Top pairings | The best wine pairings for cauliflower

Top pairings

The best wine pairings for cauliflower

There was once no point in thinking about wine in the context of cauliflower. It was a vegetable. It was bland - except arguably in cauliflower cheese - but now it’s roasted, fried, spiced and partnered by other exotic and flavourful ingredients.

It has become the focus of a meal and deserves its own wine matches.

So which should it be? It depends as usual how you cook it but remember it’s always a brassica with that slightly vegetal edge

* With a creamy sauce, in a cauliflower soup or in cauliflower cheese: smooth dry whites are the order of the day. Think unoaked or subtly oaked chardonnay like Chablis, chenin blanc, Soave, Gavi, dry pinot gris … Unless it accompanies a steak in which case stick to your usual red.

*As a caramelised cauliflower purée (very fashionable, often in the company of scallops.
White burgundy or a similarly posh chardonnay is bang on.

* Cauliflower cake
That marvellous creation from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More we’ve all been tempted to make or made. (I have for the record - right) Smooth dry whites again though maybe with a lick more oak. Or dry cider.

* Roast or grilled cauliflower 'steaks'
Try Rhône or Rhone-ish blends of Roussanne and Marsanne, oaked white rioja or Douro whites

* Cauliflower salads
Depends if it’s raw or roast and what the other ingredients are. In general a crisper white for raw and a more robust one if it’s roast. That said food-friendly gruner veltliner would work with both. Punchy ingredients like capers, olives and anchovies would steer me more in the direction of crisp, maybe Italian, whites or dry rosés. Ingredients like raisins, dates or pomegranate seeds towards a light red such as gamay or an orange wine. (A white wine made like a red).

* If nuts such as hazelnuts or almonds are a prominent feature in the dish you could even go for a fino or dry amontillado sherry or as at this wine dinner, an aged muscadet.

* Indian spiced cauliflower e.g. aloo gobi
Unlikely to be the only dish on the table but it may be part of a selection of vegetable curries in which case I’ve found sylvaner from Alsace invariably hits the spot. Dry riesling or better still riesling blends with, say pinot gris and gewurztraminer are also delicious

If you're a brassica fan you may also enjoy these posts:

Six of the best drink pairings for kale

8 great wine matches for brussels sprouts

Image by Magdanatka at

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