve recently had the chance to taste through a range of wines and beers with Cheshire - Appleby’s Cheshire to be exact - so the hits and misses are fresh in my mind. As you probably know it’s a British territorial cheese with a crumbly texture and mellow flavour but quite a firm bite.

The best wine pairings for cheddar cheese

The best wine pairings for cheddar cheese

As with most cheeses the ideal wine pairing for cheddar depends how mature it is. A mild to medium block cheddar is going to be a lot easier to match (and in most cheeselovers’ eyes a lot less interesting) than an aged cloth-bound cheddar of 18 months or more.

6 things you need to think about when pairing wine and vegetarian food

6 things you need to think about when pairing wine and vegetarian food

If you think it’s difficult to pair wine and vegetarian food, think again. It’s no trickier than it is for those who eat meat or fish.

Six of the best wine pairings with cassoulet

Six of the best wine pairings with cassoulet

Anyone who has a passing knowledge of cassoulet will know that there are hotly disputed arguments about what constitutes the authentic version. But whichever way you make it it’s a substantial dish.

Six of the best wine pairings for Christmas ham

Six of the best wine pairings for Christmas ham

If you're serving a ham or gammon as a roast this Christmas you need a more substantial wine with it than when you serve ham as a cold cut. Which one depends on the glaze.

Six of the best pairings for roast pork

Six of the best pairings for roast pork

If you’re wondering which wine to pair with roast pork the good news is it’s a flexible meat that can take a white or a red - or even - given the crackling, a sparkling wine.

Six of the best pairings for a burger

Six of the best pairings for a burger

It might surprise you to hear it - and maybe you’ve never tried it - but a serious red wine is a really good match for a burger. Not a Maccy D, maybe but a big lush gourmet burger. And why not?

Six food pairings for gin that might surprise you

Six food pairings for gin that might surprise you

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?

Sake and food pairing

Sake and food pairing

What type of food is the best match for sake and why? Shirley Booth, founder of the British Sake Association comes up with a few surprises and some useful pointers on serving temperatures.

How to pair whisky with cheese

How to pair whisky with cheese

I’d been aware that cheese was a good match for whisky but it was good to have the opportunity to try several different styles and cheeses at a tasting recently.

How the world's best sakes pair with food

How the world's best sakes pair with food

I was reminded the other night of how the average wine newbie must feel confronted with a wine list in French. The names of the wines and the grape varieties mean nothing. You have no idea what they taste like and what to order. Panic sets in.

How Thanksgiving sides can inspire your wine pairing

How Thanksgiving sides can inspire your wine pairing

Although we all talk turkey at Thanksgiving, in fact it’s the sides that tend to steal the show. Finding a wine that can cope with them all is never easy but you may just find your favourite side or dressing can inspire your choice.

Good wine pairings for Saint-Nectaire

Good wine pairings for Saint-Nectaire

Having spent a few days in the Auvergne recently and eaten more than my fair share of Saint Nectaire cheese with a variety of wines, mostly natural, here’s what I think works best.

Food pairings for wheat beer II - hefeweizen, dunkelweizen and other German-style wheat beers

Food pairings for wheat beer II - hefeweizen, dunkelweizen and other German-style wheat beers

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?

Food pairing dilemmas

Food pairing dilemmas

Some recent questions that have been posed to me:

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.

Eight great drink pairings for sushi

Eight great drink pairings for sushi

You might think sushi would be tricky to pair with wine but surprisingly that’s not the case. And there are other drinks that work too . . .

Dry or fruity? Which style of white wine pairs best with simply grilled fish?

Dry or fruity? Which style of white wine pairs best with simply grilled fish?

About the last place I’d have expected to have an enlightening discussion about food and wine matching is in a fisherman’s shack called Chez Loulou down on the Languedoc coast. Actually I do it an injustice. It’s a restaurant - just - but one that relies for its appeal on fabulously fresh fish rather than fantastically skilled cooking.

Christmas pairings with port, sherry and madeira

Christmas pairings with port, sherry and madeira

You may well have given a fair amount of thought by now to what you’ll be drinking with your turkey or goose and have set treasured bottles of Bordeaux or Burgundy aside for the main Christmas meal. But what about all the other occasions over the festive period which these days tends to stretch a good 10 days into the early New Year?

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?

Beer and Cheese: my 5 favourite pairings

Beer and Cheese: my 5 favourite pairings

Beer blogger Steve Lamond has been matching beer and cheese for the past seven years and has compiled an invaluable guide on his blog Beers I’ve Known. Hare are his 5 all-time favourites which include some cracking combinations.

6 of the best pairings for spaghetti bolognese

6 of the best pairings for spaghetti bolognese

Given the arguments about how to make a bolognese sauce it’s hardly surprising there should be a difference of opinion about what wine to serve with spaghetti bolognese but here’s what I would go for:

6 good wine pairings for aubergine/eggplant

6 good wine pairings for aubergine/eggplant

Aubergine - or eggplant as it’s called in the US - doesn’t have a strong flavour of its own but tends to enrich any dish in which it’s included especially when baked with tomatoes and cheese.

6 versatile wine pairings for a Chinese New Year feast

6 versatile wine pairings for a Chinese New Year feast

Asking which wine is the best match for Chinese food is a bit like looking for the best match for European food - it in no way reflects the diversity of Chinese cuisine.

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.

6 of the best drinks to pair with tacos

6 of the best drinks to pair with tacos

Mexican restaurants have been on a roll lately so tacos are much more widely available than they used to be in the UK.

6 of the best pairings for pinot grigio

6 of the best pairings for pinot grigio

That pinot grigio is many people's favourite white wine should come as no surprise - it’s a refreshing, versatile wine that pairs really well with light, summery food and ever-popular Italian staples such as pasta and risotto.

5 wine and beer pairings for shepherd’s pie

5 wine and beer pairings for shepherd’s pie

You’ll always find people argue about shepherd’s pie but in my view it should be made with lamb rather than beef (that’s cottage pie) and with very little, if any tomato - apart from maybe a dash of ketchup for sweetness.

6 of the best pairings for Brie

6 of the best pairings for Brie

One of the world's most popular cheeses, Brie can be mild and slightly chalky or decadently gooey and quite strong in flavour so you need to adapt the wine - or other drink - you choose to how mature the cheese is.

5 great beer pairings for roast turkey

5 great beer pairings for roast turkey

Even those who normally drink beer feel the need to put a bottle of red wine on the table at Christmas* but beer is actually just as good, if not a better accompaniment for turkey.

4 good wines to pair with fish pie

4 good wines to pair with fish pie

Whether it's topped with mashed potato or pastry fish pie is a relatively straightforward dish to pair with wine but some styles work better than others.

4 tips to bear in mind when pairing Easter lamb

4 tips to bear in mind when pairing Easter lamb

The good news if you’re planning an Easter feast around lamb is that practically any medium to full-bodied red wine you enjoy will be delicious with it. But there are a few variables to take into account that might enhance the pairing

10 good wine pairings with paté

10 good wine pairings with paté

By paté I’m thinking of what wines to drink with rough country patés and terrines like a paté de campagne rather than fish patés or vegetarian patés which I’ll tackle separately. The sort that you might take on a picnic or eat in a wine bar.

10 food pairings for peaty whiskies

10 food pairings for peaty whiskies

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.

 What to pair with Epoisses (and other stinky cheeses)

What to pair with Epoisses (and other stinky cheeses)

What on earth do you drink with Époisses and France’s other famous stinky washed-rind cheeses such as Pont-l'Évêque, Maroilles, Munster and Langres? The problem is that the more mature and stinky you like your cheese, the tougher it will be on any wine you pair with it.

 The best wines to pair with courgettes or zucchini

The best wines to pair with courgettes or zucchini

There’a a fair chance that if you grow courgettes - or zucchini - you’re eating more than your fair share of them at this time of year but what wine should you drink with them?

 The best wine pairings with Beef Wellington

The best wine pairings with Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington is real treat and deserves an equally indulgent wine to set it off. It is however less robustly flavoured than a steak or rib roast of beef with other key ingredients such as mushrooms and pastry which offset the flavour of the meat. For me that tends to indicate pinot rather than cabernet but take your pick

 The best wine pairings for partridge

The best wine pairings for partridge

I sometimes think partridge is my favourite game bird - less full-on and ‘gamey’ than pheasant, more subtle and delicate than chicken. But what wine should you drink with it?

 The best food pairings for Gewurztraminer

The best food pairings for Gewurztraminer

Often compared to rose petals, lychees and Turkish delight, gewurztraminer is the wine world’s most exotic grape variety so what on earth do you pair with it?

 Some great food pairings for tequila

Some great food pairings for tequila

Despite the recent increase in interest in Mexican street food like tacos consumers in the UK still have to take to tequila (maybe because they’re too busy drinking gin) but in fact it’s an attractive and versatile spirit to pair with food

 The best food pairings with white burgundy

The best food pairings with white burgundy

White burgundy includes a multitude of wines from generic bourgogne blanc to the grandeur of a Bâtard-Montrachet or Corton-Charlemagne. But it’s the affordable wines that I’m focussing on in this post. What type of food do they pair with best?

 4 good wines to pair with red mullet

4 good wines to pair with red mullet

Red mullet or rouget can be a bit of a challenge to pair with wine as it is often accompanied by a rich sauce made from the liver or with punchy accompaniments such as tapenade, olives or saffron

Wines to pair with fennel

Wines to pair with fennel

Fennel is one of the handful of vegetables that can influence a main course pairing - almost always for the better. Its aniseed flavour seems to have a pronounced affinity with many wines, especially whites. Here are some suggested matches with recipes that two British chefs have published this weekend - Gordon Ramsay in the Times and Skye Gyngell in the Independent on Sunday.

Wine (and other) pairings for Welsh recipes

Wine (and other) pairings for Welsh recipes

Tomorrow is St David’s Day - cue for the media to roll out its annual selection of Welsh recipes. Wales produces its own wine, beer and even whisky so what should you drink?

Which wine to pair with moussaka

Which wine to pair with moussaka

If you’re wondering what type of wine to serve with moussaka the obvious answer is a Greek red. The dry, dark-fruited character of the country’s indigenous grapes suits the dish perfectly.

A surprisingly good pairing for air-dried ham

A surprisingly good pairing for air-dried ham

Think of an air-dried ham such as serrano and you probably think of tapas and therefore fino or manzanilla sherry. But I’ve experienced two recent wine matches which opened my eyes to another option that even those on a diet could enjoy!

Wine pairing: burrata, beetroot and Albarino

Wine pairing: burrata, beetroot and Albarino

This week I was at Heathcotes Brasserie in Preston, Lancashire for a wine dinner for which I’d had to devise the wine matches. Paul Heathcote, the chef, is an old sparring partner and obviously thought he’d put me on the spot by coming up with some challenging dishes.

When you can pair asparagus with red wine

When you can pair asparagus with red wine

The idea of partnering asparagus with wine is contentious enough but red wine? Surely that won’t work?

Turbot paired with white Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Turbot paired with white Chateauneuf-du-Pape

This week I’ve been celebrating a big birthday with some extravagant feasting including a sublime dinner on the night at my son’s restaurant Hawksmoor Borough. (Well, you might as well keep it in the family!)

Three surefire pairings for pinot noir

Three surefire pairings for pinot noir

Most of the time, as you’ll have noticed, I feature the more offbeat wine pairings I’ve come across in my match of the week slot. This week I’ve been reminded of the virtue of some that seldom go wrong.

Dessert wine pairing: ‘Sweet Thai Green Curry’ with Lapeyre Jurancon

Dessert wine pairing: ‘Sweet Thai Green Curry’ with Lapeyre Jurancon

This wine pairing may sound difficult to get your head round - let’s face it, it is! - but it was a very clever dessert at the 3 star De Librije in Zwolle, Holland last week

Sake and food pairing: Chilean seabass hobayaki with warm daiginjo sake

Sake and food pairing: Chilean seabass hobayaki with warm daiginjo sake

I was always taught the best sakes were served chilled but the other evening at London's Sake no Hana I got to taste a super-premium daiginjo sake at room temperature with a dish of grilled Chilean seabass and it matched perfectly.

My best wine (and other) pairings of 2017

My best wine (and other) pairings of 2017

Those of you who visit the site regularly will be aware I post a regular match of the week - the most interesting wine - or other drink - pairing I’ve come across in the past 7 days.

My 20 best wine (and other drink) pairings of 2015

My 20 best wine (and other drink) pairings of 2015

As you may know if you visit the site regularly I do a regular match of the week - generally a less obvious pairing I’ve come across that has surprised me as much as it may have surprised you. So which were the best ones that would be worth looking out for or repeating? Here’s my top 20.

My 12 best drink pairings of 2014

My 12 best drink pairings of 2014

In my annual round-up of the best matches of the year I usually end up listing around a third of my matches of the week so I thought this year I’d set myself the the challenge of picking one from each calendar month.

Korean fried chicken paired with a soju cocktail

Korean fried chicken paired with a soju cocktail

Last week’s ‘Girls can Grill’ event at Jinjuu in Soho provided plenty of inspiration as you may have already seen from the kimchi fried rice recipe I posted but there was also a cracking drinks match of the introductory cocktail with Korean fried chicken.

Chaource cheese paired with vermouth

Chaource cheese paired with vermouth

I have to thank my colleague drinks writer, wine guru and good time pal Kate Hawkings for this week's pairing. Once she squealed excitedly about it on Twitter I knew I had to drop by her restaurant (Bellita) and give it a try.

10 top food pairings for South African wines

10 top food pairings for South African wines

If you’ve visited the Cape Winelands you’ll know what an amazing food and drink scene it has but you may still wonder what sort of dishes to order in a restaurant or to pair with South African wines at home.

Beer and food pairing at Meantime

Beer and food pairing at Meantime

It sometimes seems like there’s a Groundhog Day element to beer and food matching. Everyone gets excited about it then we all go back to square one and rediscover it again.

The new wines of Malaga

Malaga has more to offer than its fortified wines as wine educator and consultant David Furer found on a recent visit.

Sweet or savoury - what is the perfect match for Sauternes?

Discovering you could make a wine from grapes that have shrivelled with rot to leathery little fossils on the vine is viticultural history’s finest example of making a silk purse out a sow’s ear. There is a sense of the miraculous in every sip.

Pairing Indian food with the biodynamic wines of Bonny Doon

I have to confess I found it pretty hard to concentrate on the finer nuances of the food and wine combinations at the recent Cinnamon Club dinner. But when the speaker is the discursive Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon and you're sitting next to him that's no great surprise. Before the meal had even started we were into Kierkegaard and a vigorous discussion of terroir in the bar below over our glasses of Vin Gris de Cigare (a typically unorthodox full-bodied rosé based on Grenache, Cinsault and Roussanne).

Matching the vegetarian tasting menu at Sketch

This week I had a really fascinating vegetarian tasting menu at the Lecture Room and Library at Sketch, Pierre Gagnaire’s London restaurant. The sommelier, Fred Brugues, claims not to believe in food and wine matching (too complicated, he says, with large tables all ordering different dishes) but he actually came up with some inspired pairings.

Matching food with mature wines

Take 6 top international chefs and 6 Argentinian wineries determined to prove their wines outlast anyone else’s and what do you get? A fascinating dinner but some titanic struggles on the plate and in the glass.

Matching Alsace wines and food

The marriage of the aromatic wines of Alsace with spicy foods (Chinese and Thai cuisines leading the charge, with Indian usually not far behind) has become such an axiom of modern gastronomy that we might be forgiven for wondering what on earth anybody drank them with before.

Ideas for a beer and game menu

I've been invited to a game dinner at Brown's hotel in Mayfair next week at which every course is matched with a beer or a perry. I can't make it but thought you'd be interested in the pairings (my notes in italics):

How to host a Bordeaux dinner

On Saturday night I went to a splendid dinner at Bordeaux Quay in Bristol hosted jointly by a group of Bordeaux producers in conjunction with the city’s best-known chef Jean-Pierre Xiradakis of La Tupina and Barny Haughton of BQ, as it’s known locally.

How to create a menu around wine

The dinner I mentioned earlier this week was ostensibly to present Zalto wine glasses but was interesting in its own right too as an example of a well-devised wine dinner. Goodness knows, it should be. Neville and Sonia Blech, a former professional chef, have been entertaining winelovers at their Kensington home for years and before that in their own restaurant, Mijanou.

Cheese and wine revisited

Pairing cheese and wine was once a no-brainer. In that post-rationing era when the British were just rediscovering wine, and had no idea what to drink it with, cheese and wine evenings provided an answer. Cubes of Cheddar on cocktail sticks made the vin rouge taste a little nicer, and were a useful way of soaking up the alcohol.

Braucol, Gringet, Mondeuse and Frappato . . .

What do you give the winelover who has everything? Dinner at Galvin Bistrot de Luxe looks like the answer. A recent dinner to launch their laudably adventurous new wine list revealed a whole bunch of grapes that I’d never heard of including Braucol (an alternative name in Gaillac for Fer and Mansois - pretty obscure in themselves), Gringet, a crisp white from Haut-Savoie (described as ‘glacial as a Hitchcock heroine’), Mondeuse (another wine from Savoie, this time a red) and Frappato, a 'rarely encountered' Sicilian red.

A vodka and caviar tasting flight

At £32.50 a head (and you have to order it for two) this isn’t the cheapest aperitif in London but it’s certainly the classiest. As you would expect of a restaurant just off Sloane Street in Knightsbridge.

A natural wine dinner at Murano

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I’m an enthusiast about natural wine so I was particularly interested to go to a couple of natural wine dinners this last week at Artisan and Vine and Angela Hartnett’s Murano

Venice restaurants - the big hitters

Eating out in Venice is not cheap, as we’ve discovered, but there are ways of mitigating the cost (essential if you’re spending a fortnight in the city!) Here are five of the more classic Venetian restaurants we’ve been to. Some less expensive and off the beaten track options over the next few days.

Paris tips and trends

Last post (for the moment) from Paris! A quick run-down of the most interesting food and wine ideas I picked up for those of you who haven’t time to read the full reviews:Sardines - cheap, sustainable - this summer’s must-eat fish, it seems. Grilled (Le Temps au Temps), served with red peppers and black-eye beans (La Gazzetta) served whole in a tin with seaweed butter (Cristal de Sel)

My first meal at Marc Veyrat - but will it be my last?

Last week I finally realised a long-held ambition to eat at La Maison de Marc Veyrat in Veyrier-du-Lac. Not a lot has been heard recently from Veyrat recently despite the fact that he is the only chef to have been awarded six Michelin stars for his two restaurants and score a perfect 20/20 from Gault Millau. Just under two years ago he had a horrific skiing accident that left him with multiple leg fractures and he now faces major surgery to break and reset the bones to try and regain his mobility.

Fine dining in Colmar

Stuart Walton checks out the restaurant scene in Colmar.

Warm smoked eel with carrots, marjoram and apple sauce

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.

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.

Porc à la moutarde

This typically Burgundian dish of pork with a wine, cream and mustard-based sauce is quick, easy and versatile. You could equally well use it for chicken.

Mulled wine - and cider - for Christmas

There's nothing like a glass of mulled wine to get you into the festive spirit. Here's three variations - including a seasonal sangria - plus a gorgeous mulled cider

Essential steak sauce

From my cookbook Steak - now sadly out of print - a homemade alternative to demi-glace, a foolproof steak sauce that you can use on its own or as a basis for another dish such as bavette aux échalotes

Essence: recipes from Le Champignon Sauvage by David Everitt-Mathias

If you haven't heard of David Everitt-Mathias I wouldn't be surprised. But ask any leading chef in Britain - including Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal, who have both paid tribute to him in this book - and they certainly will.

Dark, sticky Christmas cake with prunes and Guinness

This delicious cake, which comes from my book An Appetite for Ale, is based on a recipe from one of Britain's best bakers Dan Lepard. Do use organic dried fruit in it - you’ll get a much better result.

A quick, easy way to make a delicious pie

I love pies but you can’t get away from the fact that they’re fiddly and time-consuming so here’s a neat idea for cutting the time they take by at least half and possibly trimming a few calories off the meal into the bargain.

What to buy the winelover who has everything

Some of the most difficult people to buy presents for are serious wine collectors. Unless you have a cellar of your own from which to pluck a suitable bottle it’s quite hard to find something that will ring their bell (obscure sweet wines and sherries, I generally find, being the best bets)

What is the perfect cellar temperature?

Here's an important area where the science is not fully formed, though a sufficient consensus exists to give useful advice.The uncertainty arises from the different storage environments that exist in different countries around the world. The ambient temperature in warehouses and cellars in Burgundy, for example, or in Spain, has been higher than in Britain, yet these are regions with traditions of long term cellarage.

The best of the UK wine sales

Following my tips on buying from wine sales yesterday here are some of the independent wine merchant sales that are currently on and some of the bottles that I would consider buying from them (though I should stress that I haven’t had the opportunity to taste most of the wines). Remember an unsplit case is generally going to be cheaper than a mixed case but a bit of a risk if you haven’t tried the wine. Some deals may have already sold out by the time you read this.

The best food and wine matching on the planet

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Or, more accurately, that he can’t reinvent himself. The Old Master is Parisien chef Alain Senderens who until recently presided over the long established Parisien restaurant Lucas Carton. His sublime skill was pairing the world’s best wines with his three Michelin-starred cuisine, a fascinating pastime which I was lucky enough to witness on a couple of occasions but which certainly didn’t come cheap. In fact you’d have been lucky to get out at under €500 a head which put it well out of the reach of ordinary Parisiens.

Tasting London

If you’re in London this weekend don’t miss the city’s big annual open-air food festival Taste of London which is supported by the city’s best-known chefs. The Big Idea is to give you an opportunity to sample the food at their restaurants. Last night big stars such as Giorgio Locatelli, Gary Rhodes, Angela Hartnett and Michel Roux were all on hand to chat about their food.

Steak that doesn't need a red

Some unusual steak recipes from Jason Atherton (then of Maze, now of Pollen Street Social) that prove you don't always need to drink red with beef.

So what IS a food-friendly wine?

People in the wine trade often talk about ‘food friendly wines’, a term so vague you might wonder what on earth it means. Surely all wines are designed to go with food? Is it supposed to be a criticism or a compliment?

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

Nigella makes Riesling fly off the shelves!

According to Tesco in the UK, sales of Riesling are up 30% since TV temptress Nigella Lawson used it to make the French classic coq au Riesling - in one programme succeeding in what a generation of wine writers have conspicuously failed to do: to make this grape variety sexy.

Matching wine and saffron

Coincidentally I’ve received two recent requests for help with pairing main course fish dishes that include saffron, a tricky spice with a slightly medicinal, taste.

Matching Lebanese food and wine

Many of us are familiar with Lebanon's rich culinary heritage, courtesy of the Lebanese diaspora and food writers such as Claudia Roden and Anissa Helou. Yet the prevalence of popular Lebanese dishes such as tabbouleh and hummous in our supermarkets is not yet matched by Lebanese wines despite a long history of grape cultivation dating back to the Phoenicians.

Matching everyday wines with special occasion food

When I received an invitation to a lunch that would see a range of wines from giant Australian wine producer Hardys paired with food prepared by Pied--Terre’s Shane Osborne, I have to admit that my inner wine snob rather expected the stuff in the glasses to be outclassed by the stuff on the plates.

How to buy wine in the sales

Just as in every other kind of store, specialist wine shops have sales at this time of year largely to clear stocks that have been slow to sell through and make way for new vintages they've ordered. But is wine the sort of product you should be buying in a sale? Well it depends . . .

How do you tell when a wine is ready to drink?

When asked at a tutored tasting when his Grand Cru Chablis would be ready to drink, the maverick Burgundy and Luberon producer Jean-Marie Guffens replied in his usual opaque way "It's not a question of when the wine is ready, it's a question of when you are ready". Guffens was, I think, attempting to get away from what he saw as the tyranny of 'the perfect moment', the year, the month, the day even, when a wine is 'at its best'.

For a perfect match a wine needs to provide an element that's missing in a dish

One of the problems about today’s ultra-complicated restaurant food is that dishes tend to be what I once heard aptly described as ‘ingredient-heavy’. Which can mean that a wine of character may just be one flavour too much.

Do magnums and other large format bottles age better?

Hugo Rose examines the conventional wisdom that they do.

Cooking with beer

Good to see Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall giving some recipes that use beer in the Guardian today. As I discovered when my son Will and I wrote our book An Appetite for Ale last year, beer makes a great addition to many recipes and is often just as good a match for a meal as wine.

Chablis at Nobu

Sometimes you go to a wine dinner with some trepidation wondering if the wine will stand up to the food but I was pretty optimistic that Domaine Long-Depaquit’s Chablis would survive at Nobu (the original Metropolitan hotel restaurant in London, not LA, sadly!)

Biodynamic food and wine matching

Does biodynamic wine make a difference to food pairing. Wine writer and educator David Furer investigates:

Asian tastes differ when it comes to matching Chinese food

The results of a unique competition in Hong Kong suggest that Asia-based judges may have a different take to Europeans on matching wine to Chinese food. The judging panel at the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition awarded several medals to full-bodied reds in preference to the more common aromatic white wine styles such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer

Dans Le Noir?

I’m sitting in the pitch dark, my hand groping around the table. On my plate I think I’ve got some tuna - or is it chicken? - orange, fennel and yes, those are pomegranate seeds. In my heavy glass (so it doesn’t shatter if I knock it over) is what tastes like a commercial Vin de Pays d’Oc chardonnay.

Wines to match wild salmon

Forget for the moment my often-advocated match of chilled red wine with salmon, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a wild fish it deserves one of your best whites. Here are my suggested matches for Mark Hix’ recipes in the Independent today:

Wines to match Skye Gyngell's al fresco menu

The problem with the old media is that their lead times are too long. Skye Gyngell, the Independent on Sunday’s food writer and chef at the heavenly Petersham Nurseries Cafe in Richmond probably wrote her al fresco menu in today’s edition a couple of weeks ago when the sun was blazing. Today the wind is howling and the rain lashing against the windows.No matter. It’s only May and summer will (hopefully) return. Here’s what I would suggest drinking with it.

Wines to match Mark Hix's favourite summer main courses and puddings

Seems to be food week for the broadsheets. The Guardian has a food supplement with menus from Britain’s top chefs (matched with wines by their wine columnist Victoria Moore) while the Indy has an extra-long selection of summer main courses and puds from their cookery writer Mark Hix. Since you can find Victoria’s matches online I’m tackling Mark’s dishes today:

Wine recommendations - and a bit of amateur psychology - for Mother's Day

Wow, the celebrations are coming thick and fast this week! After lovers, now mothers . . .Well, curiously, a similar psychology applies. Mums come in all shapes and sizes so what will appeal to one may not necessarily appeal to another. It’s all about thinking about the individual and picking the bottle they would most enjoy.

Wine hits and misses at Corrigan's

As was the case with his previous restaurants, Corrigan’s, which I reviewed yesterday, has a fascinating and idiosyncratic list put together with the help of the ingenious Douglas Wregg of Caves de Pyrne, the company which is also behind the excellent new Terroirs ‘natural’ wine bar* just off Trafalgar Square.

Wine and smoke

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.

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.

Wine - and food - for a big birthday bash

A friend I ran into the other day asked my advice on a birthday meal he and his wife were cooking. He wanted a menu - and wines - that would iimpress their 20 guests but which didn’t involve them in too much work. He’d also recently developed a taste for German riesling but wasn’t sure if his guests would share his new-found enthusiasm. So what should they eat - and drink?

Why young wines work best for summer

I was writing an article the other day about food and wine matching that required spot-on pairings and found myself specifying the age of the wines I was recommending. It’s not something I tend to do when making generalised recommendations (as opposed to matching a specific wine) but I realised it is as important as giving information about whether a wine is oaked or unoaked, the nature of the vintage or what country, region or producer it comes from.

Why Vinho Verde won't be the new Grüner Veltliner (or the new Albarino, come to that)

Now that Grner Veltliner has become a fixture on fashionable restaurant wine lists (along with Albarino and Picpoul de Pinet) there are signs that sommeliers are looking for the Next Big Thing. And the most likely candidate looks to be Vinho Verde.

Which wine to match with Rowley Leigh's roast duck and peas

Sometimes I wonder when we get to drink our best wines, food has become so fiddly and complicated so it’s a welcome relief to see a recipe like Rowley Leigh’s in the FT this weekend for a simply roast duck with peas.

Which wine to match with Dover sole?

When you have a fish as fine as Dover sole you don’t want to mask its delicate sweet flavour in any way. Here are my suggestions for Gordon Ramsay’s recipes in the Times today.

When should you drink Yquem?

Not a question I normally have to trouble my head about, I admit but which was prompted by an extraordinary wine dinner I went to last week at The Don in St Swithin's Lane.

What to drink with Turkish food

Turkish food is not traditionally accompanied by wine. And although the Turks do have a wine industry not much of it makes its way over here. But here are some thoughts on possible pairings for Mark Hix's Turkish inspired recipes in the Independent this weekend"

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.

A return visit to cheese heaven

Marylebone High Street in central London has become a mecca for foodies in the last few years but the jewel in the crown is undoubtedly Patricia Michelson’s La Fromagerie, a glorious jumble of a shop that sells everything from cheese (obviously) to chocolate, via honeys and herbal infusions.

A match for pan-fried steak in a creamy mustard sauce

Q Could you make a suggestion for a pan-fried flank steak with a mustard/cream sauce consisting of shallots, white wine, chicken stock, cream, and Dijon mustard?

A great menu for a beer dinner

Anyone who thinks the only place for beer is with a curry or a barbecue should take a look at this scrumptious menu from a ‘Grand Banquet’ which was prepared for the 1600 delegates to the Craft Brewers Conference in Austin, Texas last weekend by Executive Chef Mark Dayanandan of the Hilton Austin.

A classic English meal with a perfectly matched French wine

People occasionally ask me what characterises British food. Unlike French or Italian food it can be hard to pin down, there are so many different ethnic influences but last night I had a meal that was quintessentially English summer food.

A challenging game menu

Q I am going to a dinner where we take our own wine. The starter is slices of smoked pheasant with partridge pate, followed by fillet of venison then a dessert of profiteroles with lemon cream + chocolate sauce. then a savoury of rabbit and tarragon terrine. You may now realise my problem! Any suggestions?

What to drink at a wedding . . .

Q I am the best man at a wedding and agreed to provide the wine for the head table. The couple is serving a soy, ginger salmon and chicken dish (i assume you get a choice). Any thoughts?

Two questions about wine and weddings

Q We’re getting married shortly and thought we’d ask our friends to give us wine as we’d like to start putting together a cellar. Do you have any ideas on the type of wines we should include and who could help us?

How to create the perfect Christmas cheeseboard

Those of you who've looked up my recommendations on cheese before will have picked up that I'm not a big fan of large cheeseboards. Especially with red wine. But at Christmas people tend to expect them so how do you create as harmonious as match as possible?

Zalto glasses: so what's the angle?

Just as we get used to the idea that there is an ideal wine glass foreach grape variety along comes a producer who suggests the enjoyment isall in the angle of the glass.

Wine Wars at Arbutus

Wine Wars at Arbutus

If you thought food and wine pairing was the least likely recipe for a raucous night out you’d be wrong. This week’s ‘Wine Wars’, the first in a series* at London restaurant Arbutus, was a noisy partisan event that had guests arguing passionately over the respective merits of Piedmontese wines over a 4 course menu of Italian-inspired dishes.

Wine cocktails from some top London restaurants

Wine cocktails from some top London restaurants

The wine cocktail trend still seems to be going strong with a company called Formula Wine (a play, presumably, on Formula One) coming up with a selection from some leading London restaurants.

Wine and game matching revisited

Wine and game matching revisited

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.

Why Mosel riesling matches Vietnamese food

Why Mosel riesling matches Vietnamese food

Our roving gastronaut Lucy Bridgers discovers why German Mosel riesling is the ideal wine pairing for Vietnamese food

Why growers' champagne is centre stage at Bubbledogs

Why growers' champagne is centre stage at Bubbledogs

The most hyped restaurant launch this year, Bubbledogs, which opened this week in London’s Fitzrovia has naturally focussed on the hot dogs but of equal significance, I reckon, are the ‘bubbles’ or champagnes that they serve.

Why Greek wines go with more than just Greek food

Why Greek wines go with more than just Greek food

Peter Pharos argues that his home country's wines deserve a place on the table with the world's most popular cuisines.

My tasting at the Wine & Culinary Forum, Barcelona

My tasting at the Wine & Culinary Forum, Barcelona

I’ve been having some fresh thoughts about food and wine matching since I was asked to participate in the Wine & Culinary International Forum in Barcelona this past weekend and come up with pairings for the bottles submitted by the Primum Familiae Vini, 11 of the world's most famous family-owned wineries

What bugs restaurant critics about wine service

What bugs restaurant critics about wine service

To kick off my coverage of the first Wine & Culinary International Forum in Barcelona last weekend (and while I disentangle the many complex threads on food and wine pairing) here are some highly practical points which were made by a high level panel of restaurant and wine critics including Jancis Robinson, Victor de la Serna of El Mundo and Nick Lander, restaurant critic for the Financial Times and author of the recently published The Art of the Restaurateur. (My comments in italics)

What the wine business can learn from the beer world

What the wine business can learn from the beer world

Take a look at this picture. No, not too closely - it was shot in low light so it’s a bit blurry but I think you’d agree it’s a really stylish starter?

What somms think of customers

What somms think of customers

Following our article from former sommelier Zeren Wilson on how to order from a wine list, another, wine educator and consultant David Furer, turns the tables and asks some of the US’s top sommeliers what the biggest challenges and frustrations are in their job.

What makes a vino da meditazione?

What makes a vino da meditazione?

You may have a fixed idea of what constitutes a vino da meditazione but, as Peter Pharos argues, many wines are well suited to sipping thoughtfully on one's own.

What kind of food should you serve with fine wine?

What kind of food should you serve with fine wine?

Most of the time we’re pairing wine and food it’s the food that comes first but for people in the trade it’s more often about what food will flatter the wine. But how do you ensure a successful match?

Two more tips for successful food and wine matching

Two more tips for successful food and wine matching

Advice on food and wine matching tends to focus on such issues as flavour intensity and finding a wine to complement or contrast with the dish in question (not an approach, I admit, of which I’m overly fond) but a meal I had the other day reminded me of a couple of other factors that it’s worth bearing in mind.

Try your hand at matching The French Laundry's dazzling desserts

Try your hand at matching The French Laundry's dazzling desserts

It might surprise you to learn that Napa’s famous French Laundry has an English pastry chef, Claire Clark who previously worked at Claridges and The Wolseley in London. I know Claire from way back when we did a number of food and wine pairing exercises together and thought it would be fun to get her and head sommelier Gregory Castells to come up with some pairings for her incredibly exciting and creative desserts.

The best food matches for Amarone

The best food matches for Amarone

A recent lunch* and discussion hosted by Masi at Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner gave a revealing glimpse of what the best food pairings for amarone might be.

The lemon dilemma

The lemon dilemma

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about ingredients that cause problems for wine and have come to the conclusion that lemon is one of the major culprits. Of course we add lemon to many things for a subtle lift - I’m talking about recipes where lemoniness (if there is such a word) is the essence of the dish.

Tea sommeliers - the next big thing?

Tea sommeliers - the next big thing?

There’s a fascinating article in the current edition of Elle à Table about a cheese and tea tasting conducted by Maitre Tseng of La Maison des Trois Thés in Paris with French artisanal cheeses from Alléosse.

Tea & Tapas: does it work?

Tea & Tapas: does it work?

As a massive sherry fan I confess that I find it hard to envisage any other drink with tapas but when you’re invited to experience an off-the-wall pairing you go - or at least I do.

So you want to be a sommelier…

So you want to be a sommelier…

On the floor the lights are low, the customers are munching away on their Dover soles and their duck breasts, the musak is playing gently in the background.

Should you use fine wine in cocktails?

Should you use fine wine in cocktails?

The answer most people would give to the question ‘should you use wine to make cocktails?’ is ‘Why ever not?” Yet there is a general feeling, of which I must confess I’m occasionally guilty, that it’s a waste of a wine that may be perfectly well balanced in itself.

'Rad' food matching at the London Wine Sessions

'Rad' food matching at the London Wine Sessions

The second London Wine Sessions took place last Saturday - rather appropriately in über cool Hackney. It was a day of wine tastings and discussions featuring some prominent, established names such as Fiona, Jamie Goode of Wine Anorak, the Telegraph's Victoria Moore and the Independent's Anthony Rose as well as current trail-blazers.

Pairing wine with Szechuan (or Sichuan) cuisine

Pairing wine with Szechuan (or Sichuan) cuisine

Just as you think you might have got to grips with matching wine with Chinese food along comes a regional cuisine like Szechuan which is twice as challenging, as I discovered at a wine dinner at Flinty Red in Bristol last night.

Pairing champagne and summer food

Pairing champagne and summer food

How can champagne be used to create a summer tasting menu? Seafood is an obvious candidate but as food and wine writer Lucy Bridgers found at a Billecart-Salmon event at the Massimo Restaurant and Oyster Bar in London last year you need to choose your flavours carefully.

Pairing wine and spices

Pairing wine and spices

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

Pairing whisky and chocolate - with difficulty!

Pairing whisky and chocolate - with difficulty!

Tastings on Twitter are all the rage at the moment. The other day it was BeerBods. Last Thursday it was a tasting organised by The Whisky Wire of whiskies from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society with chocolates by William Curley.

Pairing Pinot Noir and lamb

Pairing Pinot Noir and lamb

A report on the fascinating food and wine matching workshop that was held at the International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon last month which showed that you can find a pinot pairing for almost any kind of lamb dish.

Pairing cognac and cheese

Pairing cognac and cheese

Cognac pairs with chocolate, we all know but what about cheese? Surprisingly there are some standout matches as I discovered when I chaired the cheese workshop at the 2014 International Cognac Summit in France a couple of years ago.

New wines from old families. Lunch with Australia’s First Families of Wine

New wines from old families. Lunch with Australia’s First Families of Wine

Lucy Bridgers reports: The quintessentially English Quo Vadis in London was the setting for a recent lunch hosted by Australia’s First Families of Wine, a group of 12 long-established family-owned companies

Move over sommeliers, hello wine concierges (and curators)!

Move over sommeliers, hello wine concierges (and curators)!

The news that London’s latest impossibly glitzy Russian-owned wine shop Hedonism aims to offer a ‘personal, concierge-like approach‘ according to an interview its CEO Tatiana Fokina gave the wine magazine Decanter, doesn’t come as a total surprise. The C-word has been creeping into the wine world for a while.

Matching wine and single origin chocolate

Matching wine and single origin chocolate

One of the innovations at the Marks & Spencer wine tasting this week was a chocolate and wine tasting based on a Single Origin Tasting Box designed to help consumers explore chocolate pairings with different wines.

Matching wine and fusion food

Matching wine and fusion food

It has been both the handicap and the saving grace of the English-speaking countries not to have a recognised centuries-long gastronomic tradition behind them. Settlers and colonists brought their own food customs with them to what became the British dominions.

Matching wine and charcuterie - an experiment

Matching wine and charcuterie - an experiment

About the most daunting audience that anyone could face is a group of wine writers, especially if a number of those happen to specialise in food and wine matching so it was with some trepidation that I agreed to lead a tasting on wine and charcuterie in London on Monday night on the eve of the London International Wine Fair.

Matching port and chocolate

Matching port and chocolate

Former sommelier and wine consultant David Furer writes about a tasting at leading London chocolatier William Curley

In praise of bin end clubs

In praise of bin end clubs

Anyone who buys wine on a regular basis will be familiar with the frustrating experience of discovering undrunk bottles lurking at the bottom of a rack that should in theory be long past their best. They’re too good for everyday drinking yet too uncertain to serve to guests. And if they have survived they may be, frankly, slightly weird. Old wine is not to everyone’s taste.

How beer and food matching is moving centre stage

How beer and food matching is moving centre stage

Those of us who have been writing about beer and food for a while have seen many false dawns in the UK - breweries positioning their beers as perfect for different kinds of food, competitions to find the best beer for British staples such as fish and chips, Indian restaurants offering beer pairing menus . . . there was no lack of ingenuity but it didn’t quite take off. But with the number of events and initiatives taking place this summer it really looks as if beer and food pairing has reached a tipping point.

How to show off your wine Part I

How to show off your wine Part I

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about formal wine tastings, more particularly that they’re far from being an ideal way to show off wine. But what’s the alternative?

How food can make your wine shine

How food can make your wine shine

I have no evidence for it but I’m sure that the vast majority of wine that people buy is bought to drink with food. Yet most of the wine that’s tasted or presented to journalists and bloggers is shown on its own.

How to host a wine dinner

How to host a wine dinner

Ollie Couillaud’s inaugural wine dinner at The Lawn Bistro in Wimbledon, west London yesterday was a masterclass in how to get it right.

How to counter the acidity of young wines

How to counter the acidity of young wines

Wines, especially dry whites and rosés, are released so early these days that they’re often still uncomfortably tart but, as I discovered on a trip to the Centre-Loire wine region recently you can choose food that will round out their harsher edges.

How I became a winemaker

How I became a winemaker

This past week Liam Steevenson MW has been living his dream, making wine in the Roussillon. Here's how he did it without owning a vineyard or a winery.

How cream can help a fine wine match

How cream can help a fine wine match

It’s become fashionable these days to vilify butter and cream but if you want your wine to shine bring them into play. There’s almost nothing better than a rich creamy sauce to show off a fine white burgundy and whisking a little butter into a red wine sauce will set your Bordeaux off a treat.

Ferran Adria, white truffles and Dom Pérignon ...

Ferran Adria, white truffles and Dom Pérignon ...

"It’s not every day you get invited to a private dinner cooked by the most famous chef in the world" writes Guy Woodward. "But the other week an email arrived in my inbox that had me scrambling for my diary and clearing anything and everything listed under October 30.

Dom Pérignon 1999

Dom Pérignon 1999

The launch of Dom Prignon 1999 in London the other day was the occasion of one of winemaker Richard Geoffroys’ legendary food and wine matching experiences.

Does craft beer suit posh food?

Does craft beer suit posh food?

Despite many attempts to introduce beer lists in Michelin-starred restaurants, customers still don’t seem to want to drink it on a special occasion. Are they misguided or are restaurateurs wimping out?

From the archives: Does Bordeaux need butter?

From the archives: Does Bordeaux need butter?

Italian wines with olive oil-based dishes, Bordeaux with butter-based ones. Sound like a no-brainer? Well, yes, if you happen to be in either region: you obviously drink the local wine with the local food. But just think for a moment about today’s top international restaurants.

Cognac right through the meal?

Cognac right through the meal?

In preparing for a visit to Cognac I read an eponymous-titled book by International Herald Tribune editor Kyle Jarrard. Towards the end of the book Jarrard mentioned a restaurant in the region which pairs this finest of brandies with its own creations. “Ambitious,” I thought and immediately decided a meal at La Ribaudière was in order.

Clever food ideas from Canada

Clever food ideas from Canada

Five inspiring ideas from my recent trip to Toronto for home or professional cooks.

Château Pontet-Canet at Alain Ducasse: Lucy Bridgers lives the high life

Château Pontet-Canet at Alain Ducasse: Lucy Bridgers lives the high life

The recent lunch hosted by Alfred Tesseron of Château Pontet-Canet at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester revealed the extraordinary versatility of red Bordeaux and how it can be served right through a meal.

Cheese and cider matching revisited

Cheese and cider matching revisited

When you think how well apples go with cheese it’s amazing that cider isn’t the automatic go-to for a cheese board but as we discovered at Cheese School* earlier this month some work better than others with particular styles of cheese.

Can you learn to use Twitter?

Can you learn to use Twitter?

Yesterday I took part in a panel discussion organised by We are Like Minds as part of London’s social media week on how food businesses can more effectively use different platforms. The irony was that, apart from the fact that I was an early adopter and use it a lot I don’t consider myself in any way a social media expert.

From the archives: Can water assist your appreciation of food and wine?

From the archives: Can water assist your appreciation of food and wine?

"Apart from it being the basis for all known life, I have long harboured an interest in the nuances of H2O, visiting Buxton and Vittel’s bottling plants and Bath’s Roman Spa" writes Douglas Blyde. "I was thirsty, therefore, to see what the ‘Best Sommelier in the World’, Andreas Larsson had to say on the subject at his presentation at the recent Identita conference at London’s liquid theme park Vinopolis. (This post was first published in 2009)

Can synaesthesia enhance our ability to appreciate wine?

Can synaesthesia enhance our ability to appreciate wine?

Author (and self-proclaimed shopkeeper) Sally Butcher of Persepolis asks whether Grenache rosé reminds you of patchouli and Malbec of Beethoven. And are we missing out if we’re not fellow synaesthetes?

Can food at a wine dinner be too distracting?

Can food at a wine dinner be too distracting?

At the Cape Wine Legends dinner in London showcasing some of South Africa's greatest old vintages, Lucy Bridgers wonders which was the hero - the wine or the food?

Using 'bridge' ingredients to create a perfect match

Using 'bridge' ingredients to create a perfect match

One of the most useful tricks to master, especially when you’re dealing with a tricky-to-match ingredient, is to introduce a ‘bridge’ ingredient - in other words an element in the dish that makes it easier to pair with the wine you want to drink. It can be something as simple as cream or mashed potato or something rather more specific that picks out a flavour in the wine you’re serving.

Bright ideas for recession-hit restaurants

Bright ideas for recession-hit restaurants

In a recession you need to think outside the box to attract and keep customers. One way is to add a bit of theatre by serving a dish at the table or at a central point of the restaurant where everyone can see it. Here are three recent examples from France and Argentina:

Brazil 3 Argentina 3

Brazil 3 Argentina 3

Another fascinating meal in the Masters of Food and Wine programme was my first encounter with high end Brazilian food. It was an impressive one. The chef was Alex Atala from D.O.M. restaurant in Sao Paolo which has been listed by Restaurant Magazine among the top 50 restaurants in the world. Sao Paolo is generally considered to be the culinary capital of Brazil and judging by this light, colourful, creative meal has a lot to offer.

Asian food isn’t the only way into German riesling

Asian food isn’t the only way into German riesling

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

An interview with Enrico Bernardo

An interview with Enrico Bernardo

If any sommelier looks set for Gordon Ramsay-style super-stardom it has to be Enrico Bernado.

A wine and truffle lunch with The Wine Society

A wine and truffle lunch with The Wine Society

Are Languedoc wines grand enough to stand up to truffles? Our new contributor Donald Edwards reports:

A Krug champagne lunch at Murano: a perfect 10

A Krug champagne lunch at Murano: a perfect 10

It’s rare to go to a wine event and be blown away by the matches at every course but my recent lunch at Murano devised by Angela Hartnett and her sommelier Marc-Andréa Lévy was as close to perfection as it gets.

A beer dinner in the heart of Paris shows how the French are taking to craft beer

A beer dinner in the heart of Paris shows how the French are taking to craft beer

Lotte Peplow sees American craft brewers persuade the French that wine is not the only thing to drink with a meal ....

 Wine ‘experiences’ are the new wine tastings

Wine ‘experiences’ are the new wine tastings

Back in the day if you were invited to go on a stag or hen do for a good friend’s wedding all you had to worry about was making sure you packed enough paracetamol for a raucous night out.

 How to choose the right tonic for your gin

How to choose the right tonic for your gin

It’s hard enough to keep on top of all the new gins that are coming out without having to master the burgeoning world of tonics too.

When and how to decant wine

When and how to decant wine

There’s still a general idea that red wines - especially traditional red wines like Bordeaux - need to be decanted but that’s rarely the case these days. Most wines are made to be drunk straightaway. It’s only when one of the following conditions applies that you need to get out a decanter

What sort of wine glasses should you buy?

What sort of wine glasses should you buy?

Much play has been made over the last few years of having different shaped glasses for different wines but for those of us with limited storage space (and a limited budget) that’s simply not practical. So what are the best type of glasses to buy and what should you expect to pay for them?

What is the best serving temperature for wine?

What is the best serving temperature for wine?

The mistake most people make when they’re serving wine is to pour whites too cold and reds too warm. Assuming you haven’t got a handy wine thermometer here’s a quick guide to the ideal temperature for different styles of wine:

Should you buy wine in the sales?

Should you buy wine in the sales?

Just as with every other kind of store, specialist wine shops have sales at this time of year largely to clear stocks that have been slow to sell through and make way for new vintages they've ordered. But is wine the sort of product you should be buying in a sale? Well it depends . . .

How to pick a good wine from a wine list

How to pick a good wine from a wine list

Former sommelier Zeren Wilson of Bitten & Written reveals the tricks of the trade when it comes to choosing a good value wine and how to handle the somm.

How to create a modest wine cellar on a budget

How to create a modest wine cellar on a budget

You don't have to have a luxury apartment to have a wine cellar argues Peter Pharos. Here's how he did it on a budget.

How long does wine keep?

How long does wine keep?

The question I get asked most often as a wine writer is how long you should keep a bottle of wine. It’s one of those ‘How long is a piece of string?’ questions: it depends both on the bottle and the drinker.

Wine lovers' New York: Where to drink well in the Big Apple

Wine lovers' New York: Where to drink well in the Big Apple

So where are the best places in New York for a wine lover to hang out? And what should you drink there? Blogger and winelover Zeren Wilson of Bitten & Written sets out a game plan.

Why driving over the Andes is an experience to add to your bucket list

Why driving over the Andes is an experience to add to your bucket list

Crossing the Andes by road puts all those words we use so freely into their proper context. Awesome, amazing, breathtaking - it is all those things and more.

Where Bristol foodies eat

Where Bristol foodies eat

Bristol has more than its fair share of cookery writers (including yours truly) so who better to ask where to eat in the city - and what to order? (Well, local chefs, maybe, but I’ll come on to that …)

Where - and what - Bristol chefs eat

Where - and what - Bristol chefs eat

As there was so much interest in the post on where my fellow food writers eat out in Bristol I thought I'd do a follow-up with chefs.

5 new restaurants to try in Bordeaux

5 new restaurants to try in Bordeaux

If you're planning to visit Bordeaux this summer these are the hot restaurants according to local wine industry insider 'La Bordelaise'. But which are worth going to? Read on . . .

What makes Korean food distinctive

What makes Korean food distinctive

The first thing everyone asked me when I got back from Korea was what does the food taste like? Unless you live in London, or New Malden in Surrey, which, rather randomly, boasts the UK’s biggest concentration of Korean restaurants, then you probably won’t be familiar with Korean food.

Two classic meals in Chablis

Two classic meals in Chablis

I came across this article the other day which I wrote 4 years ago after a visit to Chablis. We attended two great dinners organised by Daniel Defaix and Herv Tucki of La Chablisienne which were an object lesson in how to pair Chablis with food. I thought it deserved a re-run.

The Swan at Lavenham

The Swan at Lavenham

We Londoners are spoiled for choice when it comes to weekend breaks. A lot of people are drawn west to the Cotswolds or south to Sussex, Hampshire and the New Forest. For me, though, East Anglia takes some beating.

The charming eccentricity of Rye Bay Scallop Week

The charming eccentricity of Rye Bay Scallop Week

One of the more endearing aspects of the current British food scene is the number of festivals devoted to a single food. I’d heard of oyster festivals, crab festivals and cheese festivals but I’d never come across a scallop festival before.

Pinot rules!

Pinot rules!

New Zealand cookery writer Lauraine Jacobs reports on the Pinot Noir '07 conference in Wellington, including a gourmet sausage tasting

Only here for the beer: Craft beer in San Diego

Only here for the beer: Craft beer in San Diego

Visiting San Diego? Forget surfing and whale watching, check out the craft beer scene, say Fiona Sims.

On the road in the Pacific North West: Day 1

On the road in the Pacific North West: Day 1

For the next 10 days I’m going to be visiting the vineyards of Oregon and Washington State so the site will turn into more of a blog. Our first day yesterday included lunch at Chateau Ste Michelle, by far Washington’s largest wine producer.

Magnum and Le Tire Bouchon: two wine bars to discover in Toulouse

Magnum and Le Tire Bouchon: two wine bars to discover in Toulouse

When I knew I was going to spend 24 hours in Toulouse recently I asked my followers on Twitter - as you do - what restaurants and wine bars they would recommend. Unusually they all suggested different places which didn’t help that much so I ended up trawling around online.

Magdalen Chapter, Exeter: a night in the operating room

Magdalen Chapter, Exeter: a night in the operating room

So many institutions are being converted into hotels these days that one should feel no great surprise at staying at a former eye hospital. But I must confess to feeling a shade queasy at spending a night in the operating room* at the Magdalen Chapter in Exeter - particularly when I spotted the drain in the floor down which many unspeakable fluids must have been sluiced . . .

How to plan a food trip to Paris in 2014

How to plan a food trip to Paris in 2014

We’re off to Paris next week (hooray!) and as usual my husband has been doing his meticulous research on where we should eat and drink. These days you’re more likely to find out the best places online than through guide books so who are our trusted sources?

How to get the best last minute hotel deal on New Year’s Eve - or any other night

How to get the best last minute hotel deal on New Year’s Eve - or any other night

Is it ever worth leaving your hotel booking until the very last minute? Here's how i fared a couple of years ago trying to bag a bargain for New Year's Eve.

How to eat like the Veronese

How to eat like the Veronese

As you walk through the door of Al Pompiere in Verona you could easily be back in the '70s. A timbered ceiling, checked table cloths, walls lined with pictures of guests through the ages, it’s every inch the traditional trat. In one corner where hams line the shelves and hang from the ceiling an elderly chef in a toque is slicing ham and other salumi to order with a large, impressively flashy machine. If you think it’s old-fashioned though take a look at their website - the retro feel is deliberate but they’re linked to all the social media.

Hotel TerraVina: what it's like staying with the World's Best Sommelier

Hotel TerraVina: what it's like staying with the World's Best Sommelier

You might think an establishment run by the world’s best sommelier would be intimidating. After all if anyone knows what wine to choose and the right way to serve it it would be Gerard Basset, who scooped the title back in April (right). But happily Basset is a modest man who puts the comfort of his customers above any desire to flaunt his credentials.

Food and wine matching in Hawke's Bay

Food and wine matching in Hawke's Bay

Hawke’s Bay is a sunny, coastal province, situated in the east of New Zealand’s North Island. The region is gaining repute as a wine and food locale that marries delicious regional cuisine with a diversity of exceptional wines. Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s second largest producer of wine, after the South Island’s Marlborough region, known around the world for its herbaceous, tropical Sauvignon Blancs.

Enfin! French wine tourism moves into the 21st century

Enfin! French wine tourism moves into the 21st century

A few weeks ago I was invited to try out the menu at the Hotel du Vieux Moulin, Domaine Laroche’s wine bar and restaurant in a converted water mill in Chablis. What they didn’t mention was that they’d just opened a cutting edge boutique hotel.

China's glitzy new gastronomy

China's glitzy new gastronomy

In the second of his features on his recent trip to China, food writer and restaurant guide inspector Stuart Walton examines the burgeoning restaurant scene in Beijing and Shanghai

Chez Miton and Au Fil de L’Aigronne: two Loire bargains

Chez Miton and Au Fil de L’Aigronne: two Loire bargains

Instead of hurtling down south on the motorway as we used to do with the kids to minimise family squabbling, we’ve taken to a stately three day progression with frequent stop-offs to visit winemakers, eat or simply drive through France’s beautiful unspoilt countryside and blissfully traffic-free back roads.

An insider's guide to the fish restaurants of Marseille and Cassis

An insider's guide to the fish restaurants of Marseille and Cassis

Travel writer Philip Sweeney hobnobs with the locals, checks out the best places to eat and discovers why fishing for bouillabaisse isn't as easy as it once was . . .

A week’s eating in Paris

A week’s eating in Paris

Spending a whole week in Paris is any foodie’s idea of heaven but how do you choose from the vast amount of restaurants on offer without breaking the bank? If you’ve read about how we planned our recent Paris trip I thought you might like to know where we ended up eating . . .

A great base to explore Beaujolais

A great base to explore Beaujolais

I’m embarrassed to admit that until last week I’d never been to Beaujolais - it was the one French wine region that had passed me by. I’d heard it was attractive and even on a bleak early March day it was - the famous villages are clustered improbably closely together in the middle of pretty, rolling countryside, spiked by soaring church towers.

5 ways to eat cheaply - and well - in Paris

5 ways to eat cheaply - and well - in Paris

Having recently had a whole week in Paris during which we ate out every day we obviously had to watch what we spent. Had we gone to one of the three star temples of gastronomy we could have easily blown our budget in a night.

6 places to stop overnight on your way through France

6 places to stop overnight on your way through France

Every summer we used to drive down to our house in Languedoc in the south of France stopping off a couple of nights on the way. This post on our favourite hotels and chambres d’hotes was written back in 2014 so some of the prices will be out of date.

4 good restaurants in Oxford

4 good restaurants in Oxford

Oxford is a place that doesn’t have a great reputation for food but I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the restaurants we ate in last weekend.

WineTrust100.co.uk

WineTrust100.co.uk

A new online wine store whose USP is only selling 100 wines at any one time - apparently we get confused by more than that.

Top wine finds from Wine Car Boot: Part I

Top wine finds from Wine Car Boot: Part I

A grotty car park under a railway intersection in south London might not strike you as the ideal place for a wine event but with rock music blaring and street food on the side Wine Car Boot was the coolest tasting in town yesterday.

The pros and cons of buying from Naked Wines

The pros and cons of buying from Naked Wines

Naked Wines has been controversial since it launched 4 1/2 years ago but there’s no denying its popularity. The company claims to have over 200,000 customers who buy from it regularly, 125,000 of which are ‘angels’.

More wine finds from Wine Car Boot: Part II

More wine finds from Wine Car Boot: Part II

Yesterday I picked out some of the wines I’d most enjoyed from Wine Car Boot - London’s first wine car boot sale. Today here are 13 more:

Hedonism, Mayfair: a winelovers' playground

Hedonism, Mayfair: a winelovers' playground

London's most luxurious wine shop by far Hedonism looks as if it's the kind of place you'd need to take out a mortgage to buy a case. Fortunately appearances deceive . . .

Why Sabor is one of the hottest tickets in town

Why Sabor is one of the hottest tickets in town

“Eagerly awaited” is a well worn cliché but but aptly describes the opening of Nieves Barragan Mohacho and Jose Etura’s Sabor. Originally scheduled to launch last autumn it took a further 6 months to finally open its doors a year after they left their previous jobs.

Why Le Champignon Sauvage is one of the best restaurants in Britain

Why Le Champignon Sauvage is one of the best restaurants in Britain

A return visit to Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham last week underlined why David-Everitt Mathias is considered one of the 10 best chefs in the country according to the latest Good Food Guide.

Where to eat in Bristol in 2014

Where to eat in Bristol in 2014

Many of these recommendations are now out of date. There is a more recent post of where I recommend to eat in Bristol here.

Wallfish Bistro, Clifton - Bristol’s new culinary hotspot

Wallfish Bistro, Clifton - Bristol’s new culinary hotspot

It’s hard to write a dispassionate account of a restaurant that’s five minutes walk away unless it’s a total car crash and you never want to go there again.

Vinoteca: Soho’s newest wine bar

Vinoteca: Soho’s newest wine bar

Even casual restaurants tend to have such good winelists these days that you might wonder whether there’s much of a market for wine bars. But from the heaving crowd at the newly opened branch of Vinoteca in Beak Street this week it looks like they’re on to a winner.

Two London restaurants you’re going to love

Two London restaurants you’re going to love

It’s rare to find a restaurant that excites almost universal approval but then, like buses, two come along at once. Just before Christmas everyone was raving about the new outpost of Margot Henderson’s Rochelle Canteen at the ICA. This month there’s a general love-in for Parsons in Covent Garden

Trattoria della Posta, Monforte d’Alba - Piemontese food at its simple best

Trattoria della Posta, Monforte d’Alba - Piemontese food at its simple best

Of all the meals we had on my 3 day visit to Piemonte this week Trattoria della Posta was the best. It’s not that the food was different (Piemontese cuisine has a limited repertoire), simply that it was perfectly executed.

Tramontana: ‘Brindisa lite’

Tramontana: ‘Brindisa lite’

I’ve been a huge fan of Brindisa, the Spanish food importer who was probably more responsible than anyone for putting chorizo on our culinary map. They have a great shop in Borough Market and a number of convivial tapas bars so it seemed good news when they announced they were opening Tramontana, a restaurant based on 'speciality dishes from the Spanish Mediterranean'.

Toupeirinho, Matosinhos - a perfect seafood restaurant

Toupeirinho, Matosinhos - a perfect seafood restaurant

Despite the fact that I ate amazing food during my recent weekend in Porto it was the tiny fish restaurant of Toupeirinho in the nearby resort of Matosinhos that stole my heart.

Timberyard - Edinburgh’s most atmospheric restaurant?

Timberyard - Edinburgh’s most atmospheric restaurant?

One of the main problems restaurants have is consistency. Keeping up the standards not only of the food but decor and service. So could Edinburgh’s Timberyard make an equally good impression as it did when I first went 16 months ago?

Three hot restaurants to visit in Paris in spring 2015

Three hot restaurants to visit in Paris in spring 2015

Deciding where to eat in Paris is just as stressful as where to eat in London. There’s just too much choice

The Walnut Tree, Abergavenny

The Walnut Tree, Abergavenny

The Walnut Tree at Llandewi Skirrid has been on my radar for as long as I've been interested in eating out. First under Franco Taruschio and now Shaun Hill, it’s been a place I’ve returned to every couple of years, always wondering why I don’t go more often.

The very civilised Newman Street Tavern

The very civilised Newman Street Tavern

Sometimes it’s good to go to a place without much in the way of expectations. The Newman Street Tavern sounded on the face of it like just another restaurant climbing on the fashionable Fitzrovia bandwagon . . .

The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais

The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais

When I first went to Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek around 10 years ago I was blown away. Since then its chef Margot Janse has become one of the world’s most high profile chefs and the food more experimental. Would the experience be as memorable?

The Hole in the Wall, Little Wilbraham: not your average country pub

The Hole in the Wall, Little Wilbraham: not your average country pub

The Hole in the Wall at Little Wilbraham near Cambridge sounded like the sort of twee country pub that I hate. Discovering it had a celebrity chef and a tasting menu made it appeal even less but on my visit last week I was bowled over

The Dairy, Clapham: Smart, casual

The Dairy, Clapham: Smart, casual

I’d heard good things about The Dairy, not least from my son Will (of Hawksmoor*), one of whose favourite restaurants it is, but being south of the river it took me a while to haul myself down there.

The Colony Grill Room at the Beaumont: pure old-fashioned glamour

The Colony Grill Room at the Beaumont: pure old-fashioned glamour

It has to be said that no-one knows how to do glamour like Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, the founders of the Ivy and the Caprice and, more recently, the Wolseley, the Delaunay and my current favourite, Fischer’s

The Brackenbury: a rather nice restaurant

The Brackenbury: a rather nice restaurant

My father, a sweet man who was never unpleasant about anyone had a phrase for people or places about which he couldn’t summon up much enthusiasm. "Rather nice."

The Barbary, Covent Garden

The Barbary, Covent Garden

There are two good reasons for eating at The Barbary. One is the Jerusalem bagel, a wondrous piece of baking. Served warm from the oven, encrusted in spicy sesame seeds it must be the best bread roll in town.

Thai tapas in Paris at Le Mary Celeste - updated March 2015

Thai tapas in Paris at Le Mary Celeste - updated March 2015

Eating Thai tapas in a city like Paris represents everything I dislike about eating out - a mish-mash of cooking styles, food you can eat anywhere - and yet I loved it. (Apparently the chef has moved on. See my update below from a subsequent visit in March 2015)

Taberna do Mercado, Spitalfields, London

Taberna do Mercado, Spitalfields, London

The hype that accompanies almost every new restaurant launch these days is crazy. We all swarm in, pronounce it the best opening this year then swarm off to the next hotspot.

So what is Sticky Walnut really like?

So what is Sticky Walnut really like?

This is not so much a review as a report from the front line on the UK’s most unlikely gourmet hotspot, Sticky Walnut in Chester.

St Leonards: very cool, very Shoreditch

St Leonards: very cool, very Shoreditch

One of the problems about being a food writer - though I’m not expecting much sympathy from you - is that you’re always chasing the latest new opening. Which means that restaurants you make the effect to go back you feel pretty special about.

Spring, Somerset House - the return of Skye Gyngell

Spring, Somerset House - the return of Skye Gyngell

No restaurant in London can have been more visited or commented on its first couple of weeks than Spring. Everyone seemingly has been there and has a view - not always complimentary - of the merits of chef Skye Gyngell’s return to London.

4 of the hottest new London restaurants (updated)

4 of the hottest new London restaurants (updated)

It's hard to keep up with London restaurant openings these days. The latest hotspot seems to change from week to week but these four should definitely be on your radar in spring 2015.

Simon Rogan at The Cube

Simon Rogan at The Cube

It’s a complete indictment of my lazy southerner mentality that I’ve never made it up to Simon Rogan’s restaurant L’Enclume despite glowing reviews that would have had me charging half way across France for a similar experience.

Shop Eight Food and Wine, Christchurch, New Zealand

Shop Eight Food and Wine, Christchurch, New Zealand

It must take guts to open a restaurant in Christchurch. Four years after the devastating earthquake that demolished much of the historic city centre it still looks like a war zone in places with yawning gaps where local landmarks once were.

Sea Containers at Mondrian: much more fun than it sounds

Sea Containers at Mondrian: much more fun than it sounds

I may have been handicapped by knowing the building previously as an office block but even the name Sea Containers at Mondrian has a corporate ring that makes the heart sink.

Scully: intrepid eating in St James’s

Scully: intrepid eating in St James’s

Sometimes it pays not to look at the menu of a restaurant you’re thinking of going to. I was nearly discouraged from visiting Scully by the vast list of unfamiliar dishes and ingredients. Did I really want to eat puffed beef tendons or Welsh mutton with black barley and bisbas? I wasn’t sure I did.

Sartoria: a smart West End Italian

Sartoria: a smart West End Italian

I’ve always been a fan of Francesco Mazzei’s cooking so when he suddenly left his previous restaurant L’Anima I couldn’t wait for him to pop up somewhere else.

Rovi - Ottolenghi’s latest restaurant is perfect for flexitarians

Rovi - Ottolenghi’s latest restaurant is perfect for flexitarians

I’m writing about Rovi in almost ideal circumstances. After two visits - one very shortly after opening, the other last week, two and a half months later. I could, of course, have reviewed it after the first visit. It was fully open not a discounted ‘soft’ opening yet there isn’t a restaurant that gets into its stride in the first month. American publications insist that their critics go three times before their review is published I believe. In an ideal world you would.

Root, Wapping Wharf, Bristol

Root, Wapping Wharf, Bristol

Veg is the new chicken - or so it seems from the overnight reincarnation of Bristol chef Josh Eggleton’s fried chicken shack Chicken Shed into a largely vegetarian restaurant called Root.

River Cottage Canteen, Bristol: a good place for families

River Cottage Canteen, Bristol: a good place for families

I've never managed to get to one of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's River Cottage Canteens so was intrigued to find one was opening on our doorstep on Bristol's Whiteladies Road

Ristorante Cibreo, Florence

Ristorante Cibreo, Florence

If you’re going to go to a restaurant in a tourist city like Florence it certainly helps to go with a couple of Italians. Especially if one of them is a well-known chef* and - better still - has been recommended by one of his mates at one of the poshest local hotels.

De Librije, Zwolle - a ‘mini-menu’ that’s an 8 course feast

De Librije, Zwolle - a ‘mini-menu’ that’s an 8 course feast

With Sergio Herman of Oud Sluis announcing he intends to close his restaurant at the end of 2013, Jonnie Boer’s De Librije could be left as the only 3 Michelin-starred restaurant in Holland. So what makes it so special?

Radici - Islington's spicy Italian

Radici - Islington's spicy Italian

It’s already a bone of contention between me and my Islington-based friend T that she has an unfairly large number of good restaurants on her doorstep.

The Quality Chop House: a very well-connected wine bar

The Quality Chop House: a very well-connected wine bar

From the outside, the re-opened Quality Chop House in Farringdon may look like yet another retro restaurant revival but the big draw is the wine list put together by its well-connected young proprietors.

Pot Luck Club, Cape Town

Pot Luck Club, Cape Town

All discussions on where to eat in Cape Town tend to end up with a recommendation to eat at what is still generally regarded as the city’s best restaurant, The Test Kitchen. Which is not a wholly practical suggestion as it’s almost impossible to get a table.

Pigging out - literally - at Blackfoot, Exmouth Market

Pigging out - literally - at Blackfoot, Exmouth Market

As soon as I heard that one of my favourite chefs (Allegra McEvedy) was involved in a restaurant dedicated to one of my favourite ingredients (pork) I knew I had to get down there pronto. And you can’t try out a restaurant much sooner than its first full day’s trading.

Peckham Bazaar - well worth the detour

Peckham Bazaar - well worth the detour

The thing about neighbourhood restaurants is that they’re a pain to get to if you’re not a local. In general that’s not a problem. They’re nice for those who live nearby, you tell yourself, but you don’t envy them unduly. But Peckham Bazaar is another matter ...

Pastaiao and the new pasta craze

Pastaiao and the new pasta craze

If you want to open a new restaurant serve pasta. That seems to be the formula for success these days.

Otto’s, London - the perfect place for a four hour lunch

Otto’s, London - the perfect place for a four hour lunch

If you’re a reader of - er, hem - a certain age who longs for the days when French food was fancy and lunches lasted until dinner you’re in luck.

One Leicester Street: an oasis of calm off Leicester Square

One Leicester Street: an oasis of calm off Leicester Square

It would be unfortunate if One Leicester Street became known as the restaurant that used to be St John’s Hotel. Not least because the chef Tom Harris, who used to front the kitchen there but has stayed on to run his own show, has put his own individual stamp on the food.

My two favourite restaurants in Paris

My two favourite restaurants in Paris

Whenever we come to Paris, whatever new places we book, we still always make time to see two old favourites, Le Baratin and Bistrot Paul Bert.

Mission, Bethnal Green

Mission, Bethnal Green

What is a large palm tree doing growing in the heart of Hackney? Let alone INSIDE a building (a converted warehouse set in a railway arch). Well, it’s the latest outpost of hipster winebar Sager & Wilde, now with a fully-fledged restaurant, Mission.

Worth the detour: Mayfields, Wilton Way

Worth the detour: Mayfields, Wilton Way

If you’re not familiar with London Hackney sounds a heck of a long way to go for dinner. But believe me Mayfields is worth it.

Magpie: smart bar food for wine lovers

Magpie: smart bar food for wine lovers

With dozens of restaurants opening every week in London what do you do to stand out from the crowd? The answer, it seems from James Ramsden and Sam Herlihy's recently opened Magpie in Heddon Street, is to pretend you’re a Chinese restaurant and wheel around the menu on a trolley.

Lurra - the latest London restaurant you need to know about

Lurra - the latest London restaurant you need to know about

With so much of what’s going on on the London dining scene happening east of the City it’s good to find a hip new restaurant opening slap in the middle of the West End

Lima, London: a splash of colour in Fitzrovia

Lima, London: a splash of colour in Fitzrovia

It’s unusual these days to come across a menu that’s totally unfamiliar. You can almost predict it. Pork belly? Check. Steak? Check. Sticky toffee pudding? Check. But the recently opened Lima, which specialises in modern Peruvian food, is so startlingly original that it feels like taking a two hour trip to Peru.

L’Escalier, Paris – A Hidden Gem

L’Escalier, Paris – A Hidden Gem

For me, the best thing about being a Parisienne (despite the fact I speak pitiful French and I never have any idea where I am) is the culture surrounding food.

Les Grès, Lindry - a breath of fresh air in Burgundy

Les Grès, Lindry - a breath of fresh air in Burgundy

Burgundian restaurants are some of the most traditional in France but Jérôme Bigot’s charming, original Les Grès wouldn’t disgrace Paris’s fashionable 10th arrondissement.

Les Déserteurs, Paris: two talented renegades

Les Déserteurs, Paris: two talented renegades

I didn’t manage to get to the highly-regarded Le Sargent Recruteur before I heard the original team had moved on so it was good to find them installed at 46 rue Trousseau, the former home of another hit restaurant, Rino*.

Les 110 de Taillevent, Paris - food and wine matching nirvana

Les 110 de Taillevent, Paris - food and wine matching nirvana

An establishment bearing the name Taillevent sounds scarily expensive - the main restaurant is - but don’t let that it you off eating in its very innovative and well-priced brasserie which opened in Paris just under a year ago.

La Chassagnette: so pretty but more misses than hits

La Chassagnette: so pretty but more misses than hits

Given that I plastered photographs of La Chassagnette all over my instagram feed the other day you might think a review was superfluous but the truth is that pretty plates do not necessarily a great restaurant make.

Jeremy Lee at Quo Vadis, Soho

Jeremy Lee at Quo Vadis, Soho

If you want to understand what British cooking is about - not the magpie character of of modern British but the genteel English country house tradition - head for Soho where Jeremy Lee has taken up residence behind the stoves at Quo Vadis.

Islington lucks out with Oldroyd

Islington lucks out with Oldroyd

We got two important things right on our first visit to Oldroyd. We went before most of the reviews came out and there were four of us which gave us an excuse to try practically everything on the menu.

HKK - where the drinks are as fab as the food

HKK - where the drinks are as fab as the food

Maybe Chinese restaurants are like buses. You don’t get any new openings for a while then several come along at once. So after Bo London the other day, it’s HKK, the latest project from the Hakkasan group.

Hix at The Tramshed: chicken, steak and Damien Hirst

Hix at The Tramshed: chicken, steak and Damien Hirst

You’d think the combination of a great site in Hoxton, an installation by Damien Hirst and a steak- and chicken-based menu devised by one of London’s best known and most successful chefs, Mark Hix, would be something you’d hurtle across London for but somehow his new restaurant The Tramshed just doesn't come off.

Hang Fire Southern Kitchen, Barry

Hang Fire Southern Kitchen, Barry

It’s only in the last few years that barbecue has meant more to us Brits than cheap burgers and undercooked chicken legs. Now even Marks & Spencer has an authentic southern barbecue range

Grainstore, Granary Square: where veggies take centre stage

Grainstore, Granary Square: where veggies take centre stage

If you want to understand where the London restaurant scene is heading you need to go to Grainstore. Sure, the capital is still in thrall to pork, barbecue and street food but Bruno Loubet’s exciting and ambitious new project is a clear pointer to the way things are going.

Gordon Ramsay, Royal Hospital Road: is it really worth 10/10?

Gordon Ramsay, Royal Hospital Road: is it really worth 10/10?

I don’t envy Gordon Ramsay - or rather his head chef Clare Smyth - the 10/10 rating they received in this year’s Good Food Guide. It makes people like me think ‘Ha! I wonder if they’re really worth it?’ and book to find out.

First impressions: Merchants Tavern, Shoreditch

First impressions: Merchants Tavern, Shoreditch

It’s hard to talk about Merchants Tavern without telling the story behind it. Which is that it’s a joint collaboration between Britain’s most famous female chef Angela Hartnett and her boyfriend Neil Borthwick.

First Impressions: Ember Yard, Berwick Street

First Impressions: Ember Yard, Berwick Street

As the fourth restaurant in the Salt Yard Group which specialises in Spanish and italian food Ember Yard has a fine pedigree but does it live up to its stablemates?

Fera at Claridge's: a restaurant for a big occasion

Fera at Claridge's: a restaurant for a big occasion

Housed in Gordon Ramsay’s former restaurant in Claridge's, Fera is one of the most high profile restaurant openings in London this year which means that it’s burdened with a high level of expectation.

Ellory, Hackney: well worth the detour

Ellory, Hackney: well worth the detour

With city centre rents unaffordable for most first-time restaurateurs there’s a growing trend for the most exciting openings to be happening in local neighbourhoods. That’s certainly been the case in London for a while.

Duddell's, London - is it as good as Hong Kong?

Duddell's, London - is it as good as Hong Kong?

Unless you’re a seasoned jet-setter it’s not often you have the opportunity to compare a restaurant in London with its counterpart in the far east. But having been to the original Duddell's a year ago in Hong Kong I was intrigued to see how they would translate the experience to London

Duck + Rice: posh Chinese in a Soho pub

Duck + Rice: posh Chinese in a Soho pub

It wasn’t easy getting to Duck + Rice. The first time I tried their kitchens were out of action because the extraction system was down ….

Does La Tupina live up to the hype?

Does La Tupina live up to the hype?

Talk to anyone about the food scene in Bordeaux - and they’ll say in reverential tones - ‘Aaah, but have you been to La Tupina’. I have, twice now, and while I can understand why it stands out in a city that curiously doesn’t have the quality of restaurants to match its wine I’ve never been quite as blown away as my fellow customers seem to be.

Does The Kitchin deserve a second Michelin star?

Does The Kitchin deserve a second Michelin star?

You can’t help feeling that it’s Tom Kitchin’s misfortune to be in Edinburgh. Not because his isn’t proud of his Scottish roots - he obviously is - but because if he were in France I’m sure he’d have two stars rather than one.

Delahunt, Dublin - gorgeous room, classy food

Delahunt, Dublin - gorgeous room, classy food

When I asked Twitter - as you do - where to eat in Dublin I was inundated with replies. There is obviously no shortage of good places to eat in the world’s favourite Irish city.

Da Cesare al Casaletto, Rome - the perfect neighbourhood trat

Da Cesare al Casaletto, Rome - the perfect neighbourhood trat

With trattorias on every street corner you might wonder why you need to jump on a number 8 tram and go to the end of the line to eat but Da Cesare is well worth the detour, as Michelin famously puts it.

CoVino, Venice - a modern enoteca

CoVino, Venice - a modern enoteca

One of the strange things about the restaurant scene in Venice is that the big players are pretty well exactly the same as they were when I last went 10 years ago (yes, way too long!) Only the prices have changed - unfortunately in an upward direction, aggravated by our lamentable exchange rate.

Cell, Berlin

Cell, Berlin

The entrance to Cell looks like something from The Man from U.N.C.L.E, which is funny really as Berlin’s latest hot restaurant opening was conceived by a Russian chef, Evgeny Vikentev. The inspiration, we find out moments later, is not the Cold War, but the Bauhaus.

Caravan Kings Cross: just a very nice restaurant

Caravan Kings Cross: just a very nice restaurant

There was a time when Kings Cross was the last place you’d have gone to for a meal. Still now, despite the gleaming new station makeover, it’s hardly a destination to seek out if you only have a few days in the capital. But if you’ve done Shoreditch and find Soho just too tiresomely hip and crowded head up to Caravan.

Brasserie Zédel: Paris comes to Piccadilly

Brasserie Zédel: Paris comes to Piccadilly

If you’re the kind of sad, unreconstructed Francophile (like me) who thinks French food has gone to the dogs head not for Eurostar but the newly opened Brasserie Zédel in London’s West End. Housed in the late and not-much-lamented Atlantic Bar and Grill near Piccadilly Circus, it occupies a huge subterranean space which has been decked out at eye-watering expense in full fin de siècle style.

Brasserie Chavot: all about the butter

Brasserie Chavot: all about the butter

What is it about the B-word at the moment? Every restaurateur and his dog seems to want to call themselves a brasserie, usually indicating the room is big and has red banquettes. But Brasserie Chavot would be better just called Chavot.

Boulestin, St James’s Street: London’s latest French restaurant isn't quite there yet

Boulestin, St James’s Street: London’s latest French restaurant isn't quite there yet

You’d think London had enough in the way of new French restaurants lately but along comes Boulestin in another bid to seduce the city’s Francophiles. Does it succeed?

Borago: cutting-edge cuisine in Santiago, Chile

Borago: cutting-edge cuisine in Santiago, Chile

Recently voted the eighth best restaurant in Latin America, Boragó is to Santiago as Noma is to Copenhagen. Food and travel writer Qin Xie experiences it for herself.

Bo London: bonkers but brilliant

Bo London: bonkers but brilliant

The best known fact about Alvin Leung the Hong Kong-based chef who has just opened Bo London is that he serves a dish featuring an edible used condom called Sex on the Beach.*

Blunos - posh fish in Bath

Blunos - posh fish in Bath

One of the biggest problems hotels have is how to keep their guests in the building for meals. The solution is generally to employ a celebrity chef and that’s what the County Hotel in Bath has done with Martin Blunos. (Sadly this restaurant has unexpectedly closed.)

Bistro d'Alex, Florensac - a real find in an unlikely location

Bistro d'Alex, Florensac - a real find in an unlikely location

On a return visit this week to Bistro d'Alex in Florensac I found it just as good as it was when the review below was written five years ago - and the set menu, now 18€ (£15.50) for two courses, only 3€ more expensive.

Birch restaurant, Bristol - just simple, lovely food

Birch restaurant, Bristol - just simple, lovely food

From the minimalist decor to the simple seasonal food Bristol’s latest restaurant opening, Birch, will seem instantly familiar to anyone who’s eaten at St John.

Balthazar, London: beautiful but curiously dated

Balthazar, London: beautiful but curiously dated

There’s no doubt about it Balthazar is drop-dead gorgeous. You only have to see the golden lights winking through the windows to be drawn through the door like a moth to a candle. But how does the food stack up?

Auberge de Combes: a real taste of the Languedoc

Auberge de Combes: a real taste of the Languedoc

Over the past few years we’ve become so disillusioned with restaurants in the Languedoc that we almost invariably end up eating at home.

Aron's Jewish Delicatessen - Brooklyn comes to Bristol

Aron's Jewish Delicatessen - Brooklyn comes to Bristol

So it’s not Aaron with two ‘a’s and it’s not a deli but this small, modestly furnished American/Jewish/Hungarian-inspired neighbourhood restaurant is a great addition to the Bristol eating-out scene.

Antica Macelleria Cecchini: meat heaven

Antica Macelleria Cecchini: meat heaven

Hunting horns toot, large slabs of raw meat surround you. Antica Macelleria Cecchini is not the place to go for a romantic night out or - heaven forbid - with a vegetarian.

64 degrees, Brighton

64 degrees, Brighton

The mark of a ‘good ‘critic, my dad always used to say, is that you agree with them. This certainly applies in the case of the Guardian’s Marina O’Loughlin whose view of what makes a great meal (good simple food, lack of pretention) I totally sign up to.

5 reasons why Mirazur is the best restaurant in the world

5 reasons why Mirazur is the best restaurant in the world

You may have heard that Mirazur in Menton has been voted best restaurant in the world at the World’s 50 Best awards this week. You may well not have heard of it and wonder why it’s so special. I was fortunate enough to eat there and interview the chef Mauro Colagreco earlier this month and here’s why I think it made the no 1 slot.

5 of my favourite French restaurants in London

5 of my favourite French restaurants in London

For the past few years French food has been eclipsed by more fashionable Italian and Asian but there are still some great places to go if you want a taste of Paris without having to cross the Channel.

5 fun places to have breakfast in London (updated)

5 fun places to have breakfast in London (updated)

Have you noticed the number of restaurants which have started offering breakfast - and I don’t just mean a full English?

45 Jermyn Street, Fortnum and Mason

45 Jermyn Street, Fortnum and Mason

It’s hard to stand out amidst the flood of new restaurant openings that greet each week in London at the moment but the magical words ‘caviar trolley’ give you as good a chance as any.

28-50 Marylebone: a smart West End wine bar for weary shoppers

28-50 Marylebone: a smart West End wine bar for weary shoppers

Marylebone has been regarded as a foodie mecca for a while but the action's been mainly at the northern end. Now posh wine bar 28-50 has conveniently established an outpost at the entry to Marylebone Lane, not far from Bond Street tube - a new haven for weary shoppers or workers in need of a restorative glass of wine.

10 of the best Bristol restaurants

10 of the best Bristol restaurants

The last time I did a round up of the best places to eat in Bristol was back in 2014. Since then the food scene has exploded to such an extent that I hardly recognise my original list.

10 Greek Street: another hot spot in Soho’s food revolution

10 Greek Street: another hot spot in Soho’s food revolution

Anyone who doubts that London is one of the world’s most exciting cities to eat in should take a trip round Soho, once noted for its sleazy bars and strip joints. Now it’s become the epicentre of Britain’s food revolution - not with the smartest restaurants in town, admittedly, but some of the hippest.

 The return of Henry Harris at The Coach

The return of Henry Harris at The Coach

I sometimes wonder if we value novelty too much. As an avid restaurant-goer the temptation is always to head for the the latest opening - but keeping pace with what’s new inevitably means you don’t spend as much time as you’d like in the places you actually enjoy.

 Mampuku, Bordeaux

Mampuku, Bordeaux

My heart usually sinks when I’m recommended an Asian-fusion restaurant in France. It generally means a mishmash of dishes devised by a chef who’s never set foot on the continent.

 Jikoni: modern Indian home cooking in the heart of Marylebone

Jikoni: modern Indian home cooking in the heart of Marylebone

What makes you want to go back to a restaurant? It may be because it’s convenient for where you live or work. The food certainly has to be good but I think the most important factor is the warmth of the welcome - whether you feel at home there.

Yoghurt-baked fish with walnut-herb crumbs

Yoghurt-baked fish with walnut-herb crumbs

This recipe came from a fascinating dinner at which chef Greg Malouf cooked a selection of Iranian dishes from his book Saraban which he wrote with his former wife Lucy with whom he still collaborates. This unusual and simple fish dish in yoghurt particularly appealed to me and I thought it would to you too.

Wilhelm Coetzee's Butterflied Leg of Lamb

Wilhelm Coetzee's Butterflied Leg of Lamb

I first met winemaker Wilhelm Coetzee back in 2006 when he was working for Flagstone. He's now working at Durbanville Hills and this is his favourite 'braii' recipe.

White onion and bay leaf soup with Ogleshield and hazelnuts

White onion and bay leaf soup with Ogleshield and hazelnuts

I ordered this amazing soup at one of my favourite local Bristol restaurants Wallfish (now Wallfish & Wellbourne) and begged the recipe from the chef, Seldon Curry. It's tastes like the sweetest of oniony fondues and is soooo delicious.

West country chicken casserole with cider, apple and celery

West country chicken casserole with cider, apple and celery

Now we're firmly into autumn why not try this homely, comforting, very English-tasting casserole from my book Meat & Two Veg? Do try and find some proper ‘dirty celery’ with some soil still clinging to the stalks, if you can. It has so much more flavour

Walnut meringue cake with buttermilk cream and poached rhubarb

Walnut meringue cake with buttermilk cream and poached rhubarb

If you're looking for a show-stopping dessert to serve for a summer party try this utterly delicious tiered meringue cake I tasted (correction, 'ate') the other day at The Three Crowns.

Vivek Singh's butter chicken

Vivek Singh's butter chicken

In the run-up to National Curry Week TV chef Vivek Singh shares his favourite recipe for Old Delhi-style butter chicken from his enticing new book Spice at Home.

Veal chops with oysters

Veal chops with oysters

If you're not one for hearts and flowers but still feel like cooking up a special meal for Valentine's night this recipe from Will Beckett, Huw Gott and Richard Turner's Hawksmoor at Home* would fit the bill perfectly.

Upside-down blueberry and elderflower cake

Upside-down blueberry and elderflower cake

If you're thinking of celebrating Midsummer Day this weekend here’s a fabulous pudding cake from my friend Scandinavian food writer, Signe Johansen’s Scandilicious Baking.

Two last minute Thanksgiving cocktails

Two last minute Thanksgiving cocktails

You're probably all organised for the great day but just in case, here are a couple of clever ideas for festive cocktails using storecupboard ingredients from mixologist Myles Davies.

Twice-baked goats' cheese soufflés

Twice-baked goats' cheese soufflés

A classic starter from the ‘70’s but one that our customers seem to enjoy every bit as much today. This version originally came from a book called Take Twelve Cooks and was one of Pru Leith’s recipes. However Stephen Bull attributes it to Peter Kromberg of Le Soufflé at the Intercontinental who was also featured in the book . . .

Tomato Tonnato

Tomato Tonnato

Few recipes are truly original but this twist on the classic vitello tonnato from Ed Smith of Rocket and Squash, using tomatoes as the base instead of roast veal is just inspired.

Tom Parker-Bowles Neapolitan Ragù

Tom Parker-Bowles Neapolitan Ragù

If you think you have the ultimate bolognese recipe, think again. Try this fantastic version from Tom Parker-Bowles book Let's Eat Meat. I love Tom's style of writing - do read the great introduction:

Thomasina Miers' Mole Amarillo

Thomasina Miers' Mole Amarillo

To celebrate Day of the Dead - or maybe even Bonfire Night - here's a fabulous warming spicy Mexican stew for 10 from Thomasina Miers' Wahaca: Mexican food at Home.

The ultimate strawberry tartlets

The ultimate strawberry tartlets

Before home-grown strawberries disappear totally from the shops, a re-run of what I reckon is the ultimate strawberry tart recipe from Orlando Murrin's irresistible book, A Table in the Tarn and which he used to serve at his French guest house Le Manoir de Raynaudes.

The Opera Tavern's Italian-style Scotch Eggs

The Opera Tavern's Italian-style Scotch Eggs

One of the most popular dishes at Opera Tavern from the excellent new Salt Yard cookbook which, interestingly, is self-published. And includes drink recommendations. Hurray!

Thanksgiving turkey with a special Italian stuffing

Thanksgiving turkey with a special Italian stuffing

If you haven't yet decided how to cook your Thanksgiving turkey try this fabulous Italian stuffing from ex-pat American food and wine writer Brian St Pierre.

Tagliolini au Gratin with Prawns and Treviso

Tagliolini au Gratin with Prawns and Treviso

A lovely Venetian pasta recipe from Jacob Kennedy’s fantastic Bocca di Lupo cookbook which was shortlsted for Best Cookery Book in last year's Guild of Food Writer Awards.

Sybil Kapoor's apple and blackberry meringue

Sybil Kapoor's apple and blackberry meringue

A lovely seasonal dessert from Sybil Kapoor's National Trust - Simply Baking. "Soft-baked meringues make a gorgeous pudding in the early autumn, especially when topped with cider-poached fruit and apple brandy cream."

Supreme of guinea fowl with broad beans, fresh morels and herb gnocchi

Supreme of guinea fowl with broad beans, fresh morels and herb gnocchi

A smashing recipe from Chris and Jeff Galvin's Galvin: a Cookbook de Luxe which you could make to impress on Father's Day. It's one of those books that teaches you to cook like a Michelin-starred chef - so also a great present for any Dad who fancies himself in the kitchen.

Summer gooseberry and raspberry upside-down cake

Summer gooseberry and raspberry upside-down cake

If you're looking for the perfect summer dessert to make for friends try Rosie Birkett's Summer gooseberry and raspberry upside-down cake from her lovely new book The Joyful Home Cook.

Sticky Pork Ribs Marinated in Black Vinegar, Muscovado and Spices

Sticky Pork Ribs Marinated in Black Vinegar, Muscovado and Spices

One of the most exciting books to come out this year so far has beeen Angela Clutton's The Vinegar Cupboard which not only explains the origin of different vinegars and their culinary uses but contains some excellent recipes.

Sticky blackcurrant shallots

Sticky blackcurrant shallots

A really easy, delicious preserve using red wine and cassis from Sybil Kapoor's recently released The Great British Vegetable Cookbook - a great present for anyone who has an allotment.

Steamed sea bass with ginger and spring onion/Qing zheng lu yu 清蒸鱸魚

Steamed sea bass with ginger and spring onion/Qing zheng lu yu 清蒸鱸魚

One of the simplest Chinese recipes but a perfect one for the Chinese new year according to cookery writer Fuchsia Dunlop, author of the brllliant Every Grain of Rice

Spinach & agushi curry

Spinach & agushi curry

I recently chaired a panel on women in food at the Abergavenny Food Festival which included the wonderful Zoe Adjonyoh. I hadn't seen her book Zoe's Ghana Kitchen before but discovered it was full of the most delicious recipes, many of them vegan.

Spinach & goat’s cheese croquetas

Spinach & goat’s cheese croquetas

Of all the things I eat at Jose Pizarro's lovely tapas bar José, the croquetas are my favourite. Here's a recipe for the spinach ones from his brilliant book Basque.

Spicy chicken salad

Spicy chicken salad

We normally think of lunchboxes in terms of kids' packed lunches but James Ramsden has come up with this a brilliant book of imaginative dishes you can take to work. Called - appropriately enough - Love your Lunchbox.

Spiced Venison with Wild Mushroom and Truffle Sauce

Spiced Venison with Wild Mushroom and Truffle Sauce

An elegant main course recipe* from one of my favourite food writers Sue Lawrence's A Cook’s Tour of Scotland that would be a great option for a haggis-free Burns' Night supper.

Spiced Paneer, Spinach and Pea Grain Bowl with Mint Yoghurt Sauce

Spiced Paneer, Spinach and Pea Grain Bowl with Mint Yoghurt Sauce

The big trend for cookbooks this year is vegetarian food and no-one is better able to hold your hand and give you inspiration than my pal Elly Pear. This delicious weekday recipe, which can be rustled up in 20 minutes, comes from her new book Green.

Soup for Syria: spiced red lentil soup

Soup for Syria: spiced red lentil soup

I don't often post commercial recipes but this delicious soup from London restaurant Arabica Bar & Kitchen is being promoted in a very good cause.

Smoked trout with griddled lemon, cucumber & sourdough croutons

Smoked trout with griddled lemon, cucumber & sourdough croutons

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 salmon and radish salad

Smoked salmon and radish salad

If you loathe the thought of diet food Fast Days and Feast Days by my mate Elly Curshen (aka Elly Pear) is just the book for you!

Slow-cooked ox cheek in spicy tomato sauce

Slow-cooked ox cheek in spicy tomato sauce

A warming wintry recipe from José Pizarro's latest book Catalonia - the perfect dish to cook as the nights draw in.

Simon Hopkinson's Oysters Rockefeller

Simon Hopkinson's Oysters Rockefeller

I've always been intrigued by Oysters Rockefeller, described by the great Simon Hopkinson as "the best hot oyster dish I know". Here's his recipe.

Simit with lemon and thyme-baked feta

Simit with lemon and thyme-baked feta

If you've ever toyed with the idea of buying a wood-fired oven Genevieve Taylor's new book The Ultimate Wood Fired Oven Cookbook should persuade you. (And it didn't even cost a fortune. She built it herself!)

Signe Johansen’s Oatmeal Waffles

Signe Johansen’s Oatmeal Waffles

If ever a bit of hygge was needed it’s this week so what better way to cheer yourself up than to bunker down with a few delicious Norwegian style waffles from my friend Signe Johansen’s lovely new book How to Hygge.

Sierra Nevada chicken

Sierra Nevada chicken

A bit of a blast from the past, this. It comes from An Appetite for Ale, the beer and food book I wrote with my son Will at the time he owned a pub, the Marquess Tavern back in 2007.

Sherry Cobbler

Sherry Cobbler

Given the growing popularity of sherry cocktails and the fact that it's World Sherry Day this weekend here's a recipe for a sherry cobbler from Hawksmoor at Home (my son's restaurant, I have to confess).

Sheekey's famous fish pie

Sheekey's famous fish pie

Any of you who have been to J Sheekey's in the West End will probably have succumbed to their unbelievably good fish pie. Here's the recipe from their cookbook J Sheekey Fish.

Shanghai red-braised pork with eggs

Shanghai red-braised pork with eggs

If you're looking for something to make for the Chinese New Year try this marvellous recipe from Fuchsia Dunlop's Land of Fish & Rice (Note: Fuchsia recommends you make it a day ahead.)

Seftali

Seftali

We tend to think of barbecue as American but of course many cuisines involve dishes that are cooked over coals such as these delicious kebabs from Selin Kiazim's fabulous book Oklava.

Seamus Mullen's kale salad with apple, toasted pecans and yoghurt and dill vinaigrette

Seamus Mullen's kale salad with apple, toasted pecans and yoghurt and dill vinaigrette

I've never really 'got' kale but this delicious salad would convert anybody. AND it's healthy too!

Scallop Ceviche

Scallop Ceviche

Now that the days are (finally) getting longer and - a little - warmer your mind may be turning to lighter food like this delicious scallop ceviche from Rick and Katie Toogood's Prawn on the Lawn: Fish and Seafood to Share.

Sausages with rich Guinness gravy

Sausages with rich Guinness gravy

If you don’t like Guinness don’t be put off making this recipe for St Patrick's Day from my book Sausage & Mash. It makes the most fantastic dark, rich, sticky onion gravy that doesn’t taste remotely of beer.

Salted Salmon with Tarragon Butter

Salted Salmon with Tarragon Butter

I've been absorbed by a fascinating new book by award-winning food writer Sybil Kapoor called Sight Smell Touch Taste Sound which reveals the role our senses can play in the way we cook and eat.

Salmon in pastry with currants and ginger

Salmon in pastry with currants and ginger

This is one of my favourite recipes ever - made famous by the late, great George Perry-Smith and faithfully reproduced by one of his most talented protegés Stephen Markwick.

Salmon burgers with goats cheese and sundried tomatoes

Salmon burgers with goats cheese and sundried tomatoes

Burgers don't have to be beefy as these delicious salmon burgers from my book An Appetite for Ale prove, inspired by browsing the aisles of the Wholefoods market in Denver during the Great American Beer Festival a few years back!

Cyrus Todiwala's Saffron and Cardamom Crème Brûlée

Cyrus Todiwala's Saffron and Cardamom Crème Brûlée

This is an amazing recipe I tasted earlier this year at the London Wine Fair and persuaded chef Cyrus Todiwala of Café Spice Namasté to share. He says it's not yet in any of his books so you're not to nick it and pass it off as yours!

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.

Rosemary, Polenta and Olive Oil Biscuits

Rosemary, Polenta and Olive Oil Biscuits

At this time of year no-one wants to spend too much time in the kitchen but it's well worth the few minutes it takes to rustle up these incredibly easy and delicious home-made biscuits from food writer Xanthe Clay's lovely book The Contented Cook - perfect, she says, with ice cream or with raspberries and cream

Rosemary and chilli panisse

Rosemary and chilli panisse

I was thrilled to find this recipe in chef Claire Thomson's brilliant new book The Five o'clock Apron. It's an irresistible snack I always order in her restaurant Flinty Red.

Rose petal cupcakes

Rose petal cupcakes

I call these cupcakes but in fact they're more like old-fashioned English fairy cakes which seem more appropriate for the Jubilee. I must say I prefer them. Made with butter rather than oil they taste more natural and 'cakey than an American-style cupcake and have about a third the amount of icing.

Root Vegetable Stew with Herb and Mustard Dumplings

Root Vegetable Stew with Herb and Mustard Dumplings

If you've been experimenting with vegan food this January or 'veganuary' as it's been dubbed you'll know that vegan food doesn't have to be insubstantial or, indeed uninteresting. For those of you who remain to be convinced here's a hearty stew from Rachel Demuth of Demuth's Cookery School in Bath which contains both cider and sherry!

Roasted red pepper and anchovy salad on roasted garlic toasts

Roasted red pepper and anchovy salad on roasted garlic toasts

A great recipe for a simple tapa from José Pizarro's lovely book Spanish Flavours. José, as you may know if you're based in the UK, has a cracking tapas bar in Bermondsey called José and a slightly more formal restaurant in the same street called Pizarro.

Roast vegetable stacks

Roast vegetable stacks

Another recipe for your World Cup celebrations from the Van Loveren family. It comes from the new Wines of South Africa cookbook Cape Wine Braai Masters but you could equally well cook it with a conventional oven and grill.

Roast supreme of guinea fowl with sherry and grapes

Roast supreme of guinea fowl with sherry and grapes

A perfect autumnal dinner party recipe from James Ramsden's lovely book Do Ahead Dinners.

Roast Pumpkin with Savoury Sage & Pumpkin Seed Granola

Roast Pumpkin with Savoury Sage & Pumpkin Seed Granola

Those of you who are sceptical about vegan food should try this delicious recipe from Mildreds Vegan Cookbook by Daniel Acevedo and Sarah Wasserman. Yes, it's vegan but omnivores would enjoy it too and the pumpkin seed granola is wonderfully versatile.

Roast harissa butter chicken and cracked wheat

Roast harissa butter chicken and cracked wheat

What do you do if it's a perfect summer day and you still want a Sunday roast? Make this fabulous recipe from Georgie Hayden's wonderful book Stirring Slowly, one of my favourite books of last year

Risotto of smoked haddock, leeks and cauliflower with a vadouvan dressing

Risotto of smoked haddock, leeks and cauliflower with a vadouvan dressing

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.

Rigatoni with aubergine (eggplant), sausage and Zinfandel sauce

Rigatoni with aubergine (eggplant), sausage and Zinfandel sauce

A really robust pasta dish from my book Cooking with Wine - perfect for cold weather eating. The wine gives a richer, more warming flavour than the usual tomato-based sauce.

Richard Turner's beef rendang

Richard Turner's beef rendang

If you like a bit of a project make Richard Turner's beef rendang this weekend - one of his favourite recipes, he tells me, from his brilliant new book PRIME.

Rhubarb & strawberry crumble sundae

Rhubarb & strawberry crumble sundae

It was the savoury dishes that initially attracted me to Henry Dimbleby and Jane Baxter’s excellent Leon: Fast Vegetarian but this is a cracking dessert with in-season rhubarb.

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.

Red wine spaghetti with olives and anchovies

Red wine spaghetti with olives and anchovies

I stumbled across a recipe for cooking spaghetti in red wine when I was researching my latest book Wine lover's kitchen. It sounded so bizarre I had to give it a try and can vouch for the fact that it’s delicious! It would be a bit expensive to make for a crowd so this quantity is designed to feed 2–3. And my version is dairy-free.

Real Texas Style Beef Brisket

Real Texas Style Beef Brisket

With July 4th falling on a Saturday chances are you’re going to be thinking barbecue this weekend. Here’s an authentic Texan style BBQ recipe from “Slow Fire, The Beginners Guide To Barbecue” by Ray Lampe, aka Dr. BBQ.

Raw cauliflower, mushroom and feta salad

Raw cauliflower, mushroom and feta salad

This delicious salad is inspired by one I ate in a brilliant fast food restaurant called Food Chain in Montreal last year. They shred the vegetables to order then serve them in bowls with an accompanying dressing and topping (mixed seeds in this case).

Raspberry and cherry beer jellies

Raspberry and cherry beer jellies

If you're having a late summer barbecue this weekend here is one of the most delicious - and surprising recipes - from my book An Appetite for Ale. I love serving them because no-one has the faintest idea they have beer in them.

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.

Rabbit stifado

Rabbit stifado

A robust, winey stew from Rebecca Seal's mouthwatering new book, The Islands of Greece which immediately makes you want to jump on a plane and fly off there. Top tip about cooking rabbit too.

Rabbit Richard Olney

Rabbit Richard Olney

Maybe its because I've just been to Provence but one of the nicest books to arrive through my letter box this summer is Alex Jackson's Sardine which is full of recipes he cooks at his London restaurant of the same name. I've been there a couple of times and really loved it.

Quinoa Fritters with Green Goddess Sauce

Quinoa Fritters with Green Goddess Sauce

A new book from Claire Thomson (aka Five o'clock Apron) is always a treat and New Kitchen Basics is no exception. Like all Claire's books it manages to be both practical and inspirational with recipes you can fit in with daily life but which give your cooking a real lift. And they work too. This she describes as 'bombproof'!

Quick tiger prawns (shrimp) with pinot grigio, fresh tomato and basil sauce

Quick tiger prawns (shrimp) with pinot grigio, fresh tomato and basil sauce

It's always a struggle to think of something quick and delicious to make for a mid-week supper. This easy Italian-inspired recipe from my book Cooking With Wine solves the problem.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Flageolet Beans with Preserved Lemon Mayo

Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Flageolet Beans with Preserved Lemon Mayo

Many of this year's most appealing cookbooks are vegetarian which should be welcome to all of us who are looking for new ways of cooking and serving veg. This delicious recipe comes from Vegetarian Sheet Pan Cooking by food writer and private chef Liz Franklin.

Pumpkin (or butternut squash) muffins for Hallowe'en

Pumpkin (or butternut squash) muffins for Hallowe'en

"Hallowe'en's always a great excuse to let your imagination run riot and to make some spectacularly spooky food" says cookery writer Signe Johansen.

Pumpkin, coconut and lentil soup

Pumpkin, coconut and lentil soup

If you're carving a pumpkin for Hallowe'en this weekend here's a gorgeous spicy soup from Jenny Chandler's excellent book Pulse to make with the discarded pulp.

Puff pastry baked–Camembert  with quince and roasted garlic

Puff pastry baked–Camembert with quince and roasted garlic

This is one of the many enticing recipes in The Orchard Cook, a beautifully illustrated book I was sent by photographer and food writer Stuart Ovenden and which provides inspiring ideas as to what to do with autumnal fruits such as apples, pears and quince.

Prawn, lime, peanut and herb rice noodles

Prawn, lime, peanut and herb rice noodles

If you've always thought cooking for yourself is a bit dispiriting buy Signe Johansen's book Solo which is full of delicious and inspiring recipes like this zingy pad thai-ish dish of prawn noodles.