With four days in Edinburgh and three at the Ballymaloe Food & Drink Litfest in Co Cork this weekend I’ve been overwhelmed with good food and drink matches but as I haven’t singled out a dessert for a while I’m making Tom Kitchin’s Rhubarb cheesecake my hero dish this week.
This is possibly the most off-the-wall pairing I encountered on my recent Chilean trip and for that reason the most exciting - both on account of the food and the wine.
Everyone knows that artichokes are one of the most difficult ingredients to match with wine - especially with red wine. Only last weekend we struggled to find a pairing at the food matching forum I was taking part in.
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?
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.
It’s tough to say what the best wine matches for lamb are - it’s served so many different ways and there are so many wines (mainly red) that work but here are my five favourites.
Sunday marked not only the start of the Chinese New Year but the Vietnamese New Year celebrations too - known as Tet. As in China there are certain foods which are traditional to the occasion such as pickled vegetables and candied fruits, none of which are particularly wine-friendly but in general I find Vietnamese food, with its milder heat and fragrant herbal flavours easier to match than Thai (although I haven’t had such extensive experience of doing so).
Another week of brilliant pairings, another tough decision to make but I’m going for this combination at Delaire restaurant in Stellenbosch because it was such a great dish.
Scallops are normally a sure-fire match for chardonnay so it was quite a challenge to think of some alternatives for Skye Gyngell’s inventive recipes in the Independent on Sunday today.
I’m not quite sure whether it’s a blessing or a curse to be able to access the English papers so easily on-line these days. It makes it hard to resist the temptation to have a peek and therefore harder to cut off.
Few people now throw up their hands in horror at the idea of matching red wine with fish. But how many realise just how often you can pair the two?
I recently went to a Portuguese food and wine evening in Bristol hosted by an enterprising wine merchant called Corks of Cotham. It featured the wines of a producer called Casa de Saima, the ports of Niepoort and an intriguing Barbeito Single Harvest Madeira which went exceptionally well with some classic Portuguese custard tarts.
Last week we spent 24 hours in Cheltenham, mainly to eat at Le Champignon Sauvage about which I’ll be posting a review tomorrow. We also had lunch at a pub/bistro I’d heard good things about called the Royal Well Tavern which has this year been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand and recently picked up a glowing review from the Observer’s restaurant critic, Jay Rayner
Given that it’s been in the mid-30s in the Cape Winelands recently it’s not surprising the local prefer their beef cold rather than hot but that also requires a change of thinking - from full-bodied to lighter reds.
One of the problems of recommending a wine that most people can only buy online is that they generally have to buy a case - either of that wine or others they haven't a clue whether they’ll like or not.
Should it be wine or beer - or even a cocktail? Last year I asked the Twitter community what their favourite barbecue bevvy was and this is what they came up with . . .
Artichokes have the reputation of being a wine-killer but as with most of these diktats the problem is over-played. True, artichokes can make even dry whites taste oddly sweet but that doesn’t account for the different ways in which they are cooked and how they are served.
Tuna’s a versatile summer ingredient that you can use in salads or on the barbecue. Quick and easy to cook, like salmon a conductor of many different flavours it's also a meaty fish which adapts just as well to a red as to a white.
Whenever anyone talks about foods that are difficult to match with wine, asparagus always comes up but I reckon the problem is overstated.