Pairings | Shellfish

Salmon with shellfish sauce and aged semillon

Salmon with shellfish sauce and aged semillon

Last week I was in Australia’s beautiful Hunter Valley enjoying their two great specialities semillon and shiraz.

Matching food and Chablis

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

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.

Wine with lobster: 5 of the best pairings

Wine with lobster: 5 of the best pairings

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

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.

Vermentino and seafood

Vermentino and seafood

Normally this weekly post features a specific dish and wine but vermentino goes with so many fish dishes I think it’s worth flagging up its sheer versatility.

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.

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

Koyle Costa Sauvignon Blanc, Colchagua Costa 2012

Koyle Costa Sauvignon Blanc, Colchagua Costa 2012

If you’re a Sauvignon Blanc fan but are looking for something a little different try this deliciously fresh, elegant Chilean Sauvignon.

Gaintza Txakoli 2013

Gaintza Txakoli 2013

If you dread pronouncing wine names and steer away from flute shaped bottles you may want to give this wine a wide berth if you see it on the shelf but put your prejudices aside - it’s well worth a try.

Top wine pairings at Texture

Texture is one of the few restaurants to showcase a sommelier, the star in this instance being Xavier Rousset who used to work at The Manoir aux Quat' Saisons. His two year partnership at Texture with his former colleague Agnar Sverrisson has just been acknowledged with a Michelin star. I’ve reviewed it for Decanter here but the pairings were so exceptional I thought I’d go into more detail about them.

Salmon in pastry with currants and ginger

Salmon in pastry with currants and ginger

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

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.

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 . . .

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 eat with your favourite wines this Christmas

What to eat with your favourite wines this Christmas

Although we wine writers like to think we might be able to encourage you to be more adventurous in your wine choices this Christmas the truth is you’re probably going to stick to the wines you're familiar with.

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.

The best food pairings for white rioja

The best food pairings for white rioja

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

The best food 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 need big flavours on your plate to stand up to it.

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.

San Pellegrino and seafood

San Pellegrino and seafood

Like most wine-lovers, I suspect, I’ve made a new year’s resolution to drink rather less after the excesses of Christmas and the New Year. I’m not a big fan of sweetened fruit juices so my drink of choice at the moment, with meals and in between, is sparkling mineral water.

Fried acedias and Hidalgo Pastrana Manzanilla Pasada

Fried acedias and Hidalgo Pastrana Manzanilla Pasada

Last week I was in Sanlucar, the Spanish town in the south of Spain where they make manzanilla, so what else could my match of the week be but a sherry?

Fresh prawns and Greco di Tufo

Fresh prawns and Greco di Tufo

Odd though it sounds it's unusual to find a chef who's really knowledgeable about wine let alone one who's involved in creating his own list. Sam Harris of Zucca is one of the rare exceptions and the other day showed me some of the wines he's excited about.

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.

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.)

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.

Les Perles de Jones Carignan Gris, Côtes Catalanes

Les Perles de Jones Carignan Gris, Côtes Catalanes

This week’s Wine Society tasting was, as always, impressive but there’s one wine I’d urge you to buy now, despite the £16 price tag, as I suspect there isn't much of it.

Kaiken Terroir Series Torrontes 2014

Kaiken Terroir Series Torrontes 2014

This week I’ve managed to be in both Chile and Argentina so it was a toss-up which should provide the wine of the week . . .

Toupeirinho, Matosinhos - a perfect seafood restaurant

Toupeirinho, Matosinhos - a perfect seafood restaurant

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

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

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

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

The best match for caviar - vodka or champagne?

The best match for caviar - vodka or champagne?

For those of you who are lucky enough to be serving caviar this New Year's Eve I just dug this post I wrote back in 2009 out of the archives. Is champagne or vodka the better pairing? (I must confess the *research* was fun ...)

Normandy cider and creamy sauces

Normandy cider and creamy sauces

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.

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).

More pairings with Indian food

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

A vodka and caviar tasting flight

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

Warm smoked eel with carrots, marjoram and apple sauce

Smoked eel is not so difficult to find but most retailers sell it vacuum packed*: the problem with this technique, whilst keeping the fish admirably, is that it tends to express the oil from the meat. It is worth drying the fillets on kitchen paper before slicing. Most people don’t peel young baby carrots: I prefer to because I like to see them look smooth and glossy but I see the point of those who don’t.

Secret Kitchens by Sarah Willes and Hattie Lewis

Secret Kitchens is a highly personal selection of recipes from the cooks who work for Sarah Willes’ Blues Agency. It’s been put together to raise funds for a groundbreaking project that Sarah has got under way at Gibbs Green School in West London, a primary school for children with emotional and behavioural problems.

Wines to match Angela Hartnett's Easter menu

If you’re trying to get ahead for Easter here are some suggestions to match Angela Hartnett’s menu in the Daily Telegraph today.

Pairing wine and Indian seafood

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

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!)

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.

Wines to match wild salmon

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

Wine matches for salads (with a twist)

A lot of chefs - particularly male chefs - don't really get salads, making them either an afterthought or wildly, elaborately fussy. Mark Hix of the Independent is an exception - his are always simple but imaginative, reflecting the season perfectly. Here are my matches for his recipes in the Independent this weekend.

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.

Which wines pair best with raw food?

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

Which wine to match with Dover sole?

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

What to drink with Turkish food

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

Matching food and wine at Le Gavroche

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

What to drink at a wedding . . .

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

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

Pairing champagne and summer food

Pairing champagne and summer food

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

Cocktail and food pairing

Cocktail and food pairing

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

Clever pairings for rare sherries

Clever pairings for rare sherries

I don’t think I ever go to a sherry tasting without coming away renewed in my conviction about what a marvellous match it is for food and the one I attended yesterday was no exception. It was organised by the enterprising Les Caves de Pyrne who are importing for the first time into the UK some rare sherries from Emilio Hidalgo and took place at Dehesa, the sister (if that’s the appropriate word) restaurant of the better known Salt Yard.

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

A food and wine pairing experiment with Dr Peter Klosse

A food and wine pairing experiment with Dr Peter Klosse

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

A cocktail pairing dinner at The Seahorse

A cocktail pairing dinner at The Seahorse

One of the main events at the Dartmouth Food Festival this weekend was a dinner at Mitch Tonks Seahorse restaurant cooked by London chef Mark Hix. The unusual factor though was that every dish was matched with a cocktail.

10 offbeat Christmas wine pairings to suggest to your customers

10 offbeat Christmas wine pairings to suggest to your customers

One of the reasons people most appreciate independent wine merchants is that they can talk to them about the kind of wine that will suit the meals or occasions they're planning.

The charming eccentricity of Rye Bay Scallop Week

The charming eccentricity of Rye Bay Scallop Week

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

On the road in the Pacific North West: Day 1

On the road in the Pacific North West: Day 1

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

Blunos - posh fish in Bath

Blunos - posh fish in Bath

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

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.

Tomato Tonnato

Tomato Tonnato

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

Smoked trout with griddled lemon, cucumber & sourdough croutons

Smoked trout with griddled lemon, cucumber & sourdough croutons

A fresh, simple, clever recipe for two from one of the most charming of last year's cookery books, Rosie Birkett's A Lot on her Plate

Smoked salmon and radish salad

Smoked salmon and radish salad

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

Simon Hopkinson's Oysters Rockefeller

Simon Hopkinson's Oysters Rockefeller

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

Sheekey's famous fish pie

Sheekey's famous fish pie

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

Salmon burgers with goats cheese and sundried tomatoes

Salmon burgers with goats cheese and sundried tomatoes

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

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

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

An unusually complicated recipe for this site but one which should be absolutely worth the effort. It comes from Phil Howard's fantastic The Square: The Cookbook volume 1 which I suspect is already well-thumbed in many restaurant kitchens.

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

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

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

Moqueca baiana (Bahia-style fish stew)

Moqueca baiana (Bahia-style fish stew)

If you're inspired to cook Brazilian with the Olympics kicking off this weekend try this classic fish stew from Thiago Castanho and Luciana Bianchi's Brazilian Food.

Lobster thermidor baked potatoes

Lobster thermidor baked potatoes

Another run-out for Mark Hix's wonderfully decadent recipe for a lobster-stuffed baked potato from his book Hix on Baking. Such a great idea . . .

Lemons filled with tuna cream

Lemons filled with tuna cream

It may feel far from summery in the UK but one can always hope so get yourself into the mood with this lovely recipe from Eleonora Galasso's As the Romans Do.

Hiyajiru (chilled miso soup) with cucumber ice cubes

Hiyajiru (chilled miso soup) with cucumber ice cubes

I was pretty excited about chef Tim Anderson's new book Nanban anyway but when I saw that this recipe included cucumber ice cubes I was sold!

Cured brill with mint and peas

Cured brill with mint and peas

Chefs' recipes are often complicated but you couldn't ask for a simpler, more summery dish than this fabulous fish recipe from Nathan Outlaw's Fish Kitchen*.

Cullen skink (smoked haddock and leek chowder)

Cullen skink (smoked haddock and leek chowder)

If you can't face the thought of haggis on Burns' Night how about a warming bowl of deliciously creamy cullen skink - the Scots' answer to chowder?

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.

Celery, tomato and echalion sauce - a simple way of serving fish

Celery, tomato and echalion sauce - a simple way of serving fish

My friend cookery writer Andrea Leeman is one of the best home cooks I know with a knack of making even the simplest food taste utterly delicious.

Zarzuela

Zarzuela

A robust Spanish fish stew from Stevie Parle's fabulous new Dock Kitchen Cookbook. Stevie is one of the best -travelled and most original chefs in London with a well-honed magpie tendency of picking up ingredients and techniques from every country he visits. He also writes a weekly column in the Daily Telegraph.

Beetroot latkes: the perfect recipe for Thanksgivukkah

Beetroot latkes: the perfect recipe for Thanksgivukkah

The idea of Thanksgivukkah - a once-in-a-lifetime simultaneous celebration of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah - has really caught on. Caterer Elly Curshen of Bristol's Pear Café comes up with her perfect starter.

A Champagne (or sparkling wine) tasting and Russian-style smoked salmon and 'caviar' feast

A Champagne (or sparkling wine) tasting and Russian-style smoked salmon and 'caviar' feast

In the run-up Christmas there’s not much time for time-consuming dinner parties so this tasting and light supper is a fun and indulgent way to entertain good friends. Ask each of them to bring a chilled* bottle of bubbly - Champagne or otherwise - provide a couple of your own, cover up the bottles and taste them ‘blind’. Great fun for a start to see who can spot the ‘real’ Champagne (don’t worry if you can’t - many professionals are fooled by these kind of exercises) and a delicious way to get into festive mood.

100 calorie monkfish chermoula

100 calorie monkfish chermoula

A main course for 100 calories? Yes, that's possible in Kalpna Woolf's inspiring and original new book Spice Yourself Slim which explores how spices can enhance your diet.

Sweet Bordeaux and savoury food

Sweet Bordeaux and savoury food

Last week, the Union des Grands Vins Liquoureux de Bordeaux, the body that represents Bordeaux sweet wine producers, hosted a tasting of wines from six of the appellations they represent to partner savoury and sweet dishes at a lunch at le Cercle restaurant in Chelsea.

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.

Is cider more food-friendly than wine?

Is cider more food-friendly than wine?

Susanna Forbes of Drink Britain reports on a vigorously fought contest over dinner at The Thatchers Arms near Colchester last month

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.

Food villains - 9 awkward customers that could kill your wine

Food villains - 9 awkward customers that could kill your wine

This weekend I’ve been down at my favourite food festival in Dartmouth where I’ve been giving a number of wine talks. One of them was a forum on food and wine matching with wine writer and TV presenter Susy Atkins and former sommelier and wine supplier Tim McLoughlin-Green of Sommelier’s Choice.

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.

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.

20 top Australian Chardonnays

20 top Australian Chardonnays

To celebrate Australia Day here's a feature I wrote a year ago on Australian chardonnay - not as out of date as you might think as many of the vintages will only just have worked through.

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.

Why Pinot Gris hits the spot with spicy food

Why Pinot Gris hits the spot with spicy food

You may think tasting wine sounds arduous but a major wine and food tasting, I assure you, is a much greater assault on the system as I was reminded the other day when Victoria Moore of The Guardian and I ran 14 Pinot Gris through their paces with foods that ranged from smoked eel to chicken tikka masala. Neither of us was able to eat much for several days.

Which wines to pair with calamari/squid

Which wines to pair with calamari/squid

“Can you come up with a tastier, more satisfying, more consensual dish than calamari fritti?” asks restaurateur and Guardian columnist Yotam Ottolenghi in the paper today. Well, it’s a tough call but his other mouthwatering recipes would certainly run it close. Ottolenghi’s food is full of flavour and therefore quite a challenge for any accompanying wine but here’s what I would choose.

Which wine to drink with paella?

Which wine to drink with paella?

If you’re a bit hesitant about the idea of matching fish and red wine you might automatically think of pairing paella with a white wine. But I think it goes just as well with a rosé or a red.

Which foods pair best with whisky?

Which foods pair best with whisky?

I’ve been a bit of a sceptic in the past about pairing food with whisky. Not that there aren’t some great combinations but I find it hard to sustain for more than one dish.

Which food to pair with South African chenin blanc

Which food to pair with South African chenin blanc

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

What wine (and other drinks) to pair with poke

What wine (and other drinks) to pair with poke

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

Top wine pairings with scallops

Top wine pairings with scallops

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

Top 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.

The best wine matches for fishcakes

The best wine matches for fishcakes

Fishcakes are one of the ultimate comfort foods - I remember TV chef Antony Worrall-Thompson saying he could never take them off the menu - but is there an equally comforting wine pairing?

The best wine matches for turbot

The best wine matches for turbot

Turbot is a luxurious fish you might well be serving over the holiday period, most probably roast or seared. But what sort of wine should you pair with it?

The best wine matches for seabass

The best wine matches for seabass

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

The best wine matches for sardines

The best wine matches for sardines

Freshly caught grilled sardines are a treat at this time of year but how easy is it fo find a wine that will go with them? Look to the French and Portuguese for inspiration!

The best pairings for fino and manzanilla sherry

The best pairings for fino and manzanilla sherry

Manzanilla, as you probably know, is a fino sherry made in the port of Sanlucar de Barrameda rather than in the cities of Jerez or Puerto de Santa Maria which gives it its characteristic salty tang.

The best food to pair with vodka

The best food to pair with vodka

Vodka may be primarily thought of as a base for cocktails but in vodka-loving countries like Russia and Poland it’s always accompanied by food. Basically anything smoked, pickled or cured works well. Here are some ideas:

The best food pairings for Pinotage

The best food pairings for Pinotage

Like any other red South Africa's Pinotage comes in different styles - some lighter and fruitier than others. When you're matching it with food you take a cue from the sort of ingredients and dishes that go with its two ancestors - Pinot Noir and Cinsault.

The best food pairings for 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.

Some top food pairings for perry

Some top food pairings for perry

Real perry - as opposed to the often confected and artificially flavoured pear cider - has a different taste from cider. It’s more delicate, more fragrant, a better match for delicate ingredients like fish.

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 visited a winery and bought a few English or Welsh whites to celebrate English wine week this week you may be wondering what sort of food suits them best.

Six food pairings for gin that might surprise you

Six food pairings for gin that might surprise you

Given the immense popularity of gin the chances of you sitting in a bar downing a gin-based cocktail are pretty high. But at some point you're going to need something to eat so what kind of food can you pair with it?

Matching fish soup

Matching fish soup

I’m a huge fan of Nigel Slater’s. I buy the Observer every week just to read his recipes. Yes, I know I could read them online (as you can here) but you don’t get the luscious Jonathan Lovekin photographs. Not that you need them. Slater’s prose is so evocative you can taste the recipe as you read.

Is Koshu the best match for Japanese food?

Is Koshu the best match for Japanese food?

I suspect you’ll be hearing a lot about Koshu this year. No, it’s not some unfamiliar aspect of Japanese cuisine but a white wine made from a grape of the same name. A campaign to promote it in the UK was launched at a lunch in London yesterday by a VIP line-up of Japanese goverment officials from the Yamanashi prefecture where most of the winemakers are based.

How Thanksgiving sides can inspire your wine pairing

How Thanksgiving sides can inspire your wine pairing

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

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

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

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

6 of the best matches for fish and chips

6 of the best matches for fish and chips

Now that fish and chips can found in every posh fish restaurant, wine has become as popular a pairing as a nice cup of builders' tea (good though that is). But which one?

6 of my favourite pairings for pinot grigio

6 of my favourite pairings for pinot grigio

The news that pinot grigio has leapfrogged merlot to become the third most popular grape variety in the US is confirmation that, despite its critics, it’s gaining rather than losing fans.

4 good wines to pair with fish pie

4 good wines to pair with fish pie

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

15 Easter wine pairings to learn by heart

15 Easter wine pairings to learn by heart

As with my previous ‘learn by heart’ posts this is simply a quick way to remember great food and wine pairings at a busy time of year. There are of course other possibilities to which the links will guide you.

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.

 Some great food pairings for tequila

Some great food pairings for tequila

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

Wines - and other drinks - to match recipes from the Ottolenghi Cookbook

Wines - and other drinks - to match recipes from the Ottolenghi Cookbook

The book I’ve been looking forward to most so far this year has just started being serialised in the Guardian today. It’s by Yotam Ottolenghi who founded two exceptional London restaurants and is simply called Ottolenghi: the Cookbook. l love Ottolenghi's food - it’s so generous and big-flavoured, piled high on bright, colourful platters - you can't fail to be tempted by it. It also lends itself perfectly to entertaining for large numbers at home.

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.

What wine to drink with cuttlefish

What wine to drink with cuttlefish

Cuttlefish is a pain to prepare as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall points out in the Guardian today but it is particularly delicious to eat. It’s often partnered with robust flavours so you need to think in terms of equally intense flavoured wines.

What to drink with asparagus part I

What to drink with asparagus part I

Last night I had dinner at the Dorchester Grill Room, one of London’s grander hotel restaurants which has been given an absurdly baroque makeover reminiscent of what Balmoral must have looked like in Victorian times. The team in the restaurant though are bang up to date with one of the smartest sommeliers in town, Jason McAuliffe doing an impressive double act with the talented young chef Aiden Byrne.

Whitebait and Muscadet-sur-Lie

Whitebait and Muscadet-sur-Lie

Regulars may have noticed a distinct French bias in my matches of the week and have wondered why this is. The truth is that my husband is an unreconstructed Francophile so French wine is mainly what we drink at home and what we order if we’re out together.

White fish in cream sauce and Alsace Riesling

White fish in cream sauce and Alsace Riesling

It’s hard to pick out the best match from my trip to Alsace last week but I think it has to go to this classic combination you find in every traditional restaurant.

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.

Tuna Tataki and Grenache Blanc

Tuna Tataki and Grenache Blanc

Perfectly prepared Japanese food is not what you expect to find in the gastronomic desert of the Languedoc but this superb dish of rare tuna was a brilliant match for the richly textured white wine I drank at Côté Mas the other day.

Tuna tartare with wasabi aioli and Prager Grüner Veltliner

Tuna tartare with wasabi aioli and Prager Grüner Veltliner

Not last week's match, actually but a great one from a couple of weeks' back just before I went to Paris and which got overlooked.

Thai fishcakes and witbier

Thai fishcakes and witbier

Although I'm not one of those who is resolutely against pairing wine with spicy food there are definitely occasions when beer goes at least as well, if not better and this is one of them.

Teroldego and Tapas

Teroldego and Tapas

Sometimes you get in a rut with a particular food and wine combination - maybe on a ‘if it ain’t broke, why fix it? basis. Such is the case for me with tapas which I tend to recommend pairing with something Spanish - usually manzanilla sherry or - depending on the amount of seafood - a crisp Rueda, dry Spanish rosado or a young Rioja or similar Spanish red.

Tandoori salmon and fino sherry

Tandoori salmon and fino sherry

One of the more successful pairings from the otherwise rather challenging sherry lunch I attended at the Cinnamon Club last week was a dish of tandoori salmon with a Valdespino Innocente fino. I tend to overlook fino in favour of manzanilla but I’m not sure it’s not a more flexible match with food.

Sweet herring and mackerel rillettes with an aromatic Greek white

Sweet herring and mackerel rillettes with an aromatic Greek white

Paris isn’t the obvious place you’d think of drinking Greek wine - in fact it’s a rare sighting in a city whose wine lists are almost 100% French. So when I came across one in a hip little bar called Clamato I was intrigued

Sushi and an oaked Luis Pato white

Sushi and an oaked Luis Pato white

About the last thing you’d think I’d be recommending after 4 days in Portugal last week would be a wine pairing for sushi - but that was the outstanding match.

Salt cod with ciambotta di peperoni and 2004 Argentiera, Bolgheri Superiore

Salt cod with ciambotta di peperoni and 2004 Argentiera, Bolgheri Superiore

Another interesting insight on pairing red wine and fish in Tuscany this week. We were served lightly salted cod with a rich tomato and pepper stew called ciambotta at Tenuta Argentiera which proved a perfect match for the mature 2004 vintage.

Stir-fried lobster, egg white and scallop mousse with Chateau Fombrauge Bordeaux Blanc 2009

Stir-fried lobster, egg white and scallop mousse with Chateau Fombrauge Bordeaux Blanc 2009

A standout combination from the Hong Kong Tourist Board lunch at Bordeaux’ annual wine festival Fête le Vin last week. It was also the standout dish, a finely worked assembly of delicate flavours and textures from Chef Man Sing Lee of the Mandarin Oriental.

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 trout and artichoke linguini with a dry Pfalz Riesling

Smoked trout and artichoke linguini with a dry Pfalz Riesling

The other day I found myself at a meeting just round the corner from the newly opened Princess Victoria in Shepherds Bush in West London and popped in for lunch. It’s a splendid old building with a wonderfully baroque ceiling, one of the best I’ve ever seen in a pub.

Smoked trout and a Tricycle

Smoked trout and a Tricycle

My problem this week is that I have a terrific wine pairing but I can't tell you about it because it's the result of a tasting I was running for Decanter magazine. So you'll have to hang on till December for that. Sorry.

Smoked herring roes on toast and oyster stout

Smoked herring roes on toast and oyster stout

I seem to be spending most of my time dining with bloggers at the moment. On Sunday it was the Blaggers Banquet, next week an Umami night at Ms Marmite Lover’s underground restaurant and last Monday Dine with Dos Hermanos a monthly (or so) feast organised by Simon Majumdar and his brother Robin.

Smoked haddock and leek risotto and Albarino

Smoked haddock and leek risotto and Albarino

If you were thinking of a wine pairing for risotto you’d probably reach for an Italian white such as a Pinot Grigio but Spain’s famous Galician white Albarino works equally well as I discovered the other day.

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.

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.

Smoked eel, beetroot and Malbec

Smoked eel, beetroot and Malbec

This pretty dish was served the other night at what is still our favourite Bristol restaurant, Culinaria, even if we now live over the other side of town. It provided everything you want from a starter - light, appealing, appetite-stimulating.

Smoked cods roe and Metissage

Smoked cods roe and Metissage

This week’s pairing is as much about the wine as the dish though the two went exceptionally well together.

Smoked, caramelised salmon with Disznókö Tokaji 6 puttonyos 1993

Smoked, caramelised salmon with Disznókö Tokaji 6 puttonyos 1993

This week’s match is not mine but fellow wine writer Margaret Rand’s who also writes for Decanter. She recently went to Hungary at the invitation of AXA Millésimes who ownes the Tokaji producer Disznókö - as well as Château Suiduiraut - for what must be the most extraordinary wine dinner ever conceived: a Chinese meal, paired with sweet wine cooked by two Bordeaux-based chefs Tommy and Andy Shan of Au Bonheur du Palais, (which happens to be AXA proprietor Christian Seely’s favourite restaurant in the city).

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.

Seared tuna with sesame and 2013 Elephant Hill Syrah

Seared tuna with sesame and 2013 Elephant Hill Syrah

My final meal in New Zealand last week was also one of the most impressive of my recent trip: lunch at the award-winning Elephant Hill winery in Hawkes Bay.

Seared diver-caught scallops and mature white burgundy

Seared diver-caught scallops and mature white burgundy

I was trying to think what food and wine match I would most like to be presented with on Valentine’s Day. I’m off foie gras. Caviar is horrendously expensive and very un-PC. Smoked salmon is nice, certainly, but no longer quite the special treat it once was (unless it’s wild). And I must be one of the few people in the world who isn’t anyone’s for a gooey chocolate pud.

Seared cod with red wine sauce and Premier Cru Santenay

Seared cod with red wine sauce and Premier Cru Santenay

There’s still a bit of resistance to drinking red wine with fish, let alone with a white fish like cod but last week I had the perfect dish to combine with a good red burgundy.

Seafood tapas and Txakoli

Seafood tapas and Txakoli

Despite its almost unpronounceable name Txakoli (pronounced chackoly) is the new kid on the block for anyone who likes a crisp dry white wine.

Seafood pizza and medium-dry cider

Seafood pizza and medium-dry cider

The cider revival continues to gather momentum - and this time it’s with food. Of course cider has always been popular in summer but this year there seem to be many more well-made 'craft' ciders around - not just the latest raft of fruit flavoured fizzy drinks.

Seafood pizza and Craven The Firs Syrah

Seafood pizza and Craven The Firs Syrah

A full-flavoured red and seafood? Doesn’t sound like the kind of pairing that would work but as ever it depends on the wine and how the dish is prepared.

Seabass crudo, Felsina olive oil and Meriggio sauvignon blanc

Seabass crudo, Felsina olive oil and Meriggio sauvignon blanc

Given that I’m not a massive sauvignon fan it might surprise you that it features as my match of the week for the second successive week but it’s a question of quality. With the right dish good sauvignon is a joy.

Sea urchins, beurre blanc and Ruinart Champagne

Sea urchins, beurre blanc and Ruinart Champagne

When luxury foods are discussed there's always an omission. An ingredient that I personally think is one of the most delicious in the world - sea urchins.

Sea bass rillettes and Joseph Burrier Mâcon-Vergisson 2007

Sea bass rillettes and Joseph Burrier Mâcon-Vergisson 2007

One of the most reliable wine matches is white fish with white wine and cream and/or butter and white burgundy - one of those blissful combinations that actually makes the wine taste better than it otherwise would.

Sea bass carpaccio and Grüner Veltliner

Sea bass carpaccio and Grüner Veltliner

The other day we went to Il Vino d’Enrico Bernardo, an innovative new restaurant in Paris run by the world’s best sommelier in 2004 which has just won a Michelin star. The unusual aspect is that there is a wine rather than a food menu. You choose what you want to drink and they create a dish or a menu around it.

Scrambled eggs and sparkling wine

Scrambled eggs and sparkling wine

If your New Year breakfast today includes eggs, especially brunch-type dishes such as scrambled eggs with smoked salmon or eggs benedict there’s no better partner than Champagne or other dry sparkling wine.

Scallops and Muscat

Scallops and Muscat

A clever combination I had last week at a French restaurant called Larcen.

Scallop tartare and sauvignon blanc

Scallop tartare and sauvignon blanc

What on earth do you do when you have a line-up of some of the best wines in the world in front of you? Do you attempt to match them or reflect more the mood, the company and the time of year? Or, given that they're indisputably the hero of the occasion, do you just go with the sort of food the kitchen does well anyway?

Scallop and mango ceviche with Montes Cherub Syrah Rosé

Scallop and mango ceviche with Montes Cherub Syrah Rosé

Given Chile’s proximity to the coast, this week’s match couldn’t be anything but seafood but I’m going to pass over the more obvious pairings with sauvignon blanc in favour of this wildly brilliant combination of scallops and rosé.

Sauvignon-semillon and seared salmon carpaccio

Sauvignon-semillon and seared salmon carpaccio

Some weeks are tougher than others when it comes to picking my match of the week. Last week which included an excellent lunch with Carolyn Martin of Creation Wines at Sexy Fish was one.

Sashimi and Koshu

Sashimi and Koshu

This week’s match had to involve the extraordinary Kaiseki meal I had at Umu. I wrote it up extensively a few days ago so I won’t dwell on it again but rather focus on the pairing that I think would work best in a less rarified contest. And that’s sashimi and unoaked koshu.

Prawn tagliolini and Poggio San Polo Rosso di Montalcino

Prawn tagliolini and Poggio San Polo Rosso di Montalcino

If there’s one thing you might think you could be sure of it would be that you should drink white wine with a seafood pasta dish like this. But, you know what? It was this silkily delicious red that went swimmingly.

Salt cod with chorizo and Cabernet - yes, Cabernet!

Salt cod with chorizo and Cabernet - yes, Cabernet!

Few these days dispute that red wine goes with fish - it’s just a question of which wine and how the fish is cooked. Most would accept ‘meaty' steak lookalikes like grilled or spiced tuna or salmon work with Pinot Noir but would hesitate to take it much further than that but last week I found a couple of surprisingly good fish matches at one of my favourite new wine bars 28-50.

Salt and pepper squid with Asian dressing and Fleur du Cap unfiltered chardonnay

Salt and pepper squid with Asian dressing and Fleur du Cap unfiltered chardonnay

One of the highlights of last week’s trip to South Africa was a salt pairing dinner with Fleur du Cap wines at the Bergkelder. The chef Craig Cormack was a real salt fanatic having hunted down dozens of different varieties and experimented with matching them with different wines.

Salmon sashimi and dry Languedoc rosé

Salmon sashimi and dry Languedoc rosé

Not, I admit, the sort of starter you expect to be served on your first night in France - or the wine you’d expect to go with it - but the pairing, at the Château du Port in Marseillan*, worked perfectly.

Salmon with leeks and Chardonnay

Salmon with leeks and Chardonnay

In the general flurry of celebrations last week I missed out on St David’s Day (the patron saint of Wales) and the opportunity to write about leeks. Leeks tend to excite a certain amount of derision but I think they’re a fabulous vegetable, much milder, subtler and sweeter than onion and much more sympathetic to a fine white wine (for I think they go much better with a white wine than a red one).

Salmon Uri with spicy ginger beer

Salmon Uri with spicy ginger beer

It’s always good to find a restaurant that takes non-alcoholic drinks as seriously as it does boozy ones so it was an easy decision to order a spicy ginger beer cocktail at The Palomar the other day.

Salmon ceviche and Soave

Salmon ceviche and Soave

With its intense citrussy flavour ceviche - marinated raw fish - is a tricky dish to pair with wine.

Salmon and Pinot Noir

Salmon and Pinot Noir

If you think you automatically need to partner a fish dish with white wine think again! Meaty fish such as salmon and tuna take really well to Pinot Noir, the grape variety that the hero Miles raved about in the hit movie Sideways.

Salade Niçoise and Rosé

Salade Niçoise and Rosé

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.

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

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

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

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.

Red mullet, tapenade and white Saint Joseph

Red mullet, tapenade and white Saint Joseph

Last week I was in the Northern Rhone where the biggest challenge, from a food and wine matching perspective, is what you eat with its distinctive whites which are made from Marsanne and Roussanne

Provençal-style fish soup and Picpoul de Pinet

Provençal-style fish soup and Picpoul de Pinet

We’re down in the Languedoc for a few days and ended up at one of our favourite fish restaurant Le Glacier at Marseillan.

Prawns and Aligoté

Prawns and Aligoté

To those who have spotted on Twitter that I'm down in the Languedoc it might seem odd that to be drinking aligoté but we’d picked some up in Burgundy on our journey through France and wanted to try it out.

Prawn raviole and white Bordeaux

Prawn raviole and white Bordeaux

Having spent 3 days in Bordeaux last week I’m spoilt for choice about my match of the week but I’m going for one of the less obvious pairings (so not Pauillac and lamb!).

Poached salt pollock and cauliflower with Julien Meyer's 'Nature' Sylvaner/Pinot Gris

Poached salt pollock and cauliflower with Julien Meyer's 'Nature' Sylvaner/Pinot Gris

Like half the world it seems at the moment I’m a bit obsessed with cauliflower so was drawn to this dish at Birch in Bristol on Friday like a moth to a flame

Poached langoustines and Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc

Poached langoustines and Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc

Last week I caught up with Hein Koegelenberg of La Motte which I visited a couple of years ago when the winery was nominated Wine Tourism Champion by the Great Wine Capitals of the World (you can find my Decanter article on the experience here).

Plaice with clams, girolles and mash with FMC Chenin

Plaice with clams, girolles and mash with FMC Chenin

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.

Pike and crayfish pithivier with white burgundy

Pike and crayfish pithivier with white burgundy

If you’re looking for a match for a serious white burgundy you couldn’t do better than this elaborate pike and crayfish pie or tourte de brochet, bisque écrevisse as they billed it at the Château de Montreuil last week.

Pickled herrings with lager and akvavit

Pickled herrings with lager and akvavit

If you're not into herrings this match might not seem desperately appealing but I promise you it’s an outstanding combination. It’s prompted by my recent visit to Copenhagen where the Danes eat herrings on an almost daily basis as part of their smørrebrød (selection of open sandwiches).

Peruvian-style scallops and Rioja rosado

Peruvian-style scallops and Rioja rosado

I thought it was pretty brave of rioja producer Ramon Bilbao to present their wines at a cutting edge Peruvian restaurant last week. Still, everyone knows rioja goes with Spanish food so why not? You never make new wine pairing discoveries if you don’t push the envelope.

Oysters and sake

Oysters and sake

A surprise match from the RAW wine fair last week: some extraordinarily good wild rock oysters and a range of unpasteurised, unfiltered sakes from Yoigokochi Sake.

Oysters and oyster stout

Oysters and oyster stout

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.

Oysters and La Amistad 2013 - a young fresh red from Alicante

Oysters and La Amistad 2013 - a young fresh red from Alicante

It’s generally held that red wine doesn’t pair with oysters unless they’re served, as in Bordeaux, with little crepinettes (pork patties) or spicy sausages but I found a wine last week that suited them perfectly.

Oysters and dry German riesling

Oysters and dry German riesling

I don't normally think of pairing raw oysters with riesling - even dry ones seem too sweet but I came across a combination last week at the newly opened Magpie in London that worked brilliantly.

Oyster rarebit and Guinness

Oyster rarebit and Guinness

This is one of those rare weeks where I’ve come across four brilliant pairings that could have made the ‘match of the week’ slot but as it’s St Patrick’s Day tomorrow and I haven’t done a beer for a while I’ll go for the topical one.

Octopus with orange wine

Octopus with orange wine

Orange wines - white wines that are made in a similar way to a red, leaving the juice in contact with the skins - have become increasingly popular in the last couple of years, proving impressively versatile with food.

Moqueca and Caiprinhas

Moqueca and Caiprinhas

Last week our local tapas bar, Ocean, held a Brazilian evening with a talented local Bristol singer Frances Butt who is really into Latin music. (So much so that she has issued an album called The Girl from Wolverhampton - where she grew up though obviously not where her soul lies . . .)

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).

Manzanilla and tapas

Manzanilla and tapas

I was reminded just how enjoyable this combination is the other day when I dropped by London’s latest tapas bar Barrafina and enjoyed a pre-dinner pick-up of a glass of Hidalgo with some al-i-oli and toast. The sharp tangy sherry was the perfect foil for the crisp toast and silky, garlic-flavoured mayo that accompanied it.

Mackerel pasty and Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2006

Mackerel pasty and Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2006

This actually wasn't the dish with which I drank this brilliant new sparkling wine at Rocksalt in Folkestone last week - I'd unfortunately finished my glass by then - but it would certainly have been a knockout wine pairing.

Mackerel en escabeche with manzanilla sherry

Mackerel en escabeche with manzanilla sherry

No apologies for returning to one of my favourite drinks, manzanilla sherry, as it’s such a versatile food wine. This time I found a felicitous match with a dish of mackerel en escabeche which was served at one of my regular hangouts in Bristol, Quartier Vert.

Mackerel and artichokes with Mademoiselle rosé

Mackerel and artichokes with Mademoiselle rosé

As I’ve been down in the Languedoc for the past week most of my food and wine combinations have been classic. Picpoul and oysters (always great), a rich grenache/syrah/mourvedre blend called Cascaillou* with a beef daube (spot on) and my wine of the week, Mas des Chimères Oeillade (a cinsault) with grilled lamb and herbs.

Lobster burger and Kumeu River Chardonnay

Lobster burger and Kumeu River Chardonnay

I’m conscious there’s a marked French bias in the pairings on this site so I’m going to go not for the excellent Alsace riesling and choucroute combo I had last week - or the many amazing wine matches at the Szechuan dinner which I’ve written up here but a very flashy lobster ‘burger’ and chardonnay I had at the Soho restaurant Bob Bob Ricard

Lobster with lichen and Torello Special Edition Cava

Lobster with lichen and Torello Special Edition Cava

I went to the most extraordinary wine pairing dinner last week at Elena Arzak’s Ametsa in London, sponsored by the Consejo Regulador for Cava

Lobster macaroni cheese and Ruinart champagne

Lobster macaroni cheese and Ruinart champagne

When I flicked through the pictures I’d taken of the wines I’d drunk over Christmas and the New Year I realised there was a LOT of champagne. Partly because I’d been given or shared some rather nice bottles but equally because champagne goes with practically everything from oysters to shepherds pie (as the novelist Jeffrey Archer famously established).

Lobster and sweetcorn with Allende Rioja Blanco

Lobster and sweetcorn with Allende Rioja Blanco

I came across this pairing at a dinner to launch the London Restaurant Festival. It was held at Nuno Mendes Loft Project, a permanent East London pop-up - if there is such a thing - where he normally hosts visiting chefs of a similarly experimental bent. Mendes is one of the most talented chefs in London at the moment and normally cooks at nearby Viajante in Bethnal Green which I reviewed here.

Lobster and Condrieu

Lobster and Condrieu

The advantage of having chefs and wine merchants as friends is that you don't really need to go to restaurants*.

Langoustines and caviar with Faiveley’s Puligny Montrachet 1er cru La Garenne 2009

Langoustines and caviar with Faiveley’s Puligny Montrachet 1er cru La Garenne 2009

A celestial combination I enjoyed at a burgundy dinner at the Grand Hotel de Bordeaux last week. Burgundy in Bordeaux? Yup - I guess they want to ring the changes from time to time but it does seem heretical.

Langoustine cannellonis and citrus with Pacherenc de Vic Bilh

Langoustine cannellonis and citrus with Pacherenc de Vic Bilh

It's always a challenge to pick a single wine with an elaborate tasting menu but the Jardins de Bouscassé 2008 Pacherenc du Vic Bilh sec from Alain Brumont we ordered with our meal at La Renaissance in Argentan last week hit the spot with almost every dish.

Kedgeree and Western Australia Semillon

Kedgeree and Western Australia Semillon

I realised the other day that there’s a marked French bias to this site. Partly because I spend a fair bit of time in France but also, I have to admit, because I do enjoy drinking French wine. So here, in an attempt to redress the balance and to celebrate Australia Day is an unusual but highly successful Aussie pairing.

John Dory poached in red wine with Daniel Rion Nuits-St-Georges

John Dory poached in red wine with Daniel Rion Nuits-St-Georges

It was hard to pick just one pairing from the stellar meal I had at Marcus Wareing in London last week but this combination of robustly cooked John Dory and 2005 Nuits-St-Georges from Domaine Daniel Rion was the most interesting, underlining that red wine can be just as good a partner for white fish as for meatier fish like tuna.

Hot smoked salmon, Korean carrots and pinot gris

Hot smoked salmon, Korean carrots and pinot gris

This is one of those serendipitous pairings you sometimes stumble across when you rustle up a scratch meal and pair it with an open bottle in the fridge.

Herring and aquavit

Herring and aquavit

This week’s match of the week - herring and aquavit - was paired for me - appropriately enough - by the restaurant Aquavit which has just opened an outpost in London.

Grüner Veltliner and salt cod

Grüner Veltliner and salt cod

I came across this unlikely combination while I was flying back from Argentina with the Brazilian airline TAM* who have this year decided to inaugurate a Brazilian menu in business class devised by a woman chef called Ana Luisa Trajano. And quite right too.

Grilled tuna tart and Camus Ile de Ré Double Matured Cognac

Grilled tuna tart and Camus Ile de Ré Double Matured Cognac

The idea of matching Cognac with any food other than chocolate is still regarded as unconventional - even more so in the case of fish - but I promise you this pairing, the first course at a lunch at Camus, would have blown you away.

Grilled sardines and - eeek! - Sir Cliff's Onda Nova Verdelho

Grilled sardines and - eeek! - Sir Cliff's Onda Nova Verdelho

As the best summer for a barbeque for some years it’s been a frustrating time for us flat-dwellers but when I was sent some fresh sardines* the other day I knew I was going to have to find some way to grill them outside if the flat wasn’t going to smell of fish for days.

Grey mullet, fennel and muscadet

Grey mullet, fennel and muscadet

This isn’t the first time I’ve made muscadet my match of the week but it’s a wine that’s great value, constantly improving in quality and unbelievably versatile with food.

Greco di Tufo with grilled seabass

Greco di Tufo with grilled seabass

I was reminded just how spectacularly, unexpectedly good southern Italian whites can be by a Slow Food wine dinner the other night at Flâneur to celebrate the publication of the English edition of their restaurant guide Osterie & Locande d’Italia. It was hosted by Feudi di San Gregorio, the iconic winery from Campania whose wines I haven’t tried for a while.

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.

Gin and tonic with peppered smoked mackerel

Gin and tonic with peppered smoked mackerel

Gin isn’t just an aperitif, it’s also a surprisingly good match for food as I’ve already suggested in this post. Last week I discovered yet another way to enjoy it - with peppered smoked mackerel.

Fritto misto + vino bianco

Fritto misto + vino bianco

One of the real treats of our trip to Venice is fritto misto which used to refer to the assorted small fish that were too small to be sold from the fishermens’ catch but nowadays takes all manner of shapes and forms including vegetables and polenta (usually to keep the price down).

Fried sprats and grower champagne

Fried sprats and grower champagne

A reminder this week of just what a perfect match champagne and fried fish is - with a twist. The fish was one of the cheapest of catches, the humble sprat.

Fried red gurnard and chips and Devon red cider

Fried red gurnard and chips and Devon red cider

It was a bumper week for food pairings last week a number of which I’ll be flagging up elsewhere on the site and my Facebook page but I’ve gone for this very straightforward combination because its so simple to replicate at home

Fish tacos and Clare Valley riesling

Fish tacos and Clare Valley riesling

Last week I pushed the envelope a bit further with wine and spice pairing with a Wine and Chilli dinner at The Spicery in Bristol

Fish pie and Chardonnay

Fish pie and Chardonnay

With just over three weeks to go to Christmas it’s time to begin planning your holiday drinking if you haven’t done so already. You may have already decided what to eat and drink for the Big Meal itself but chances are you’ll have to provide several other meals over the holiday period for which it’s useful to have an appropriate bottle.

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’.

Fideos negros con calamaritos with alioli and Rueda

Fideos negros con calamaritos with alioli and Rueda

I’ve never been a huge fan of Rueda, a sauvignon-style wine from the north of Spain, but seem to have been drinking it non-stop since I arrived in Malaga.

Dry German riesling and cured salmon

Dry German riesling and cured salmon

Cured - or marinated - salmon is something you’ll find on a lot of menus these days but what’s the best wine to drink with it?

Dom Pérignon rosé 2002 and sweet shrimp

Dom Pérignon rosé 2002 and sweet shrimp

I was in two minds about making this my match of the week because I’m not sure that the new DP vintage rosé - like many great wines - doesn’t taste better on its own.

Dim sum and Champagne

Dim sum and Champagne

A very Western approach to Chinese food, admittedly, but if you're celebrating Chinese New Year today with a dim sum lunch you'll find that Champagne - or other sparkling wine - makes a perfect pairing.

Crispy chilli lime squid with edamame bean and coriander salad and pinot gris

Crispy chilli lime squid with edamame bean and coriander salad and pinot gris

Having picked up a heavy cold a couple of days before flying to New Zealand last week I arrived unable to taste a thing but this delicately pretty wine from Brick Bay Winery in Matakana managed to penetrate the fog.

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*.

Clams with rice and Verd Albera

Clams with rice and Verd Albera

What do you drink with tapas? My immediate go-to is sherry but having indulged that whim the other day in the form of a glass of tangy manzanilla amontillada from Lustau’s almacenista collection I unusually followed it up with a glass of white.

Citrus fizz and Mexican food

Citrus fizz and Mexican food

If you’re not drinking for whatever reason - because you’re driving, pregnant or just taking a break - it’s sometimes difficult to find something that makes a good match for what you’re eating. Soft drinks can be sweet and sugary. Water sometimes too plain.

Chocolate and roasted Oolong tea

Chocolate and roasted Oolong tea

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.

Ceviche and Susana Balbo Torrontes

Ceviche and Susana Balbo Torrontes

I’m currently away in Priorato in Spain (of which more later this week) but this was a great combination I came across last week at the Gaucho Grill in Swallow Street, London.

Ceviche and pisco sour

Ceviche and pisco sour

I’ve been in Chile for the past week at the World’s Best Sommelier competition and have plenty to report about that but here’s a great non-wine match in the meantime - and a couple of tips about how to make an authentic Pisco Sour.

Ceviche and Pisco Soho

Ceviche and Pisco Soho

Last week was particularly good for off-the-wall pairings but I'm going to nominate this delicious cocktail as my match of the week.It was at the new Peruvian restaurant and bar, Ceviche and was a wonderfully refreshing mixture of limo aji chilli-infused pisco (limo aji chilli is a native Peruvian pepper) with elderflower liqueur, cucumber, lime, egg white and cracked black pepper.

Oscietra caviar and Galvin at Windows’ White Snapper

Oscietra caviar and Galvin at Windows’ White Snapper

Last week was (highly unusually) a big week for caviar - and caviar substitutes which I ate on two successive nights paired with everything from vodka to beer. Decadent or what?

Carrot and basil-infused slugs and Saumur Blanc

Carrot and basil-infused slugs and Saumur Blanc

For the first time my match of the week is not one I’ve experienced myself but was reported by Ron Zimmerman of The Herbfarm in Woodinville, Washington on Twitter (where he tweets as Herbguy - and I tweet as winematcher)

Brown shrimps and cucumber with Corail Ros 2010

Brown shrimps and cucumber with Corail Ros 2010

I could have made almost any of the pairings in the Restaurants in Residence pop-up supper in Docklands last Tuesday my match of the week but I think this one just inches it, mainly because I absolutely loved the wine, Corail Rosé.

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 brill with truffles and La Rocca Soave

Braised brill with truffles and La Rocca Soave

I’ve already mentioned this wine pairing as part of my write-up of the Action Against Hunger pop-up with Rick Stein but it was the outstanding match of last week.

Boiled Ballycotton lobster and premier cru Chablis

Boiled Ballycotton lobster and premier cru Chablis

One of things I enjoyed most on our recent trip to Ireland* was the seafood. The fish shop in Midleton, Co. Cork had a fantastic array of locally caught lobster, crab and prawns at very reasonable prices. They tasted great too - really fresh and sweet.

Bardolino Chiaretto and seafood pasta

Bardolino Chiaretto and seafood pasta

Yesterday I had lunch with some old friends in a chic little Italian restaurant called Trenta. It’s in in the upwardly mobile neighbourhood just west of Edgware Road in London into which Tony and Cherie Blair have just moved. (It also has a Jimmy Choo shop two doors down. It’s that kind of ‘hood)

Bacchus and cucumber

Bacchus and cucumber

Hot on the heels of its best ever medal tally in the International Wine Challenge, English wine is under the spotlight again this week which has been designated English Wine Week. It was sparkling wines that did particularly well in the Challenge but I have a soft spot for a variety called Bacchus, a white wine with a refreshing, sappy hedgerow freshness, not unlike a Sauvignon Blanc. Camel Valley in Cornwall makes a particularly good version.

Asparagus mousse, peas and oyster with Donkiesbaai Steen

Asparagus mousse, peas and oyster with Donkiesbaai Steen

I’ve been reminded during the last few days in the Cape Winelands of the great versatility of Chenin Blanc also known locally by its Afrikaans name Steen but this was the standout pairing.

Anchovies and Txakoli

Anchovies and Txakoli

What pairing can I possibly I pick from a trip to San Sebastian, the most gastronomic city in Spain, possibly even in Europe?

Anchovies and Grenache Gris

Anchovies and Grenache Gris

Anchovies are always reputed to be difficult with food but I found a great match for them over the past few days down in Collioure and Banyuls. Which of course there should be as they’re a speciality of the area.

Anchoïade and strong dry southern French rosé

Anchoïade and strong dry southern French rosé

Anchovies are supposed to be tricky with wine but I pretty well always find that rosé hits the spot.

Anchoïade and manzanilla

Anchoïade and manzanilla

I’m beginning to wonder if there’s anything manzanilla doesn’t pair with - or fino, come to that. Of course, there is but both sherries do seem to be brilliant at dealing with the tricky customers of the culinary world, especially pungent salty ones like anchovies and capers.

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.

 Spiced whitebait with sriracha and Chinon rosé

Spiced whitebait with sriracha and Chinon rosé

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

 Oysters and Tasmanian fizz

Oysters and Tasmanian fizz

I’m not a big fan of champagne with raw oysters. Most have a level of dosage (added sugar) that tastes even sweeter when you pair them with a briny mollusc but Tasmanian sparkling wine is different

 Beetroot-cured salmon with horseradish and Furmint

Beetroot-cured salmon with horseradish and Furmint

It’s always good to find a new wine that will take on all comers and I think I’ve found it in dry Furmint.

Which wine to choose for Thanksgiving

Which wine to choose for Thanksgiving

The first thing to bear in mind about Thanksgiving - and for that matter Christmas - is that it’s as much about mood as food. Who you’re inviting, what age they are and how big your party is are factors every bit as important as what you’re eating.

What to drink with Heston’s Diamond Jubilee picnic

What to drink with Heston’s Diamond Jubilee picnic

Heston Blumenthal’s Jubilee picnic hamper was unveiled yesterday - to be served at Buckingham Palace before an open-air concert on June 4th. The picnic is being funded by Waitrose who must be pleased as punch to have the Palace’s endorsement in this video. The guests will also apparently be given vouchers for a glass of Moët or a bottle of Cobra beer (the other sponsors of the event).

Lyndey Milan's Aussie-style barbecue lunch

Lyndey Milan's Aussie-style barbecue lunch

One of the highlights of my trip to Australia earlier this 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

An alternative Burns Night supper for six

An alternative Burns Night supper for six

Haggis may be traditional fare for Burns' Night but let's face it, it's not everyone's cup of tea. So here's a Scottish inspired menu that I suspect you'll probably enjoy rather more (unless you're born and bred Scots, of course...)

A Valentine's dinner for lazy lovers

A Valentine's dinner for lazy lovers

Whatever you get up to on Valentine’s night (and truly, I’d rather not know) my guess is you’ve got better things to do than spend it slaving over a hot stove. So this is an unashamed cheat’s menu for you to romance your loved one with the absolute minimum of effort. Needless to say, buy only the very best ingredients.

A St Patrick's Day supper

A St Patrick's Day supper

It’s a tribute to the sheer joie-de-vivre of the Irish that we regard St Patrick’s Day with much more enthusiasm than St George’s, St Andrew’s or St David’s Days (the patron saints for England, Scotland and Wales for those of you who aren’t into your saints). So your friends are going to be more than pleased to be invited to celebrate it with you.

Wine of the week: Domaine d’Escausses, cuvée des Drilles

Wine of the week: Domaine d’Escausses, cuvée des Drilles

Although I’m supposed to be the wine expert in the family my husband has an uncanny knack of alighting on exactly the right bottle when we go out to eat, unfailingly plucking the bargain from any wine list.

Wine of the week: Colomé Torrontes 2015

Wine of the week: Colomé Torrontes 2015

The last couple of weeks have passed in a flurry of tastings marked by a number of standout (and some depressingly bad) wines.

Wine of the week: Ataraxia Chardonnay 2013

Wine of the week: Ataraxia Chardonnay 2013

Every so often (sadly not THAT often) you come across a wine on a wine list that’s so well priced you can’t quite believe it. Which is what happened to us last night at the St Vincent in Clifton.

Simmonet Febvre Irancy 2012

Simmonet Febvre Irancy 2012

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?

Savatiano 2014/15 Domaine Papagiannakos - a delicious Greek white

Savatiano 2014/15 Domaine Papagiannakos - a delicious Greek white

Even if you’re into wine I reckon there’s a fair chance you won’t have heard of Savatiano a grape that's indigenous to the Attica region of Greece and which is also used to make retsina.

Planeta Alastro 2015

Planeta Alastro 2015

If you’re a fan of sauvignon blanc you’re going to love this fresh, aromatic Sicilian white from one of the island's best known wineries, Planeta.

Mon Vieux Hell’s Heights Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Mon Vieux Hell’s Heights Sauvignon Blanc 2013

It’s always a bit hairy doing a live food and wine pairing if you haven’t had a chance to have a run-through first - and even if you have some variable, usually the food, invariably changes.

Wine of the week: Melonix 2014

Wine of the week: Melonix 2014

One of the best ways to make new wine discoveries is to experiment with wines by the glass. And that is how I found Melonix, a fabulous wine from biodynamic Loire producer Domaines Jo Landron at the newly opened Frenchie in Covent Garden yesterday.

Gundog Estate Wild Semillon 2015

Gundog Estate Wild Semillon 2015

As I pointed out in my Guardian column this week Australian wines are fetching some pretty steep prices but to drink a Hunter Valley semillon of this quality it’s absolutely worth it.

Domaine Labet Fleur de Savagnin ‘en chalasse’ Cotes du Jura 2012

Domaine Labet Fleur de Savagnin ‘en chalasse’ Cotes du Jura 2012

I’ve tasted this wine before but was reminded how absolutely delicious it is when we had a bottle at lunch at Bell’s Diner in Bristol this week. (No I don’t spend my *entire* life there despite this article in the Guardian.)

Cape Point Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc

Cape Point Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc

As those of you who read my column in the Guardian will know I’m not a huge fan of Sauvignon Blanc but this is a wine I’m more than happy to make an exception for.

Berry Bros & Rudd Reserve Red

Berry Bros & Rudd Reserve Red

Only a merchant with a pedigree like Berry Bros & Rudd could consider an £8.45 bottle a ‘house wine’ but if your usual fare is classed growth claret I guess it is.

Audacia Godello 2012, Les Trois Amis, Valdeorras

Audacia Godello 2012, Les Trois Amis, Valdeorras

I don’t often get the chance to taste wines from the northern supermarket chain Booth’s but fell hook, line and sinker for this gorgeous Spanish white they served at their pre-Christmas lunch this week.

 Morrisons The Best Marques de Los Rios Rioja Blanco Reserva 2011

Morrisons The Best Marques de Los Rios Rioja Blanco Reserva 2011

I’m flagging this up not because I think you’re all going to love it - mature white wines are not for everyone* - but because I think it’s a fantastic achievement for a supermarket to stock a six year old wine of such quality in its own label range.

 Wine of the week: Morande One to One Pais

Wine of the week: Morande One to One Pais

They say that the best wine is the bottle that’s empty at the end of the evening and so it proved with this light Chilean red which I shared with my neighbours the other night.

St John and the art of the long lunch

St John and the art of the long lunch

Everyone I know who’s into food has a soft spot for St John. True, it has/has had its ups and downs but It’s easy to forget just how groundbreaking it was when it opened 19 years ago. And how absolutely right its values still are in terms of serving great ingredients simply,

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