Pairings | Truffles
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.
The last few days I’ve been eating and drinking my way around Piedmont - the perfect time of year as the region’s fabled white truffles are in season.
"It’s not every day you get invited to a private dinner cooked by the most famous chef in the world" writes Guy Woodward. "But the other week an email arrived in my inbox that had me scrambling for my diary and clearing anything and everything listed under October 30.
Port and stilton is one of the classic wine pairings but does it work if you pair a port with a blue cheese chocolate?
There’s only one pairing I could focus on this week given that I was in Piemonte and that is white truffles. What was the best match? Incredibly hard to say!
You might think egg and chips was too humdrum a dish to be paired with wine but not the way the Spanish make it.
Although chardonnay is grown practically everywhere that grows grapes (with notable exceptions such as Bordeaux) it’s not a variety you may associate with Italy. But the country produces some fine examples and Isole e Olena’s Collezione Privata is one.
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.
Of all the meals we had on my 3 day visit to Piemonte this week Trattoria della Posta was the best. It’s not that the food was different (Piemontese cuisine has a limited repertoire), simply that it was perfectly executed.
Are Languedoc wines grand enough to stand up to truffles? Our new contributor Donald Edwards reports:
The food of Piedmont in north-west Italy is as highly regarded as its wines so it makes sense to make the local dishes your first choice if you’re looking for a match for a bottle of Barolo or Barbaresco.
Although Bordeaux produces some of the most expensive wines in the world it also produces bottles that are great for everyday drinking. So what kind of food pairs best with them?
Last Friday night Helen, our designer, and I had a bit of a works outing to our colleague Monica Shaw's who works on the nuts and bolts of the website. She cooked up an amazing Mexican feast of which this was just one element but it was striking how much better the whole meal went with beer than with wine.
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.
We rarely think of tawny port as a flexible pairing for food. We serve it with stilton, obviously and with hard cheeses like cheddar, with nuts and dried fruits and over Christmas with fruit cake and mince pies but that’s usually as far as it goes.
As with white burgundy there’s a world of difference between a simple village burgundy and an elegant premier or grand cru - most of which need 5 years at the very least to show at their best but the dividing line when it comes to pairing wine with red burgundy is age. Is it a light wine you’re dealing with or a more mature, intensely flavoured one. Duck is almost always a winner but here are some other options.
It’s easy to get into a mindset with food and wine pairing where you automatically revert to a tried and tested combination. Like pizza with Peroni or a Sicilian red
This match last week at 45 Jermyn St had EVERYTHING going for it starting with a decadent toasted cheese sandwich lavishly scattered with grated white truffle. What could be better? Well, actually a glass of very decent champagne (Louis Roederer Brut premier) with it - one of those matches made in heaven where the whole is better than the sum of the parts.
I honestly didn't know which dish to pick out of this extraordinary pop-up at The Dead Doll’s House Islington last week, hosted by wine importer Bibendum PLB who now also bring in a wide range of sakes. So I’m going for this one because it was the first and one of the simplest.
In the first of an occasional series on dishes to make at home to show off a special wine Lucy Bridgers devises the perfect romantic dinner for her lucky other half.