The best food pairings for dry (or off-dry) riesling
It’s sometimes hard to predict what type of food will pair well with riesling because they’re all so different - some being bone dry, some ultra sweet, some positively floral, others zingy and citrussy.
But let’s concentrate on dry and off-dry rieslings in this post and focus on the sort of dishes and ingredients that tend to go with them best. The good news is that there are a lot of them!
Good pairings with dry rieslings
Raw, cured and smoked fish
Particularly salmon and trout though any selection of smoked and/or cured fish should work well as you’ll see from this pairing for cured salmon. Also sushi, particularly with the slight touch of sugar you get in sushi rice (riesling is rarely bone dry)
Fresh or lightly dressed shellfish
In fact riesling is the perfect match for a prawn or seafood cocktail - especially with a Washington State riesling like the Kung Fu Girl riesling or, back in the day, the Bonny Down Pacific Rim riesling. In fact prawns (or shrimp) generally, with their slight touch of sweetness, are a good pairing for riesling as is fresh crab, particularly the white meat.
More surprisingly oysters and riesling can work well too, particularly when accompanied by other riesling-loving ingredients such as apple and pork.
You might think of a smoother, creamier white like chardonnay which certainly works but riesling offers more of a contrast. It’s a pairing they’re fond of in Alsace where you’ll find coq au riesling or riesling served with fish dishes with a creamy sauce.
Particularly fatty cuts like pork belly, better still if accompanied by some kind of apple* purée or sauce. And I love a glass of riesling (Alsace, again) with choucroute.
*Speaking of apple this match with an apple and smoked haddock salad was spot on
Lightly pickled veg
Which are appearing on restaurant menus all over the place right now. A good accompaniment to a riesling aperitif.
Young riesling with young goats cheese but an aged riesling with a mature goat cheese is possibly even better.
Good pairings with off-dry or medium dry rieslings
Just. Think. Spice.
So many spicy dishes work with an off-dry riesling - Thai, Vietnamese, even Indian. The hotter the dish the sweeter the riesling, basically.
Personally I find Australian and New Zealand rieslings pair really well with Asian food but try rieslings from other countries too.
Asian-style salads with coriander and lime go really well with limey Clare and Eden Valley rieslings as do Thai fish cakes
You’ll see I’ve often flagged up a good riesling pairing in my Match of the Week slot, for instance with
Prawn laksa as in this German riesling food pairing
When it comes to Indian food I think street snacks work better than curries but I've drunk off-dry riesling right through an Indian meal with great success. And with a multi-course Chinese new year feast.
You may instinctively want a red (in which case check out this post on what to drink with goose) but a grand cru or spätlese riesling is a really spectacular pairing especially, as with pork, with an apple sauce or stuffing.
Top image ©New Africa at Adobe Stock.
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