Pairings | B

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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:

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?

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 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.

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.

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

 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

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

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.

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.

 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?

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.

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 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.

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?

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.

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?

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?

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.

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.

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.

Pairing food and Chablis

Pairing food and Chablis

Despite the emphasis that winemakers place on the different crus or terroirs of Chablis three factors seem to me to influence a food match more than any other for most of the Chablis you’ll taste - the age of the wine, the vintage and the degree of oak influence, if any.

Tags: ham with parsley mature wine mature Chablis old Chablis grand cru pork chops premier cru white burgundy burgundy Chardonnay Chablis andouillette drink:white wine jambon persillé charcuterie food:pork rabbit rabbit with mustard ham with parsley mature Chablis lapin à la moutarde ham mature wine old Chablis grand cru pork chops premier cru white burgundy burgundy Chardonnay Chablis drink:white wine andouillette jambon persillé charcuterie food:pork rabbit rabbit with mustard lapin à la moutarde old Gouda Vieux Comté ceps Soumaintrain Epoisses washed-rind cheese pheasant guinea fowl chicken roast chicken halibut Dover sole turbot crab scallops Chaource goats cheese sashimi sushi seafood risotto fish stew mayonnaise oeufs en meurette fish pie salmon grilled fish poached fish puréed vegetable soup vegetable soup garlic butter prawns snails fried fish gougons chips fish mussels fish and chips moules marinières clams spaghetti alla vongole food:pasta, rice & noodles seafood oysters shellfish cheese gougères cheesy nibbles food:fish & shellfish food:chicken & poultry ham with parsley ham food:soups & starters mature wine mature Chablis old Chablis pork chops grand cru old Gouda Vieux Comté ceps Soumaintrain Epoisses washed-rind cheese pheasant guinea fowl chicken roast chicken halibut Dover sole turbot crab scallops Chaource goats cheese sashimi sushi seafood risotto fish stew fish pie oeufs en meurette mayonnaise salmon grilled fish poached fish puréed vegetable soup vegetable soup garlic butter prawns snails fried fish gougons chips mussels fish and chips fish spaghetti alla vongole clams moules marinières food:pasta, rice & noodles seafood shellfish oysters cheesy nibbles food:fish & shellfish cheese gougères food:chicken & poultry food:soups & starters ham ham with parsley mature wine mature Chablis old Chablis pork chops grand cru premier cru white burgundy burgundy Chardonnay Chablis andouillette drink:white wine jambon persillé charcuterie premier cru white burgundy burgundy Chardonnay Chablis drink:white wine andouillette jambon persillé charcuterie food:pork food:pork rabbit rabbit rabbit with mustard rabbit with mustard lapin à la moutarde lapin à la moutarde old Gouda old Gouda Vieux Comté Vieux Comté ceps ceps Soumaintrain Soumaintrain Epoisses Epoisses washed-rind cheese washed-rind cheese pheasant pheasant guinea fowl guinea fowl chicken roast chicken chicken roast chicken halibut halibut Dover sole Dover sole turbot turbot crab crab scallops scallops Chaource Chaource goats cheese goats cheese sashimi sashimi sushi sushi seafood risotto seafood risotto fish stew fish stew fish pie fish pie oeufs en meurette oeufs en meurette mayonnaise mayonnaise salmon salmon grilled fish grilled fish poached fish poached fish puréed vegetable soup puréed vegetable soup vegetable soup vegetable soup garlic butter garlic butter prawns prawns snails snails fried fish fried fish gougons gougons chips chips fish fish fish and chips fish and chips mussels mussels moules marinières moules marinières clams clams spaghetti alla vongole spaghetti alla vongole food:pasta, rice & noodles food:pasta, rice & noodles seafood shellfish seafood shellfish oysters oysters cheesy nibbles cheesy nibbles gougères gougères cheese cheese food:fish & shellfish food:fish & shellfish food:chicken & poultry food:chicken & poultry food:soups & starters food:soups & starters ham
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Top wine and beer matches for game

Top wine and beer matches for game

We Brits have always had a reputation for liking our wines old and our game high but times have changed. Today the key factor in matching game tends to be not how ‘gamey’ it is but how it’s cooked and what is served with it.

The 10 best wines for spring and early summer drinking

The 10 best wines for spring and early summer drinking

The last two days have been quite, quite beautiful, starting mistily, basking midday in an unseasonally warm sun and finishing with an extended dusk that announces that spring is finally here. I immediately want to eat lighter meals: the new season’s vegetables are not quite in yet but I can at least plan for summer and that means a spring clean of the cellar, pushing the full bodied reds to the back and assessing what whites, lighter reds and rosés I still have lurking in the racks.

Which wines to drink on St Patrick's Day

Which wines to drink on St Patrick's Day

It’s hard to avoid the obvious on St Paddy’s Day. Guinness, Bailey’s and Irish whiskey are the usual suspects but if none of these appeals here are the sort of wines that will work with classic Irish fare.

What to drink with foraged food?

What to drink with foraged food?

Mark Hix, a great forager himself, concentrates on recipes you can make from the hedgerow this week in The Independent (now is a good time to go to his new restaurant, I suggest . . . ) so I’m thinking a little outside the box as to what to pair with them. Country wines, made with hedgerow fruits, seem the perfect answer. I don’t know why we don’t see more of them.

Craft beer and BBQ

Craft beer and BBQ

Although I regularly recommend wines to pair with barbecue - most recently in my Guardian column - I’m actually an equal fan of beer. In fact I think many types of barbecue work better with it.

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!)

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.

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.

5 great matches for IPA

5 great matches for IPA

Of course it depends what type of IPA you're talking about. A relatively light style will lead you in a different direction from a huge, hoppy double IPA, but these I think would be my top five . . .

Slow-roast lamb with garlic and rosemary and Rustenberg John X Merriman 2005

Slow-roast lamb with garlic and rosemary and Rustenberg John X Merriman 2005

My first Match of the Week of the New Year is a classic but none the worse for that: an award-winning South African Bordeaux blend with a slow roast leg of lamb flavoured with garlic and rosemary.

Ribs, bourbon and picklebacks

Ribs, bourbon and picklebacks

It’s not often these days that I hit on a totally new discovery but this combination at the newly opened Pitt Cue Co, a southern American-style ribshack is the business.

Lapin au vin and Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir

Lapin au vin and Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir

The other night I went back to one of my favourite restaurants Ransome’s Dock, a friendly neighbourhood restaurant in Battersea that has great food and an even more stellar wine list, put together with detailed and well-written tasting notes by chef/proprietor Martin Lam. (You can download it from the site)

Possibly the best truffle dinner ever

Possibly the best truffle dinner ever

Did I want to go on a truffle trip to Spain at the end of January? Balmy Barbados seemed like a better option but since that wasn’t on the cards and the enquiry came from an old friend I said yes. The 2 day visit - the annual Viñas del Vero ‘Days of Wine and Truffles’ in Somontano would include an outdoor picnic in the foothills of the Pyrenees (eek), a truffle hunt and - the clincher - a multi-course truffle menu by one of the region’s most talented chefs followed by a gastronomic brunch. “Bring the Gaviscon”. my friend sagely advised.

Thai beef salad and off-dry Riesling

Thai beef salad and off-dry Riesling

It’s easy to get stuck in the trap of thinking red wine is the only accompaniment for meat, especially red meat but in these days of multi-cultural eating that’s not necessarily true. And a good case in point is a Thai beef salad with its zingy, hot/sour flavours which influence the match much more than the beef does.

Roast turbot with wild mushrooms and white Minervois

Roast turbot with wild mushrooms and white Minervois

I spent last week in the Languedoc where we visit quite regularly so there weren’t many new food and wine discoveries to be made but I think the most thought-provoking match was a main course dish of roast turbot with girolles and a bottle of Château Cabezac 'Alice' 2008 from the Minervois I had at a restaurant in Agde called Le Bistrot d’Hervé.

A spring lunch for 4

A spring lunch for 4

Although it's still a bit nippy at night, the blossom is out, it feels like spring and the clocks are going forward in the UK this weekend. So here's a light lunch to enjoy with a couple of friends that has a touch of spring about it but still includes a warming stew.

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):

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.

Lamb Boulangère with spruce beer

Lamb Boulangère with spruce beer

I've been looking forward to beer writer Melissa Cole's new book The Beer Kitchen since I heard about it a few months ago. As I expected it's packed not only with delicious recipes but some great suggestions for the type of beers to use in and pair with each dish (see the Cook and Pair suggestions below)

In search of the perfect steak wine

In search of the perfect steak wine

This report on a steak and wine tasting I did at Hawksmoor Spitalfields back in 2007 is now over 10 years old but the advice still holds good. It's quite a long read though so for more concise steak and wine matching advice head to The Best Wine Pairings for Steak.

Piggie burger and Pinot Noir

Piggie burger and Pinot Noir

Pigs and Pinot is a well established combination that is the focus of an annual celebration at Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen at the Hotel Healdsburg and after reminding myself of the combination last week at Daniel Boulud’s new London outpost Bar Boulud I can see why.

Kibbeh and Domaine des Tourelles red

Kibbeh and Domaine des Tourelles red

I agonised over whether this should be the standout pairing from this marvellous Lebanese meal at Arabica last week but it won by just a whisker.

Cru classé Bordeaux and rack of lamb

Cru classé Bordeaux and rack of lamb

Just as last week’s match of the week was a classic - so is this week’s: the main course we had at Oliver Peyton’s National Gallery Café at a dinner to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Circle of Wine Writers.

Chilli con carne and American brown ale

Chilli con carne and American brown ale

If you’re lighting a few fireworks for the kids (or yourselves, of course . . . ) tonight and hanging round in the cold you’ll need some warming food and a good chilli hits the spot perfectly

Cheeseburgers and cabernet

Cheeseburgers and cabernet

Last night we went round to some new friends and they made the most delicious home-made burgers.

Boeuf bourguignon and Saint-Romain

Boeuf bourguignon and Saint-Romain

It should really come as no surprise that a beef stew made with red burgundy should pair with red burgundy but when you think about it it’s not a given. A rich stew cooked for hours in red wine accompanied with a light red burgundy doesn’t sound like a match made in heaven even if the cooking wine involved is burgundy.

A Middle-Eastern inspired barbecue for eight

A Middle-Eastern inspired barbecue for eight

Here's a barbecue with a difference from my book Food, Wine and Friends. The centrepiece is a spiced, butterflied leg of lamb served with a delicious Turkish-style bulghur wheat salad called Kisir. Finish with grilled nectarines or, if you prefer to have your dessert prepared ahead, some refreshing wine jellies.

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.

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.

Lamb and porcini kebabs with sage and parmesan

Lamb and porcini kebabs with sage and parmesan

Maybe I've got a bit overexcited with all the sun this week but the barbecue season doesn't seem that far away so it was good to find Dan Vaux-Nobes' 101 BBQ and Grill recipes arriving through my letterbox.

How to drink vodka like a Russian

How to drink vodka like a Russian

I have to admit I accepted Leonid Shutov’s invitation to taste vodka with some trepidation having heard tales of the hangovers that some of my colleagues had suffered as a result of their visits to his Soho restaurant Bob Bob Ricard.

10 Australian Shiraz - and Shiraz blends - that might surprise you

10 Australian Shiraz - and Shiraz blends - that might surprise you

Although there’s still plenty of the rich, lush style of Shiraz we’ve come to associate with Australia there’s more than one style as I discovered on my recent trip. If you like more restrained, even funky syrahs, Australian producers can deliver. Unsurprisingly many of them are organic or biodynamic and made with a minimum of sulphur. Most are from cooler vineyards. Take your pick . . .

The best food matches with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

The best food matches with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

The flavours of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc - and this is why it is so popular - are powerful and aromatic: citrus, gooseberry and passionfruit in spades. So you if you're looking for a food match need big flavours on your plate to stand up to it.

Lamb with coriander and the Garage Wine Company's Cabernet/Carignan

Lamb with coriander and the Garage Wine Company's Cabernet/Carignan

This is possibly the most off-the-wall pairing I encountered on my recent Chilean trip and for that reason the most exciting - both on account of the food and the wine.

La Réserve de Léoville Barton with roast lamb and salsa verde

La Réserve de Léoville Barton with roast lamb and salsa verde

We had a celebration dinner with old friends the other night at my favourite local restaurant Culinaria so cracked open a bottle of La Réserve de Léoville Barton 2004*, a St Julien and the second wine of Léoville Barton. It really was quite lovely - rich, plummy, velvety - at its peak but with a few more years to go. It was everything you want from red Bordeaux (unless you have bottomless pockets)

Kylie Kwong's roasted beef fillet with Cape Mentelle Cabernet Merlot

Kylie Kwong's roasted beef fillet with Cape Mentelle Cabernet Merlot

Celebrations come thick and fast at this time of the year - first Burns' Night, and now Chinese New Year and Australia Day. Since both fall on the same day this year I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone (terrible expression but you know what I mean) and mark the Year of the Ox with a beef recipe matched with an Australian wine.

Haggis and Westmalle Dubbel

Haggis and Westmalle Dubbel

If you’re going to or hosting a Burns’ Night dinner tonight and want to create a bit of a stir, crack open a bottle of Westmalle Dubbel, a classic Belgian Trappist ale that is still made by monks at the monastery of Westmalle. You could of course drink a Scottish beer - there are plenty of good ones - but haggis to my mind needs a bit of roundness, sweetness and strength, qualities you find more often in Belgian than British beers.

Gladstone Pinot Noir and hare royale

Gladstone Pinot Noir and hare royale

My match of the week has to include Gladstone Pinot Noir from Wairarapa in New Zealand which featured in two unexpectedly good pairings at two different restaurants.

Braised short ribs in red wine with Les Clos Perdus Corbières

Braised short ribs in red wine with Les Clos Perdus Corbières

The weather has been so absurdly autumnal this week that I cooked a substantial stew for friends on Saturday night, an intensely flavoured braise of beef short ribs (or pot au feu as our local butcher describes them) with plenty of lush, red wine (a Valdivieso Cabernet Sauvignon from the Maipo Valley in Chile which is part of the Waitrose own label range).

Braised short ribs and Monastrell (aka Mourvèdre)

Braised short ribs and Monastrell (aka Mourvèdre)

One of the tricky decisions to make when you’re serving a rich, winey stew is whether to go for a wine of equal weight or a lighter medium-bodied wine as a refreshing contrast.

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?

Navarin of lamb

Navarin of lamb

I made this simple, classic French one-pot meal down in the Languedoc in April last year - proof that a stew hits the spot at what can still be a chilly time of year.

A Champagne dinner fit for sommeliers

A Champagne dinner fit for sommeliers

One of the aspects of the World’s Best Sommelier competition I hadn’t really thought about is how on earth you create a menu for a roomful of sommeliers. And choose wine pairings they won’t be sniffy about. One way is to impress them with large format bottles and old vintages which is the route competition sponsor Moët et Chandon took . . .

When food and wine matching doesn't matter

When food and wine matching doesn't matter

Although I make my living writing about how food can enhance wine - and vice versa - I would never want to be dogmatic about it and freely admit that there are occasions when it matters less than others.

Strong ale and haggis

Strong ale and haggis

This week’s match is a predictive one rather than one I’ve recently experienced as I’ve been invited to a Burn’s Night dinner tomorrow night by the quirky Brewdog brewery and don’t yet know what the outcome will be.

Roast beef and Bordeaux

Roast beef and Bordeaux

OK, this is one of the most classic wine pairings in the world but none the worse for that.

Côte de Boeuf and Ridge Monte Bello 1999

Côte de Boeuf and Ridge Monte Bello 1999

Last week was a particularly indulgent one for dining out so it was a tough call coming up with my match of the week but I think it has to be the Côte du Boeuf I had at Racine with a stellar bottle of Ridge’s 1999 Monte Bello

Chargilled steak with Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon

Chargilled steak with Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon

Steak and red wine sounds too obvious a pairing to highlight but sometimes it hits the spot so perfectly it’s worth being reminded there’s nothing better you can eat with a good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon (unless you’re a vegetarian, obviously . . .)

Braised ox cheek and Lalande de Pomerol

Braised ox cheek and Lalande de Pomerol

As is often the way Christmas wasn’t a time for any startling food and wine discoveries, rather for celebrating favourite combinations but I realise I forgot to mention one pairing just before Christmas at Angelus restaurant in Lancaster Gate.

2009 Pessac-Léognan and a cheeseburger

2009 Pessac-Léognan and a cheeseburger

Although I’ve visited posh St James’s wine club 67 Pall Mall several times for tastings I hadn't ever had lunch there until last week. I don’t know quite what I expected - perhaps the sort of roast and overcooked veg you’d find in a gentleman’s club but certainly not a rare burger in an airy brioche bun with perfectly cooked onion rings on the side.

Lyndey Milan's Aussie-style barbecue lunch

Lyndey Milan's Aussie-style barbecue lunch

One of the highlights of my trip to Australia last year to celebrate the World’s 50 Best restaurant awards was lunch at one of their best known cookery writers Lyndey Milan’s in Sydney

A steak and Malbec supper

A steak and Malbec supper

This menu was created as part of a series of pieces I wrote for Sainsbury's magazine. The idea was to invite your friends round for a wine tasting then all have a slap-up meal afterwards. This meal was based on a tasting of South American reds from Argentina and Chile but it would be just as fun to base it round Malbec (Malbec being the perfect wine for a steak).

Luigi Bosca Malbec 2011 Vistalba

Luigi Bosca Malbec 2011 Vistalba

After the wild winds and lashing rain we’ve endured in the UK this week my drink of the week really had to be a full-bodied red and what better choice than a Malbec?

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).

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"

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.

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.

Bianca's bitterballen

Bianca's bitterballen

If you want to serve something a little different at your Christmas party try these delicious crisp little Dutch meatballs from our guest contributor Bianca Ford of Sip with Supper (@sipwithsupper on Twitter).

Food and Bordeaux: What they served at the gala dinner at Mouton Rothschild

Food and Bordeaux: What they served at the gala dinner at Mouton Rothschild

I make a point of not going to Vinexpo, the biennial wine fair in Bordeaux (too hectic, too noisy) but it does mean you miss out on the occasional treat like the gala dinner that was held at Château Mouton Rothschild to celebrate the opening of their new chai.

Spicy lamb stew with Coonawarra Cabernet

Spicy lamb stew with Coonawarra Cabernet

I’m aware that there’s a Francophile bias to this site but there are recipes where I automatically turn to the New World. The spicy lamb dish I picked up the other night from my local restaurant and takeaway Culinaria is one of them - a hottish tagine-style dish of spiced lamb, aubergines, chickpeas & merguez sausage which was almost on the verge of being a curry.

Semillon and seafood

Semillon and seafood

This week I’m on a wine trip in South Africa (so posting may be slightly more spasmodic). There have been many great matches already but two interesting ones have involved Semillon a grape the country is beginning to handle very impressively.

Roast lamb with a Douro red

Roast lamb with a Douro red

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

Rhubarb cheesecake and 2007 Peller Estates Cabernet Franc Ice Wine

Rhubarb cheesecake and 2007 Peller Estates Cabernet Franc Ice Wine

With four days in Edinburgh and three at the Ballymaloe Food & Drink Litfest in Co Cork this weekend I’ve been overwhelmed with good food and drink matches but as I haven’t singled out a dessert for a while I’m making Tom Kitchin’s Rhubarb cheesecake my hero dish this week.

Perry and a Ploughman's

Perry and a Ploughman's

I’ve been researching a big feature on perry over the last few days sothat's what this week's pairing had to be. And by that I don’t meanwhat is popularly called pear cider but a cider-like drink that is madewith real perry pears.

New season's olive oil and vino novo

New season's olive oil and vino novo

Last week I went on a flying visit to Tuscany to take part in the olive oil harvest and had the rare treat of being able to sample oil that has just been pressed. As you can see from the picture, it’s an incredible colour - literally deep olive green and has the most fantastic grassy flavour.

Lamb tagine with a chorizo-infused beer

Lamb tagine with a chorizo-infused beer

It’s unusual for me to have two consecutive beer pairings as my match of the week but not surprising given that this week’s comes from an excellent beer dinner at The Bull, Highgate to mark the launch of Canadian beer and food expert Stephen Beaumont’s Beer and Food Companion

Joue de boeuf and a rich Roussillon red

Joue de boeuf and a rich Roussillon red

I've been in Paris for the last few days so this week's pairing had to be from here. There are so many possibilities but as I haven't written about a meat match for a while I'm going to pick the braised beef cheek and vegetables we had with a quirky wine called KM31 from the Roussillon.

Cold rare fillet of beef and Cinsault

Cold rare fillet of beef and Cinsault

Given that it’s been in the mid-30s in the Cape Winelands recently it’s not surprising the local prefer their beef cold rather than hot but that also requires a change of thinking - from full-bodied to lighter reds.

Braised saltmarsh lamb at Langford Fivehead

Braised saltmarsh lamb at Langford Fivehead

I’ve just had a sneak preview of a very lush new B & B Langford Fivehead which opens next week (March 1st) in the Somerset Levels just outside Taunton. The building dates back to 1453 and is owned and run by former BBC Good Food editor Orlando Murrin and his partner Peter Steggall

7 hour leg of lamb with Cot (Malbec)

7 hour leg of lamb with Cot (Malbec)

When you’re roasting lamb you’re almost spoilt for choice. Almost any red you enjoy will go with this most wine-friendly of dishes but my pick of Thierry Puzelat’s quirky KO In Cot we Trust (2005) proved a winner

Celebrate your own Oktoberfest!

Celebrate your own Oktoberfest!

I still remember my visit to the great Oktoberfest in Munich, the world’s biggest beer festival. Mysteriously it’s not held in October at all - or rather it doesn’t start in October but in September - kicking off next weekend.

Chronic Cellars Sofa King Bueno 2013

Chronic Cellars Sofa King Bueno 2013

I’m surprised there aren’t more wine brands and labels dedicated to Hallowe’en but yesterday I found a perfect one at the Majestic press tasting.

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.

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.

Beef fillet in red wine and soya sauce

Beef fillet in red wine and soya sauce

In our final extract from Cape Wine Braai Masters we feature a recipe intended for Gemsbok from Michael Bucholz, winemaker for the Obikwa range but as antelope are a bit thin on the ground in the UK I've adapted it for beef fillet.

Beef bourguignon pie

Beef bourguignon pie

Why has no-one had the genius idea of putting beef bourguignon into a pie before? Here's the recipe courtesy of the brilliant Ginger Pig Meat Book which I reviewed here.

Witbier and asparagus

Witbier and asparagus

There’s still a couple of weeks more to enjoy the British asparagus season so here’s an interesting beer pairing to try as a change fromwine. Belgian witbier or bière blanche like Hoegaarden is just perfect with green asparagus, especially when served with goats’ cheese.

The best wine matches for Caerphilly

The best wine matches for Caerphilly

Caerphilly - or, to be more precise - Gorwydd Caerphilly which is made by my mates Jess and Todd Trethowan of Trethowan's Dairy - is probably the cheese I know best. And there’s one absolutely outstanding match for it . . .

Wagyu beef sliders and Lanson Extra Age champagne

Wagyu beef sliders and Lanson Extra Age champagne

Steak isn’t the first ingredient you might think of pairing with champagne but if it’s ground wagyu beef, served in a bun with a quality glass of fizz in a glitzy Park Lane restaurant you might just have to force yourself.

Steak pie and strong ale

Steak pie and strong ale

There’s a distinct nip in the air this week that makes makes me suddenly feel much less like eating summery food. Last night we went round to friends and shared some absolutely awesome steak pies they’d brought back from a butcher called Murray Mitchell in St Andrews in Scotland (they will send them by mail order in the UK apparently if you ring them on 01334 474465).

Steak and Stilton pie with London Porter

Steak and Stilton pie with London Porter

The other day I won a selection of Pieminister pies in a raffle and as my husband was away rather sneakily found myself scoffing them for supper (until guilt set in and I put the rest in the freezer). As I also had some beers to taste from a new Marks and Spencer range I decided to pick one to partner with each pie and the combination that really impressed me was their London Porter with the Pieminister ‘Moo and Blue’ (aka steak and Stilton).

Shake Shack burger and 2008 Quintarelli Primofiore

Shake Shack burger and 2008 Quintarelli Primofiore

About the last thing you'd expect at the launch of a new burger joint is to be served a £59 bottle of wine. But then Danny Meyer, more famous for his New York fine dining spots, is no ordinary restaurateur.

Peter Gordon's beef pesto and Pencarrow pinot noir

Peter Gordon's beef pesto and Pencarrow pinot noir

I found myself back in an old haunt last week - Peter Gordon’s The Providores in London’s Marylebone High Street. As the bar was crowded we went up to the restaurant and treated ourselves to the à la carte*

Oaked white rioja and rabbit terrine

Oaked white rioja and rabbit terrine

This time of year is full of pre-Christmas get-togethers which means a higher than usual number of meals out and an above average number of interesting wine pairings.

Montlouis Sec and crab

Montlouis Sec and crab

This great pairing arose as a result of a new interest my husband has in natural wines. Actually no-one has come up with a watertight definition of ‘natural’ but it’s generally agreed that the vines are treated organically and/or biodynamically and the wines made with as little sulphur and chemical additives as possible (in some cases none).

Mini Yorkshire puddings with rare fillet of beef and Central Otago Pinot Noir

Mini Yorkshire puddings with rare fillet of beef and Central Otago Pinot Noir

A student gathering is not the first place you’d think of finding a good wine pairing or, indeed, a drinkable wine at all but the talk I gave last week at the University of Bristol Wine Circle produced some great combinations.

Middle eastern-style lamb with grilled vegetables and a natural red wine

Middle eastern-style lamb with grilled vegetables and a natural red wine

We all know that roast lamb is a great pairing with red wines but the assumption is often that it’s prepared in a classic French way so it was interesting to note over the weekend that if you give it a middle-eastern spin exactly the same applies

Lambs sweetbreads with girolles and Louis Roederer Rich Champagne

Lambs sweetbreads with girolles and Louis Roederer Rich Champagne

It’s a bit of a long story. A customer of my friends Stephen and Judy Markwick who own the Bristol restaurant Culinaria wanted to track down some Louis Roederer Rich and I helped him find it. He wanted me to share a bottle with him as a reward which was totally unnecessary but a gesture it seemed churlish to refuse. (Or that's my excuse anyway!)

Lamb tagine with dates, prunes and apricots and a very good Beaujolais

Lamb tagine with dates, prunes and apricots and a very good Beaujolais

Now here’s an unexpected match. I would be wary of pairing a Beaujolais - even a Morgon - with something as sweet as a lamb tagine with dried fruits thinking it would make the wine taste slightly sharp but the combination worked perfectly.

Lamb mechoui and 2007 Chateau Musar

Lamb mechoui and 2007 Chateau Musar

This, I think, was the standout pairing from our Honey & Co wine club on Sunday and a great illustration of the difference a dish can make to the way a wine tastes.

Lamb curry and Luigi Bosca De Sangre 2011

Lamb curry and Luigi Bosca De Sangre 2011

A cabernet would have been the last wine I would have thought of drinking with a curry but as happens from time to time you come across an unexpected wine match that really works.

Grilled lamb chops and ‘orange’ wine

Grilled lamb chops and ‘orange’ wine

One of the most striking things I’ve noticed during my few days in Rome this past week is how white wine seems a better match for the local food than red does. Even with red meat like lamb? Strangely, yes.

Fillet of beef with 2009 Pio Cesare Barolo

Fillet of beef with 2009 Pio Cesare Barolo

Beef and red wine is a blindingly obvious match but it gets more interesting once you think about the cut and the way that it's cooked.

Filet 'sliders' and Pinot Noir

Filet 'sliders' and Pinot Noir

Those of you who have read my report yesterday on the 20th anniversary of Charlie Trotter’s will know I’ve spent the last few days in Chicago eating some quite amazing food. But occasionally you need a change from all that gourmet fare and I found it in that great Chicago institution Gibsons steakhouse where they serve something called a ‘Gold Coast Slider’.

Faggots with onion gravy and Mas Belles Eaux Vieux Carignan

Faggots with onion gravy and Mas Belles Eaux Vieux Carignan

Faggots, which are basically a rather gamey British meatball made with pork belly and offal, are a bit of an acquired taste along the lines of the French sausage andouillette but well made, as they are when supplied by our local butcher, they can be very tasty. They need to be accompanied by onion gravy which normally leads one in the direction of a robust ale but the other night we had them with a bottle of Mas Belles Eaux Vieux Carignan 2006 which actually worked very well.

Crayfish and Crab Cocktail with Bonny Doon Pacific Rim Riesling

Crayfish and Crab Cocktail with Bonny Doon Pacific Rim Riesling

I have to admit there's an element of nepotism about this pairing which I enjoyed the other day at my son’s award-winning steakhouse Hawksmoor where we were shooting new photography for the site (an exciting development about which more news shortly!)

Crab tian and premier cru Chablis

Crab tian and premier cru Chablis

I went to a very posh lunch at Fortnum & Mason last week (about which more to follow) which has to be the most festive place in London. If you’re in the vicinity this week make sure you check out their Christmas decorations department on the first floor. And don't miss the spectacularly expensive crackers! (I was told the £1000 boxes had already sold out.)

Crab paté and (bargain) champagne

Crab paté and (bargain) champagne

One of the products I regularly have in the fridge is Tesco’s Orkney Crab paté, not least because it’s so low in calories (85 calories per 38g serving) it’s even compatible with the 5:2 diet*.

Cold roast veal with herbs and St Chinian rosé

Cold roast veal with herbs and St Chinian rosé

It’s been so hot over the last couple of days here in the Languedoc I haven’t felt much like cooking so we raided the very good local traiteur (takeaway) in Murviel yesterday for our weekend’s eating. The highlight was some beautifully cooked rare roast veal with herbs - in the style of Italian porchetta.

Cecina (cured beef) and Mencia

Cecina (cured beef) and Mencia

Last week I was in Galicia (for three days. Without my suitcase. Thankyou Easyjet) visiting the denominations of Valdeorras and Bierzo where the star red grape is Mencia. (For years I got them confused periodically thinking the grape was Bierzo and the region Mencia but I’ve finally got it straight.)

Calf's kidney and Côte Rôtie

Calf's kidney and Côte Rôtie

My match of the week for last week has to come from the sublime WIMPS lunch I had at the Ledbury which members can read about here. It was hard to decide which the best pairing was but I think the calf’s kidney and 1998 Gilles Barge Côte Rôtie just shaved it.

Brill with oxtail and Domaine Tempier Bandol

Brill with oxtail and Domaine Tempier Bandol

About the most unlikely wine match you could imagine - a delicate fish with a 19 year old red wine - but it worked! Which shows you can always be surprised by food and wine pairing.

Braised Manx Loaghtan mutton and Crozes-Hermitage

Braised Manx Loaghtan mutton and Crozes-Hermitage

Last Friday I attended the Soil Association annual Organic Awards lunch at Bordeaux Quay in Bristol. The menu was based on the winning ingredients which in the case of the main course was Langley Chase organic mutton served with chard and spelt risotto.

Beef stew and Bordeaux

Beef stew and Bordeaux

Coming home to the UK after 10 days in the Caribbean was a bit of a shock to the system especially when we were snowed in on Friday so I leapt at a neighbour’s invitation to come round for a hearty beef stew.

Wine of the week: Zarper malbec

Wine of the week: Zarper malbec

I was going to recommend a rosé this week having got the misguided impression from the heatwave last weekend that summer was on its way. But today in my home town of Bristol it’s cold, windy and about to rain so I think malbec is more the order of the day.

Wine of the Week: Norton Winemaker’s Reserve Malbec 2014

Wine of the Week: Norton Winemaker’s Reserve Malbec 2014

Now that malbec has become the Rioja de nos jours there are so many brands on the market that it’s hard to choose which to buy.

The Durham Brewery White Stout

The Durham Brewery White Stout

I had a conversation on Twitter before Christmas with Elly from The Durham Brewery about whether there was a perfect beer for Christmas pudding.

Joseph Drouhin Rully rouge 2012

Joseph Drouhin Rully rouge 2012

The dilemma for us wine writers is when to recommend a wine we're really excited about. Do we save it up for a round-up of the best wines we’ve tasted in that category or tell you about it straight away on the basis that every other journo will be pushing it too?

Domaine Joel Delaunay L’Esprit des Dames Touraine Chenonceaux 2014

Domaine Joel Delaunay L’Esprit des Dames Touraine Chenonceaux 2014

This was recommended by the manager at my local Oddbins in Bristol and I really love it.

Chateau de Caraguilhes 2014 Corbieres

Chateau de Caraguilhes 2014 Corbieres

What bottle should you take to dinner with friends? It’s a tricky one. You want something that doesn’t break the bank but will impress. Cheap bordeaux and burgundy are dodgy. Barefoot and Blossom Hill brand you as a cheapskate

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?

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.

Orange and Cointreau syllabub

Orange and Cointreau syllabub

Syllabub - a velvety-smooth concoction of sweet wine and cream - is one of the great English desserts, dating from the 16th century. At this time of year I like to make it with orange rather than lemon, topped with an irresistibly crunchy mixture of orange zest and sugar.

Fine Wine and Fast Food

Fine Wine and Fast Food

One of the most enjoyable food and wine matches I’ve experienced was also the most serendipitous. The family were away, I was working on a book and staggered down half way through the evening to find the fridge virtually bare except for a half bottle of Krug, a half-empty packet of the kids’ fish fingers and some frozen spinach. Ten minutes later, the spinach well anointed with butter, the fish fingers grilled and the Krug poured I had the perfect supper.

Six of the best matches for Bacchus and other dry English white wines

Six of the best matches for Bacchus and other dry English white wines

If you've bough a bottle of English wine to celebrate St George's Day or English Wine Week you may be wondering what sort of food suits it best.

Wild boar and Monty's French Red

Wild boar and Monty's French Red

If you've been following the new alternative lifestyle programme Château Monty on Channel 4 you’ll know that ‘Monty’ is wine writer Monty Waldin who set out to make his own biodynamic wine in the Roussillon down in the far corner of south-west France

Tête de veau and Côtes du Jura rouge

Tête de veau and Côtes du Jura rouge

Last week I was travelling back through France again and encountered a number of interesting matches but the one that worked best for me was in a modern bistro by the covered market in Besançon called La Table des Halles.

Steak tartare and Beaujolais

Steak tartare and Beaujolais

This was a wine pairing I hadn’t thought of putting together before but once experienced last week at Racine it seemed supremely logical.

Smoked haddock and apple salad with New Zealand Riesling

Smoked haddock and apple salad with New Zealand Riesling

I was overwhelmed with good wine pairings last week but given that quite a few were similar to ones I’ve written about before I’m making this my star match.

Sliders and juleps

Sliders and juleps

Although you can drink wine with a burger I’m coming to the conclusion that beer and cocktails are a lot more fun and, particularly with the modern American-style ales, have the sweetness to deal with the multiple flavours of today’s adventurous toppings.

Scallop and crab risotto with inexpensive French Sauvignon

Scallop and crab risotto with inexpensive French Sauvignon

I know I’ve highlighted crab as a match for a number of different wines but it really is a great dish to pick if you’re drinking a serious white. This time however the wine was far from stellar: the basic house Sauvignon at Culinaria in Bristol where I was doing a photo shoot for our next book.

Roast beef sandwich and a Virgin Mary

Roast beef sandwich and a Virgin Mary

I’ve got a bit obsessed with Virgin Marys (alcohol-free Bloody Marys) over the last few days.

Practically every barbecued meat you can think of and an amazing Aussie grenache

Practically every barbecued meat you can think of and an amazing Aussie grenache

Normally my matches of the week are quite specific - a dish and a drink - but it’s always great to find a wine that sails through everything on the table as this gorgeous grenache did at London’s latest barbecue restaurant Temper last week.

Navarin of lamb and 2002 Chateau des Estanilles Faugères

Navarin of lamb and 2002 Chateau des Estanilles Faugères

Last week we were down at our house in Languedoc mainly cooking from home* and raiding the cellar for wines we thought needed drinking up - at least that was our excuse!

Manzanilla sherry and smoked dried beef with almonds

Manzanilla sherry and smoked dried beef with almonds

Manzanilla sherry never fails to surprise me with its versatility but you don't often come across a combination as good as the one I had last week at Lido restaurant in Bristol.

Little Beauty Marlborough riesling and Indian or Pakistani food

Little Beauty Marlborough riesling and Indian or Pakistani food

I’ve always thought of riesling as a better match for the fresh flavours of south-east Asian-inspired food than curry but a visit to the Lahore Kebab House proved otherwise this week.

Foxlow's 10 hour beef shortrib and Pierre Gonon's Saint-Joseph

Foxlow's 10 hour beef shortrib and Pierre Gonon's Saint-Joseph

I can’t pretend to be wholly impartial about this wine match which comes from Foxlow, the latest restaurant from my son Will and his business partner Huw Gott (who also own Hawksmoor).

 Spaghetti and meatballs and Nerello Mascalese

Spaghetti and meatballs and Nerello Mascalese

Spaghetti and meatballs is a really rich pasta dish you need to wash down with a refreshing red - preferably Italian.

 Saperavi with slow cooked wagyu beef

Saperavi with slow cooked wagyu beef

Continuing the exotic vibe of last week’s pairing the standout combination this week was a Georgian Saperavi with Welsh Wagyu beef!

 Milk-fed lamb with Bolgheri Coronato 2011

Milk-fed lamb with Bolgheri Coronato 2011

Last week was a bumper week for wine pairing but setting aside the matches with older vintages of Pazo Senorans albarino at El Celler de Can Roca which were so mind-blowing they deserve a longer post, this is the one that stood out.

A Spring Scandinavian Supper for 8

A Spring Scandinavian Supper for 8

Now that we're firmly into spring here's a menu to celebrate from Danish cookery writer Trine Hahnemann introduced by her Scandi compatriot food writer and blogger Signe Johansen

6 easy cocktails to make for Valentine’s Day

6 easy cocktails to make for Valentine’s Day

Making a cocktail doesn’t have to involve the skills of a bartender, a battery of equipment and a shelf full of obscure bottles. You can make a simple cocktail for your beloved with as little as two ingredients - so long as they’re red or pink . . .

Wine of the week: Planeta Mamertino 2015

Wine of the week: Planeta Mamertino 2015

One of the most captivating wine books I’ve read is Nina Caplan’s The Wandering Vine which explores the footprint the Romans left on the wine growing areas of Europe. Part wine guide, part travelogue, part personal journey and exploration of her Jewish roots, Caplan traces the interest in wine she derived from her late father.

Santa Julia Innovacion Malbec/Touriga Nacional 2013

Santa Julia Innovacion Malbec/Touriga Nacional 2013

So here’s a special for Malbec World Day - maybe a bit of a cheat as it also includes some Touriga Nacional but I quite like Malbec in a blend.

Wine of the week: El Bombero Gran Reserva 2009 Carinena

Wine of the week: El Bombero Gran Reserva 2009 Carinena

If I saw this wine on a supermarket shelf I wouldn’t pick it up. There’s the name for a start, which sounds like something a marketing department has invented

Caburnio Tenuta Monteti 2010

Caburnio Tenuta Monteti 2010

If you like the style of super-Tuscans but find the prices a bit steep the Tenuta Monteti wines, which are stocked by London merchant Lea & Sandeman, are for you.

 Earth’s Essence Shiraz 2016

Earth’s Essence Shiraz 2016

If you’re someone who is sensitive to sulphur but not convinced by natural wines Earth’s Essence shiraz is for you.

 Drink of the week: Cawston Press Apple and Rhubarb Juice

Drink of the week: Cawston Press Apple and Rhubarb Juice

I’m continually on the lookout for soft drinks that are not too sweet as I know there’s a big demand for them. This isn’t perfect - it’s still a fruit juice so quite high in sugar - but it is genuinely refreshing.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

Crab macaroni cheese

Crab macaroni cheese

I always think it's hard to improve on macaroni cheese but adding crab, which my mate Fiona Sims has done in her brilliant new The Boat Cookbook, is an inspired touch.

The best matches for albarino (and alvarinho)

The best matches 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.

Wagyu beef tataki and ginjo sake

Wagyu beef tataki and ginjo sake

We get so used to thinking of red wine as the only pairing for beef that it’s good to be reminded there are other options. Especially when it comes to Japan’s fabled Wagyu beef which is all about subtle tastes and textures.

Veal ravioli with barolo

Veal ravioli with barolo

This wasn’t the most innovative wine pairing I came across in the last 7 days but it was such a classic I couldn’t fail to make it my match of the week.

Veal chop with sage and Eben Sadie Sequillo Red

Veal chop with sage and Eben Sadie Sequillo Red

I had lunch for the first time for a while at Hix’s Oyster and Chop House in Farringdon last week where I ordered - appropriately enough - a chop. In this instance a veal chop with sage butter.

Steak and ale pie and horseradish mash with Domaine Tempier Bandol 1994

Steak and ale pie and horseradish mash with Domaine Tempier Bandol 1994

The great thing about going to old country pubs is that they tend to have wines you can’t find anywhere else - or certainly not at the price. Like the bottle of Domaine Tempier Bandol 1994 we found at the Nobody Inn in Doddiscombleigh in Devon at the weekend.

Roast lamb with wild garlic risotto, asparagus and feta with a chilled Languedoc red

Roast lamb with wild garlic risotto, asparagus and feta with a chilled Languedoc red

This match, which I enjoyed at Plateau wine bar in Brighton last week, breaks a couple of wine pairing conventions. Firstly that you match red meat with a full bodied red. And secondly that you don’t drink red wine with asparagus.

Roast kid and dry Mavrodaphne

Roast kid and dry Mavrodaphne

As it was my first Easter in Greece - which was celebrated a month later than that of the western Christian church this year - what could I focus on but what to drink with a Greek Easter lunch?

Oxtail cooked in Priorat with prunes matched with 2004 Vall Llach Priorat

Oxtail cooked in Priorat with prunes matched with 2004 Vall Llach Priorat

The highlight of last week was my trip to Priorat so this week’s pairing has to be one of the wines I tasted. Oddly it wasn’t one of the wines I enjoyed most although it was in the upper echelons of what the region has to offer : a Vall Llach 2004, a blend of 65% Cariñena (old vine Carignan), 20% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Lamb rogan josh with huitlacoche and Torres Milmanda chardonnay 2008

Lamb rogan josh with huitlacoche and Torres Milmanda chardonnay 2008

This may well be the most off-the-wall pairing I post this year: chardonnay with a lamb curry? Extraordinary - and this is why

Grilled ox tongue with radishes and Mr Thirsty vin de soif

Grilled ox tongue with radishes and Mr Thirsty vin de soif

As soon as I heard Will Lander of The Quality Chop House and Portland had opened a new restaurant, Clipstone, I couldn’t wait to check it out - and I wasn’t disappointed.

Godello and seafood

Godello and seafood

I’m increasingly impressed by the new generation of Spanish wines that are arriving on the shelves. The other day I had a fabulously crisp, zesty white called Godello from the up and coming region of Bierzo, in the region of Castilla y Leon in the north-west of Spain, not far from Galicia.

English sparkling wine and fresh crab sandwiches

English sparkling wine and fresh crab sandwiches

Looking out of the window this wet bank holiday morning it’s hard to credit that we produce wine successfully in this country but we most certainly do. Especially sparkling wine which many pundits reckon is beginning to rival Champagne in quality.

Dassai 50% unfiltered sake with lamb cutlets with Korean spices

Dassai 50% unfiltered sake with lamb cutlets with Korean spices

I imagine you all know how well sake works with sashimi but it came as quite a surprise to me - wagyu aside - how well it could handle red meat and spice

Calves' liver and Marcillac

Calves' liver and Marcillac

One of the pleasures of the huge clearing and putting away operation at our new French home is the discovery of forgotten bottles. The other day it was a Marcillac from Domaine Laurens which went incredibly well with that night’s supper of seared calves’ liver.

Beetroot-cured salmon and Godello

Beetroot-cured salmon and Godello

Despite the razmatazz surrounding the launch of Dom Perignon 2003 and a serious amount of wine and truffle action to which I’ll devote more space shortly I’m picking a more modest match from last week - the delicious beetroot-cured salmon, capers and egg yolk and 2010 Godelia Godello I had at José Pizarro’s new London restaurant Pizarro.

Beef shin pie and a Languedoc red

Beef shin pie and a Languedoc red

It’s amazing how many different styles of eating you can pack into a week, particularly when you’re travelling. At the moment I’m in sunny Chile stuffing myself with seafood and sauvignon blanc so I'm finding it hard to remember that just six days ago I was in rain-ravaged Britain craving pies and stews.

40 day aged fillet of Black Angus beef with Henschke’s 2010 Mount Edelstone Shiraz

40 day aged fillet of Black Angus beef with Henschke’s 2010 Mount Edelstone Shiraz

This has been one of the most difficult weeks ever to pick my match of the week but this, by a whisker, was it.

 Raan and Grover Chêne

Raan and Grover Chêne

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

How to feed your friends like Fergus Henderson of St John

How to feed your friends like Fergus Henderson of St John

One of the most intriguing things to find out about chefs is not what they cook in their restaurants but what they feed their family and friends. True, at St John one morphs into the other, but the lunch they held in London this week to celebrate the publication of Fergus Henderson’s new book The Complete Nose to Tail was one I’d have been more than proud to put on for my mates.

A simple spring supper for 4

A simple spring supper for 4

This is the kind of easy meal I like to make for friends. The soup can be made in advance (or buy one of the excellent ready made chilled soups there are nowadays and dress it up with some fresh herbs), the steak is finished in the oven and the dessert literally takes minutes.

Santa Maria del Cami Binissalem 2012, Mallorca

Santa Maria del Cami Binissalem 2012, Mallorca

Majorca produces serious wine? Go on, you’re kidding! No I’m not as it happens. This luxuriant red from Bodegues Macia Batle - surprisingly stocked by Marks & Spencer - is a great buy.

Off the shelf: Les Crouzes Old Vines Carignan 2014

Off the shelf: Les Crouzes Old Vines Carignan 2014

If you’re looking for a cheap all-purpose red after Christmas this old favourite from the Co-op should fit the bill.

Wine of the week: Gentilini Eclipse 2013

Wine of the week: Gentilini Eclipse 2013

I must confess a sentimental attachment to Gentilini who I visited on the beautiful island of Kefalonia back in 2001 when I was researching a feature on Greek food.(Kefalonia - or Cephalonia as it's sometimes spelt - is where the book and film Captain Corelli's Mandolin was set.)

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.

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.

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.

Pork loin with rhubarb and balsamic vinegar

Pork loin with rhubarb and balsamic vinegar

An elegant, quick roast from Fran Warde's New Bistro that makes the best of in-season rhubarb. You could even serve it on Valentine's night.

Cheat’s Chilli for Chilli Dogs

Cheat’s Chilli for Chilli Dogs

As you'll see in the entertaining section today I've come up with the idea of throwing a hot dog party and here's a recipe for a basic chilli to go with it. You could of course use a more authentic recipe (without beans) but authenticity isn't the point of hot dogs. They're basically fun food.

Blood Orange and Rhubarb Meringue Pie

Blood Orange and Rhubarb Meringue Pie

This spring is seeing a bumper crop of new cookery books of which Catherine Phipps' Citrus is one of the most enticing ...

Wine and spice

Wine and spice

To mark National Curry Week here's an article I wrote for Decanter a while back about Indian food and wine matching at the Cinnamon Club which still contains some useful advice about wine and spice pairing:

How - and when - to buy good lamb

How - and when - to buy good lamb

Given that it's St David's Day here's a piece I wrote a few years ago on Welsh salt-marsh lamb - and why spring lamb isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Which wine to match with moussaka - updated

Which wine to match with moussaka - updated

Moussaka cries out for a red but not too powerful a one otherwise the effect will be to add to the richness of the dish. (Cooked cheese, by the way, is much easier with red wine than uncooked cheese is).

Steak with an Old Fashioned

Steak with an Old Fashioned

Red wine is such an established go to with steak that it’s hard to consider anything else as a pairing but it struck me this week after a few days tasting rum with Philippines producer Don Papa (yes, it’s a hard life … ) that dark rum might also be an interesting match.

Steak tartare and Côteaux du Languedoc

Steak tartare and Côteaux du Languedoc

You might be surprised to know that red wine isn’t the first pairing I think of with steak tartare, which for those of you who haven’t tried it is chopped raw beef flavoured with punchy seasonings such as capers, parsley and hot pepper sauce. I actually think it pairs really well with sparkling wine, especially Champagne but last week I was down in the Languedoc and that didn’t really seem appropriate.

Soft shell crab tempura maki and ‘Misty Mountain’ sake

Soft shell crab tempura maki and ‘Misty Mountain’ sake

I don’t that often order sake in a restaurant but when I do I wonder why I don’t drink it more often.

Smoked eel with crab remoulade and Slovakian Müller-Thurgau

Smoked eel with crab remoulade and Slovakian Müller-Thurgau

A good obscure pairing to kick off the week from the newly opened Vinoteca wine bar at Seymour Place.

Salsa verde and Chianti Classico

Salsa verde and Chianti Classico

Wine pairing is much more about the way you cook a dish and the sauce you serve with it than it is about the basic ingredient and so it proved with this week’s match at the recently opened Brackenbury.

Oxtail and oloroso

Oxtail and oloroso

As last week was Sherry Week and I’m a MASSIVE fan my match of the week clearly had to involve sherry. But which to choose? It was hard given the number of standout pairings at the sherry dinner my local tapas bar, Bar 44 in Clifton put on but I’m going for the sherry by which I was most blown away - a limited edition of Gonzalez Byass Alfonso oloroso, one of six rare casks that are being bottled by the bodega under the name ‘Vinos Finitos’ (finite wines)

Crab tartine and Sancerre

Crab tartine and Sancerre

Last week was a week for revisiting the classics. Oysters and Chablis, Fino and fried almonds (and excellent jamon croquetas at Paco Tapas) and this absolutely textbook match at Bar Boulud in Knightsbridge which recently reopened after last year’s devastating fire in its host hotel, the Mandarin Oriental.

Couscous and Languedoc rosé

Couscous and Languedoc rosé

It's funny how your attitude to food and wine matching changes when you visit a wine-producing area like the Languedoc which is where I've been for the past few days. You tend to drink the local wine because it's what the locals drink. It may not be the best match but it doesn't really matter, particularly at lunchtime when you want something light.

Charcuterie and young Syrah

Charcuterie and young Syrah

Last week I had lunch at my new favourite London hangout, the wine bar Terroirs which is run by a partnership including the quirky and original Caves de Pyrène. It's a place that you'll absolutely love if you're a Francophile: it feels just like a Parisien wine bar - without the surly service. The food is also cracking but as we'd resolved to kick off the new year by splitting a Vacherin Mont d'Or, as you can read on my cheese blog The Cheeselover, we didn't get a chance this time to sample chef Ed Wilson's robust bistro food.

Roasted asparagus and Jersey royal salad with herb mayonnaise and a 2012 Saumur Champigny

Roasted asparagus and Jersey royal salad with herb mayonnaise and a 2012 Saumur Champigny

Asparagus, it’s often said, is tough to match with wine, let alone a red, but this combination with a light, chilled Saumur Champigny at the re-opened Bell’s Diner in Bristol was a perfect pairing.

Win a fabulous meat hamper from award-winning butcher Peter Hannan

Win a fabulous meat hamper from award-winning butcher Peter Hannan

Easter, like Christmas, is an occasion to feast with family and friends so we couldn’t mark it with a better prize than this fabulous meat box from prize-winning butcher Peter Hannan of Hannan Meats. THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.

How to make simple, great cocktails

How to make simple, great cocktails

You may find the idea of making cocktails daunting but bar consultant Kate Hawkings says it's simply a question of stirring a couple of good ingredients in a glass. Here are four of her current favourites.

Wine of the week: Casal de Ventozela Alvarinho 2015

Wine of the week: Casal de Ventozela Alvarinho 2015

If you’re a fan of Spain’s fashionable white wine albarino you’ll almost certainly like its Portuguese cousin alvarinho which is made just over the border.

Mas de Libian Bout d’Zan, Côtes du Rhône 2012

Mas de Libian Bout d’Zan, Côtes du Rhône 2012

If you’re after a bright, fruity, sunshine-filled red to carry you through the dark, dreary days of winter you couldn't do better than this delicious Côtes du Rhône.

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

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.

How Greeks celebrate Easter: the feasting after the fast

How Greeks celebrate Easter: the feasting after the fast

No-one who hasn’t experienced a Greek Easter can imagine the scale of the feasting. Wine writer Ted Lelekas tells all about "the most lavish and important meal of the year".

Sparkling wine and spicy snacks

Sparkling wine and spicy snacks

The idea of drinking sparkling wine with Indian street food might seem crazy but it’s a really good pairing as I was reminded last night when I dined at Masala Zone just off Carnaby Street with Warren Edwardes, the CEO of a company called Wine for Spice.

Roast partridge and Pinot Noir

Roast partridge and Pinot Noir

I’ve already suggested pinot noir as a good pairing for partridge so it was good to find the recommendation vindicated at lunch with Carolyn Martin of Creation Wines at 67 Pall Mall last week.

Langoustine ravioli and Errazuriz Las Pizarras chardonnay

Langoustine ravioli and Errazuriz Las Pizarras chardonnay

Last Thursday’s dinner to celebrate Decanter’s 2018 Man of the Year, Eduardo Chadwick of Viña Errazuriz was a treat - a line-up of the winery’s very best wines. It was obviously sound thinking to pair two of his top reds, the Don Maximiliano Founder’s Reserve 2014 and Kai 2005 with fillet of beef but I thought the more intriguing match was the first course of langoustine ravioli with their 2015 Las Pizarras chardonnay.

Planeta Eruzione Bianco 1614

Planeta Eruzione Bianco 1614

One of the most interesting things that’s happening in wine at the moment is how big producers are pursuing new areas and old grape varieties and Planeta is no exception

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