Pairings | Ch
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.
If you're planning ahead for Easter weekend and don't fancy doing the traditional big Easter Day lunch how about a brunch instead? Here's my menu for this time of year ...
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.
After the tradition-bound cooking of the Christmas period (from which the family will never let you deviate . . .) it’s good to branch out a bit with your New Year’s Eve meal and also pick some dishes that will allow you to drink some serious wines. Note you need to start the beef two days in advance.
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 often overstated.
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 but I've updated it with a new discovery, L'Hibernie.
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.
Have you noticed the number of restaurants which have started offering breakfast - and I don’t just mean a full English?
Despite the sun it's been unseasonably cold recently 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.
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.
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?
I’ve done a fair few cheese and wine tastings in my time but none quite as challenging as the one I did at the RAW natural wine fair last year matching natural wine with unpasteurised cheese.
Does the temperature at which you serve a dish affect the wine pairing? Matt Walls investigates:
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.
Yesterday was the Bunch tasting, one of the highlights of the UK press tasting circuit. The Bunch is a group of six well-known wine merchants: Adnams, Berry Bros & Rudd, Corney & Barrow, Lea & Sandeman, Tanners and Yapp Brothers. I’ve been seeing the same faces there for well over a decade. (None of them looks a day older, of course. Nor do I . . . ;-)
Natasha Hughes re-orders her hit list of wine matches for pinot following her visit to the International Pinot Noir Celebration.
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.
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.
If you're planning a Burns Night supper this weekend you may be wondering which whisky to pair with it. Born and bred Scot, Ewan Lacey, general manager of the International Wine & Spirit Competition has some answers.
One of the few food and drink combinations I don’t feel that happy about is wine and soup. Not all soups, obviously, but many of them.
I always think it’s misleading to describe pork as a ‘white meat’. Strictly that's accurate, I suppose, but ‘whiteness’ somehow seems to suggest lack of flavour.
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.
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.
Last night we had a fun five course wine and food matching dinner at Rockfish Grill in Bristol which showed the range of wines you can match with fish. Here’s a few thoughts about how we approached it for those of you who are organising a similar event.
Many people say they don't like chardonnay but as anyone who has a taste for top white burgundy or other premium new world chardonnays will know it’s a spectacular food wine.
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?
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.
Although you can find any kind of recipe online these days nothing beats a beautiful cookbook and the new Fern Verrow book by Herefordshire farmers Jane Scotter and Harry Astley is one you're definitely going to want to own.
Blogger Denise Medrano of The Wine Sleuth braces herself for a lunch featuring classic French dishes and Australian wine. Was she convinced? Read on . . .
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?
A recent email from a reader asked me to suggest a wine to go with “a triple coconut cake with a tangy pineapple icing served with fresh fruit salsa that has kiwi, strawberry, madarine oranges, blueberries and fresh pineapple in it”. Quite a challenge (I suggested demi-sec Champagne or a peach-flavoured liqueur topped up with fizz) but it got me thinking that there are many possible matches for cake beyond a cup of tea or coffee, particularly if you're serving it as a dessert.
After a recent visit to the Jura I've rethought my ideas about which wines make the best wine pairings for Comté cheese.
Fresh peaches are bang in season right now so use them to make these summery cocktails that I think are quite perfect for today's Independence Day celebrations.
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.
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.
If you think of the ingredients that show off a great wine mushrooms would have to be near the top of the list.
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.
Provence rosé has a particular character. It’s much crisper and drier than most rosés on the market, more like a white wine than a rosé - though within this style there are variations between the lighter, less expensive wines or ‘vins de soif’ and the more structured ones, which the local refer to as ‘vins de gastronomie’.
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.
Being surrounded by peaches and nectarines at the moment has reminded me what a brilliant match they are for a glass of dessert wine. And, surprisingly, even for a red!
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!
When you have a menu in front of you how do you decide which wine to order? Sure, you can ask the sommelier or waiter but in some restaurants the service is not as helpful or knowledgeable as it might be. But there are plenty of clues in the descriptions of the dishes themselves that point to the key ingredients and the way in which they are handled. Here are a few examples:
People carp about food and beer pairings, griping that they're just made up pretentions that have no right being associated with something as inclusive and democratic as beer, writes Stephen Beaumont
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.
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.
There’s a long story behind this week’s match but it’s a good one so bear with me . . .
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.
It might seem bizarre turning to an American cookbook for a classic French recipe but this version from the Balthazar Cookbook is hard to beat.
The most useful clue to the kind of wine that works with cheesecake is to think of the toppings and flavourings that are used in cheesecake recipes rather than the base.
Cheese and wine is a notorious minefield but is it any easier when the cheese is cooked? See my suggestions to match Mark Hix's delicious recipes in the Independent today:
This is the kind of recipe (or rather idea) that I used to put on my old blog The Frugal Cook. But as I’ve given up on it (I know - I shouldn’t have done) I’m posting it here.
Should it be wine or beer - or even a cocktail? Last year I asked the Twitter community what their favourite barbecue bevvy was and this is what they came up with . . .
We all know a beer goes down well with a ploughmans and that it’s a great drink to wash down a barbecue but here are 10 more unusual pairings which should liven up your summer drinking.
Few things cheer at this time of year. In the UK it's cold, grey and damp Time to head for the kitchen and knock up a rich beef stew or casserole and leave it simmering for hours.
None of you, I’m sure, can have failed to notice just how many different bottles of rosé are now available on the average supermarket shelf. From being purely a summer wine there are now rosés for almost every type of food and occasion.
Over the past few years we’ve become so disillusioned with restaurants in the Languedoc that we almost invariably end up eating at home.
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.
If you’re celebrating July 4th this weekend and haven’t yet made up your mind what to drink here are some last minute suggestions.
One of the things I love about social media is that it's just that: social. You make friends with people through exchanging tweets and 'liking' their images on Instagram.
A simple and impressive recipe to serve for pancake day. Although apricots are obviously at their best in the summer you should be able to find imported ones from countries such as South Africa and Chile.
As I mentioned in my last post our last lunch of the Oregon trip was at Cristom where sales director (no less!) John D'Anna cooked us a great meal. Here's how he did it and - where I have a link to them - the recipes he used. Try it!
I only have to look at how many of my matches of the week involve fish to realise that it now appeals to me more than meat. Not that I’m anti-meat by any means it’s just that the sort of wine you pair with it is fairly predictable, well-trodden ground.
When I read Mark Hix recipes in The Independent today they were so challenging that I nearly gave up but as everyone else seems to be writing about asparagus today and I’ve done a lot on asparagus recently there was no other option . . .
As I mentioned in this weekend’s Guardian, Lidl (or leedle as they pronounce it) kicks off its annual French wine promotion next Thursday (September 3rd). You can find my top picks on the Guardian website but here are some other good buys:
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.
Wheat beers are fabulously flexible when it comes to food matching - the beer world’s equivalent of a crisp white wine.
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.
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.
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.
As it’s both Bonfire Night and British Sausage Week this week there’s a fair chance that you’ll be eating bangers of some kind, so what’s the best pairing?
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
Salt cod, a popular Good Friday dish in parts of the Mediterranean, is cooked many different ways which suggest different wine pairings.
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.
My friend cookery writer Sarah Randell has written the most enchanting book on marmalade full not only of great marmalade recipes but also some delicious ways of using them.
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.
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.
The sharp-eyed among you will notice that my recommendations have changed since I posted this article earlier today. I've revised my opinion since retasting Cornish Blue which I found in my local deli - Arch House Deli.
Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall proclaims firmly in The Guardian today that he won’t be serving turkey for lunch on Christmas Day so if he’s going to break with tradition why shouldn’t you? Bring on the beer!
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"
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.
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.
Smoked salmon is most commonly associated with champagne but in fact it goes with many other wines as well as with beer, whisky and vodka.
Last night we opened a bottle of 2005 Nugan Estate McLaren Parish Vineyard Shiraz - a typically big lush Aussie red at a hefty 15% ABV.
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.
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!)
This week is National Pie Week in the UK - not that we Brits need much encouragement to eat pies. But which is the better match - wine or beer?
What do you eat with a great bottle of Irish whiskey? Fruit cake might seem a bit frivolous to some and even brand you as, well . . . a bit of a fruitcake, but I can highly recommend it.
Or 'what wine should I drink with hachis parmentier?' - the French answer to shepherd's and cottage pie.
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.
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.
And by paté I’m thinking of 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.
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.
Scallops are normally a sure-fire match for chardonnay so it was quite a challenge to think of some alternatives for Skye Gyngell’s inventive recipes in the Independent on Sunday today.
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?
Anchovies are supposed to be tricky with wine but I pretty well always find that rosé hits the spot.
The key element to this typically Bavarian recipe, which comes from my book An Appetite for Ale, is the addition of hot stock which gives it a consistency half way between a conventional potato salad and mashed potato. It also has the most delicious sweet-sour flavour.
The most interesting meal I had last week was undoubtedly at Viajante, an innovative new restaurant in what used to be Bethnal Green town hall. You can see my full review on decanter.com but I just wanted to write a bit more about the pairings.
French onion soup is one of the classic French bistro dishes, famously served to late night Parisian partygoers. But if you don't feel up to it at 2am or whenever you roll in, it makes a warming supper for a chilly winter evening.
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.
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:
This gorgeous fruity Austrian red ticks all my boxes. It’s exactly the sort of wine I want to drink at this time of year - light (12.5%), fragrant and juicy - the type I can equally well drink with fish as meat.
The weather has been so unseasonally hot over the last couple of days - well into the 20s (or the late 70s for those of you who prefer to think in Fahrenheit) - that I’m suddenly fast-forwarding to summer and one of my favourite meals, Salade Niçoise.
Cheese is so inextricably linked in my mind with beer and wine I sometimes forget there are other delicious pairings out there but coffee? Well, actually yes.
I love old-fashioned French aperitifs but the name of this Provençal one makes it doubly irresistible. And the peach flavour makes it perfect for this time of year.
Despite the beautiful weather we’ve had over the past couple of days there’s a distinct late summer feel to the air which combined with the fact that the nights are drawing in reminds one - sadly - there aren’t that many evenings left for barbecuing this year. (Unless you’re one of those die-hards who grills all year round . . . )
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.
You may not be familiar with Carmenère but it's a delicious red at this chilly time of year.
Another week of brilliant pairings, another tough decision to make but I’m going for this combination at Delaire restaurant in Stellenbosch because it was such a great dish.
I was at the opening of TV chef Mitch Tonks' new fish restaurant in Bristol last week, Rockfish Grill. Normally they serve you bubbly on these occasions and there was some - an appealing Prosecco - but what caught my eye was an oyster stout that Mitch and a mate who owns the Albert Inn at Bridgetown, near Totnes had brewed up between them.
While orange wines are becoming more common I’m still not sure most people know when and with what to drink them so here’s a pairing that worked really well from a dinner I hosted for Bar Buvette, one of my favourite Bristol haunts, last week.
It’s been a very cheesy few days this past week - and I mean that in the sense of being cheese-focussed rather than corny.
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.
The idea of a Czech-style lager made by a very traditional-sounding British brewery may sound bizarre but this is one of the best lagers - if not the best - I’ve tasted in the UK.
Last night we went round to some new friends and they made the most delicious home-made burgers.
I was beginning to think we’d managed to skip winter this year before last week’s icy blasts and snow came as a timely reminder we’ve got a good few weeks to go yet. So there’s still time to enjoy one of winter’s great favourites - a Swiss cheese fondue.
Pancakes and beer might not sound like the most obvious of combinations but as with other flour-based foods such as sandwiches or pies they work together remarkably well. Especially, as I discovered when I was writing my food and beer book An Appetite for Ale last year, fruit-filled pancakes and fruit beers.
Soft drinks don’t often feature in my weekly pairings but this combination of an inventive savoury breakfast waffle and some lovely fresh pink grapefruit juice at The Modern Pantry last week was spot on.
I’ve lost track of the number of times my wine of the week has been a pinot noir but hell, I’ve been in Burgundy this week so what else could I recommend?
The peaches are so fabulous here in Arles, so gorged with sweet, ripe juice that we’re eating them almost daily. One great way to serve them which I was reminded about the other night when we dined at a local restaurant, Le Corazon is with red wine - just as good as the better-known pears in red wine.
A fresh, zesty citrus-based punch that’s packed with vitamin C. It obviously tastes best if you squeeze the fruit yourself but bought freshly squeezed juice is fine if you’re short of time.
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.
If you’re on the wagon this month, mealtimes can suddenly seem a bit drab and colourless. But if you’re missing the taste of your favourite wine try substituting a fruit juice that has similar flavours.
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.
Our final port of call on our recent French trip was a modest family run restaurant at Bourneville called Risle-Seine, a few minutes off the autoroute between Le Havre and Rouen (and therefore ideally placed for a last minute lunch before catching the ferry). It has no great pretensions but does what it does really well: simple classic country food served with decent, well-priced wines - and cider, we discovered this time.
You might think the idea of eating bacon and egg with good claret is sacrilege but bear with me.
Having been in Portugal for three days this week it’s no surprise that my top match this week is a port but the food pairing is surprisingly simple and delicious.
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
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.