Pairings | Ch

Which wine pairs best with salad?

Which wine pairs best with salad?

Asking which wine to pair with salad is a bit like asking about what wine to match with meat or fish. There's no single answer. It depends on the vegetables you use, what other ingredients it contains and what type of dressing you use.

The 10 trickiest foods to pair with wine

The 10 trickiest foods to pair with wine

Look up any guide to food and wine matching and you’ll find a list of foods that are regarded as anathema to wine. I’ve done it myself but have come to the conclusion recently that the problems are overstated.

My first meal at Marc Veyrat - but will it be my last?

Last week I finally realised a long-held ambition to eat at La Maison de Marc Veyrat in Veyrier-du-Lac. Not a lot has been heard recently from Veyrat recently despite the fact that he is the only chef to have been awarded six Michelin stars for his two restaurants and score a perfect 20/20 from Gault Millau. Just under two years ago he had a horrific skiing accident that left him with multiple leg fractures and he now faces major surgery to break and reset the bones to try and regain his mobility.

4 good restaurants in Oxford

4 good restaurants in Oxford

Oxford is a place that doesn’t have a great reputation for food but I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the restaurants we ate in last weekend.

Can you pair tea with a 4 course meal?

Can you pair tea with a 4 course meal?

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.

The best food pairings with Saint-Emilion

The best food pairings with Saint-Emilion

Saint-Emilion is a familiar name on a wine list but what sort of food goes with it best? Sommelier Nathalie Gardiner suggests her favourite pairings.

Wine and Appetizer Pairings: a quick guide

Wine and Appetizer Pairings: a quick guide

The best wine to pair with appetizers and hors d'oeuvres rather depends on whether they precede a meal, as is traditional, or, as is the way now, actually ARE the meal. We all seem to enjoy grazing these days.

6 places to stop overnight on your way through France

6 places to stop overnight on your way through France

Every summer we used to drive down to our house in Languedoc in the south of France stopping off a couple of nights on the way. This post on our favourite hotels and chambres d’hotes was written back in 2014 so some of the prices will be out of date.

A spring lunch for 4

A spring lunch for 4

Although it's still a bit nippy at night, the blossom is out, it feels like spring and the clocks are going forward in the UK this weekend. So here's a light lunch to enjoy with a couple of friends that has a touch of spring about it but still includes a warming stew.

Pairing cognac and cheese

Pairing cognac and cheese

Cognac pairs with chocolate, we all know but what about cheese? Surprisingly there are some standout matches as I discovered when I chaired the cheese workshop at the 2014 International Cognac Summit in France a couple of years ago.

5 fun places to have breakfast in London (updated)

5 fun places to have breakfast in London (updated)

Have you noticed the number of restaurants which have started offering breakfast - and I don’t just mean a full English?

De Librije, Zwolle - a ‘mini-menu’ that’s an 8 course feast

De Librije, Zwolle - a ‘mini-menu’ that’s an 8 course feast

With Sergio Herman of Oud Sluis announcing he intends to close his restaurant at the end of 2013, Jonnie Boer’s De Librije could be left as the only 3 Michelin-starred restaurant in Holland. So what makes it so special?

How to pair whisky with cheese

How to pair whisky with cheese

I’d been aware that cheese was a good match for whisky but it was good to have the opportunity to try several different styles and cheeses at a tasting recently.

Shop Eight Food and Wine, Christchurch, New Zealand

Shop Eight Food and Wine, Christchurch, New Zealand

It must take guts to open a restaurant in Christchurch. Four years after the devastating earthquake that demolished much of the historic city centre it still looks like a war zone in places with yawning gaps where local landmarks once were.

What Britain’s top wine merchants think you should drink

What Britain’s top wine merchants think you should drink

Yesterday was the Bunch tasting, one of the highlights of the UK press tasting circuit. The Bunch is a group of six well-known wine merchants: Adnams, Berry Bros & Rudd, Corney & Barrow, Lea & Sandeman, Tanners and Yapp Brothers. I’ve been seeing the same faces there for well over a decade. (None of them looks a day older, of course. Nor do I . . . ;-)

Try your hand at matching The French Laundry's dazzling desserts

Try your hand at matching The French Laundry's dazzling desserts

It might surprise you to learn that Napa’s famous French Laundry has an English pastry chef, Claire Clark who previously worked at Claridges and The Wolseley in London. I know Claire from way back when we did a number of food and wine pairing exercises together and thought it would be fun to get her and head sommelier Gregory Castells to come up with some pairings for her incredibly exciting and creative desserts.

Award-winning whiskies to drink on Burns Night

Award-winning whiskies to drink on Burns Night

If you're planning a Burns Night supper this weekend you may be wondering which whisky to pair with it. Born and bred Scot, Ewan Lacey, general manager of the International Wine & Spirit Competition has some answers.

Matching wine and soup

Matching wine and soup

One of the few food and drink combinations I don’t feel that happy about is wine and soup. Not all soups, obviously, but many of them.

Which wines pair best with eggs?

Which wines pair best with eggs?

Eggs are supposed to be one of the trickiest ingredients to pair with wine but I’ve never entirely got it myself. More to the point do you want to drink wine with eggs at breakfast or even brunch, the time you’re most likely to eat them?

Wines to pair with fennel

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.

Spinach & agushi curry

Spinach & agushi curry

I recently chaired a panel on women in food at the Abergavenny Food Festival which included the wonderful Zoe Adjonyoh. I hadn't seen her book Zoe's Ghana Kitchen before but discovered it was full of the most delicious recipes, many of them vegan.

Pairing whisky and chocolate - with difficulty!

Pairing whisky and chocolate - with difficulty!

Tastings on Twitter are all the rage at the moment. The other day it was BeerBods. Last Thursday it was a tasting organised by The Whisky Wire of whiskies from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society with chocolates by William Curley.

Matching the vegetarian tasting menu at Sketch

This week I had a really fascinating vegetarian tasting menu at the Lecture Room and Library at Sketch, Pierre Gagnaire’s London restaurant. The sommelier, Fred Brugues, claims not to believe in food and wine matching (too complicated, he says, with large tables all ordering different dishes) but he actually came up with some inspired pairings.

Boulestin, St James’s Street: London’s latest French restaurant isn't quite there yet

Boulestin, St James’s Street: London’s latest French restaurant isn't quite there yet

You’d think London had enough in the way of new French restaurants lately but along comes Boulestin in another bid to seduce the city’s Francophiles. Does it succeed?

The best pairings for rum and rum-based cocktails

The best pairings for rum and rum-based cocktails

The key to pairing rum with food is to think about the cocktails that are made from it rather than the base spirit . With the exception of dark sipping rums (which are delicious with chocolate) that’s generally the way they’re served.

Birch restaurant, Bristol - just simple, lovely food

Birch restaurant, Bristol - just simple, lovely food

From the minimalist decor to the simple seasonal food Bristol’s latest restaurant opening, Birch, will seem instantly familiar to anyone who’s eaten at St John.

Buckwheat galettes with spinach béchamel

Buckwheat galettes with spinach béchamel

Although you can find any kind of recipe online these days nothing beats a beautiful cookbook and the new Fern Verrow book by Herefordshire farmers Jane Scotter and Harry Astley is one you're definitely going to want to own.

What food to pair with coffee

What food to pair with coffee

For many people coffee is a regular companion to food whether it’s breakfast or that great German institution of kaffee und kuchen (coffee and cake) - only the amount of caffeine they might consume holding them back.

3 peachy cocktails to celebrate the 4th of July

3 peachy cocktails to celebrate the 4th of July

Fresh peaches are bang in season right now so use them to make these summery cocktails that I think are quite perfect for this week's Independence Day celebrations.

Balthazar, London: beautiful but curiously dated

Balthazar, London: beautiful but curiously dated

There’s no doubt about it Balthazar is drop-dead gorgeous. You only have to see the golden lights winking through the windows to be drawn through the door like a moth to a candle. But how does the food stack up?

What to drink with cake

What to drink with cake

A recent email from a reader asked me to suggest a wine to go with “a triple coconut cake with a tangy pineapple icing served with fresh fruit salsa that has kiwi, strawberry, madarine oranges, blueberries and fresh pineapple in it”. Quite a challenge (I suggested demi-sec Champagne or a peach-flavoured liqueur topped up with fizz) but it got me thinking that there are many possible matches for cake beyond a cup of tea or coffee, particularly if you're serving it as a dessert.

5 of my favourite French restaurants in London

5 of my favourite French restaurants in London

For the past few years French food has been eclipsed by more fashionable Italian and Asian but there are still some great places to go if you want a taste of Paris without having to cross the Channel.

Does La Tupina live up to the hype?

Does La Tupina live up to the hype?

Talk to anyone about the food scene in Bordeaux - and they’ll say in reverential tones - ‘Aaah, but have you been to La Tupina’. I have, twice now, and while I can understand why it stands out in a city that curiously doesn’t have the quality of restaurants to match its wine I’ve never been quite as blown away as my fellow customers seem to be.

Brasserie Zédel: Paris comes to Piccadilly

Brasserie Zédel: Paris comes to Piccadilly

If you’re the kind of sad, unreconstructed Francophile (like me) who thinks French food has gone to the dogs head not for Eurostar but the newly opened Brasserie Zédel in London’s West End. Housed in the late and not-much-lamented Atlantic Bar and Grill near Piccadilly Circus, it occupies a huge subterranean space which has been decked out at eye-watering expense in full fin de siècle style.

Which wine to pair with a Moroccan tagine?

Which wine to pair with a Moroccan tagine?

While summer isn’t a time one feels drawn to hearty stews Moroccan tagines are a different matter. Exotic and aromatic, they somehow suit the heat and not being particularly spicy are relatively simple to match with wine.

The Opera Tavern's Italian-style Scotch Eggs

The Opera Tavern's Italian-style Scotch Eggs

One of the most popular dishes at Opera Tavern from the excellent new Salt Yard cookbook which, interestingly, is self-published. And includes drink recommendations. Hurray!

10 good wine pairings with paté

10 good wine pairings with paté

By paté I’m thinking of what wines to drink with rough country patés and terrines like a paté de campagne rather than fish patés or vegetarian patés which I’ll tackle separately. The sort that you might take on a picnic or eat in a wine bar.

What impact does garlic have on wine pairing?

What impact does garlic have on wine pairing?

If you’re the kind of person (like me) who puts garlic into practically everything you cook you may regard this question as an irrelevance but some dishes are much more garlicky than others.

How to read a menu and come up with a great match

How to read a menu and come up with a great match

When you have a menu in front of you how do you decide which wine to order? Sure, you can ask the sommelier or waiter but in some restaurants the service is not as helpful or knowledgeable as it might be. But there are plenty of clues in the descriptions of the dishes themselves that point to the key ingredients and the way in which they are handled. Here are a few examples:

The best wine pairings with Caesar salad

The best wine pairings with Caesar salad

As with most salads Caesar salad is all about the dressing which on the face of it sounds tricky, anchovies being notoriously difficult to match with wine.

The best food pairings for dry oloroso sherry

The best food pairings for dry oloroso sherry

The Spanish are more adventurous than us when it comes to matching sherry and food. I remember drinking a dry oloroso with roast partridge a few years back in Jerez. But what else could you pair with it?

Les Grès, Lindry - a breath of fresh air in Burgundy

Les Grès, Lindry - a breath of fresh air in Burgundy

Burgundian restaurants are some of the most traditional in France but Jérôme Bigot’s charming, original Les Grès wouldn’t disgrace Paris’s fashionable 10th arrondissement.

Wine pairings for pumpkin pie

Wine pairings for pumpkin pie

I have a bit of a problem with pumpkin pie. I'm not a big fan of pumpkin and I don't have a massively sweet tooth which makes the thought of partnering it with a sweet wine a bit of a killer. But I know I'm in a minority and with Thanksgiving coming up on Thursday here are my top picks:

Top wine and beer matches for game

Top wine and beer matches for game

We Brits have always had a reputation for liking our wines old and our game high but times have changed. Today the key factor in matching game tends to be not how ‘gamey’ it is but how it’s cooked and what is served with it.

Balthazar's Coq au Vin

Balthazar's Coq au Vin

It might seem bizarre turning to an American cookbook for a classic French recipe but this version from the Balthazar Cookbook is hard to beat.

Fridge- or freezer-foraged cheese, onion and parsley pie

Fridge- or freezer-foraged cheese, onion and parsley pie

This is the kind of recipe (or rather idea) that I used to put on my old blog The Frugal Cook. But as I’ve given up on it (I know - I shouldn’t have done) I’m posting it here.

Spiced Paneer, Spinach and Pea Grain Bowl with Mint Yoghurt Sauce

Spiced Paneer, Spinach and Pea Grain Bowl with Mint Yoghurt Sauce

The big trend for cookbooks this year is vegetarian food and no-one is better able to hold your hand and give you inspiration than my pal Elly Pear. This delicious weekday recipe, which can be rustled up in 20 minutes, comes from her new book Green.

What food to pair with Vin Santo?

What food to pair with Vin Santo?

No visit to Tuscany is complete without a glass of Vin Santo or ‘holy wine’, a (usually) sweet wine that is served at the end of the meal, almost always with hard little ‘cantucci’ biscuits.

Auberge de Combes: a real taste of the Languedoc

Auberge de Combes: a real taste of the Languedoc

Over the past few years we’ve become so disillusioned with restaurants in the Languedoc that we almost invariably end up eating at home.

Bistro d'Alex, Florensac - a real find in an unlikely location

Bistro d'Alex, Florensac - a real find in an unlikely location

On a return visit this week to Bistro d'Alex in Florensac I found it just as good as it was when the review below was written five years ago - and the set menu, now 18€ (£15.50) for two courses, only 3€ more expensive.

Emily's peach and almond tart

Emily's peach and almond tart

One of the things I love about social media is that it's just that: social. You make friends with people through exchanging tweets and 'liking' their images on Instagram.

Kimchi fried rice

Kimchi fried rice

This week I went to a great event at Korean restaurant Jinjuu in Soho called Girls can Grill where four female chefs proved they were masters - or should that be mistresses? - of barbecue.

Apricot brandy pancakes

Apricot brandy pancakes

A simple and impressive recipe to serve for pancake day. Although apricots are obviously at their best in the summer you should be able to find imported ones from countries such as South Africa and Chile.

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.

Spinach & goat’s cheese croquetas

Spinach & goat’s cheese croquetas

Of all the things I eat at Jose Pizarro's lovely tapas bar José, the croquetas are my favourite. Here's a recipe for the spinach ones from his brilliant book Basque.

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.

Rustle up a Red Nose Pudding!

Rustle up a Red Nose Pudding!

If you’re organising a Red Nose Day tasting tonight here’s a zany idea for a pudding that I devised for a Sainsbury’s magazine feature a couple of years ago when I interviewed TV presenter Phillip Schofield for Comic Relief.

Berber breakfast eggs

Berber breakfast eggs

It's easy to get into a rut with egg recipes but if you're making brunch for friends this weekend try this delicious Moroccan egg dish from Nargisse Benkabbou's charming new book Casablanca: my Moroccan Food which gives a modern twist to traditional Moroccan cuisine.

5 reasons why Mirazur is the best restaurant in the world

5 reasons why Mirazur is the best restaurant in the world

You may have heard that Mirazur in Menton has been voted best restaurant in the world at the World’s 50 Best awards this week. You may well not have heard of it and wonder why it’s so special. I was fortunate enough to eat there and interview the chef Mauro Colagreco earlier this month and here’s why I think it made the no 1 slot.

Wine of the week: El Bombero Gran Reserva 2009 Carinena

Wine of the week: El Bombero Gran Reserva 2009 Carinena

If I saw this wine on a supermarket shelf I wouldn’t pick it up. There’s the name for a start, which sounds like something a marketing department has invented

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.

Fluffy apple and marmalade hotcakes with cinnamon butter

Fluffy apple and marmalade hotcakes with cinnamon butter

My friend cookery writer Sarah Randell has written the most enchanting book on marmalade full not only of great marmalade recipes but also some delicious ways of using them.

Raspberry and cherry beer jellies

Raspberry and cherry beer jellies

If you're having a late summer barbecue this weekend here is one of the most delicious - and surprising recipes - from my book An Appetite for Ale. I love serving them because no-one has the faintest idea they have beer in them.

Beef bourguignon pie

Beef bourguignon pie

Why has no-one had the genius idea of putting beef bourguignon into a pie before? Here's the recipe courtesy of the brilliant Ginger Pig Meat Book which I reviewed here.

Top wine matches for Cornish Blue

Top wine matches for Cornish Blue

The sharp-eyed among you will notice that my recommendations have changed since I posted this article earlier today. I've revised my opinion since retasting Cornish Blue which I found in my local deli - Arch House Deli.

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"

Signe Johansen’s Oatmeal Waffles

Signe Johansen’s Oatmeal Waffles

If ever a bit of hygge was needed it’s this week so what better way to cheer yourself up than to bunker down with a few delicious Norwegian style waffles from my friend Signe Johansen’s lovely new book How to Hygge.

Oxtail cooked in Priorat with prunes matched with 2004 Vall Llach Priorat

Oxtail cooked in Priorat with prunes matched with 2004 Vall Llach Priorat

The highlight of last week was my trip to Priorat so this week’s pairing has to be one of the wines I tasted. Oddly it wasn’t one of the wines I enjoyed most although it was in the upper echelons of what the region has to offer : a Vall Llach 2004, a blend of 65% Cariñena (old vine Carignan), 20% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Lambs sweetbreads with girolles and Louis Roederer Rich Champagne

Lambs sweetbreads with girolles and Louis Roederer Rich Champagne

It’s a bit of a long story. A customer of my friends Stephen and Judy Markwick who own the Bristol restaurant Culinaria wanted to track down some Louis Roederer Rich and I helped him find it. He wanted me to share a bottle with him as a reward which was totally unnecessary but a gesture it seemed churlish to refuse. (Or that's my excuse anyway!)

Homemade Dundee cake and Midleton Very Rare whiskey

Homemade Dundee cake and Midleton Very Rare whiskey

What do you eat with a great bottle of Irish whiskey? Fruit cake might seem a bit frivolous to some and even brand you as, well . . . a bit of a fruitcake, but I can highly recommend it.

A classic English meal with a perfectly matched French wine

People occasionally ask me what characterises British food. Unlike French or Italian food it can be hard to pin down, there are so many different ethnic influences but last night I had a meal that was quintessentially English summer food.

Spinach and ricotta gnudi and Pecorino

Spinach and ricotta gnudi and Pecorino

“Tender little dumplings, as fragile as a pasta filling” is how Diana Henry describes gnudi in her fabulous new book How to Eat a Peach. (The word, which is pronounced new-dee means naked)

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.

Oktoberfest potato salad

Oktoberfest potato salad

The key element to this typically Bavarian recipe, which comes from my book An Appetite for Ale, is the addition of hot stock which gives it a consistency half way between a conventional potato salad and mashed potato. It also has the most delicious sweet-sour flavour.

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.

Good bottles to celebrate Hallowe'en

Good bottles to celebrate Hallowe'en

If you’re looking for a bottle to celebrate Hallowe’en on Tuesday here’s couple that hit the spot perfectly.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

French onion soup is one of the classic French bistro dishes, famously served to late night Parisian partygoers. But if you don't feel up to it at 2am or whenever you roll in, it makes a warming supper for a chilly winter evening.

Slow-roast lamb with garlic and rosemary and Rustenberg John X Merriman 2005

Slow-roast lamb with garlic and rosemary and Rustenberg John X Merriman 2005

My first Match of the Week of the New Year is a classic but none the worse for that: an award-winning South African Bordeaux blend with a slow roast leg of lamb flavoured with garlic and rosemary.

Wine of the week: Weninger Horitschoner Blaufränkisch 2013

Wine of the week: Weninger Horitschoner Blaufränkisch 2013

This gorgeous fruity Austrian red ticks all my boxes. It’s exactly the sort of wine I want to drink at this time of year - light (12.5%), fragrant and juicy - the type I can equally well drink with fish as meat.

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.

 Leerdammer and black coffee

Leerdammer and black coffee

Cheese is so inextricably linked in my mind with beer and wine I sometimes forget there are other delicious pairings out there but coffee? Well, actually yes.

RinQuinQuin à la pêche

RinQuinQuin à la pêche

I love old-fashioned French aperitifs but the name of this Provençal one makes it doubly irresistible. And the peach flavour makes it perfect for this time of year.

Jerk chicken and rum punch

Jerk chicken and rum punch

Despite the beautiful weather we’ve had over the past couple of days there’s a distinct late summer feel to the air which combined with the fact that the nights are drawing in reminds one - sadly - there aren’t that many evenings left for barbecuing this year. (Unless you’re one of those die-hards who grills all year round . . . )

Blesbok loin with root vegetables, num num and 2010 Delaire Graff Botmaskop

Blesbok loin with root vegetables, num num and 2010 Delaire Graff Botmaskop

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.

Cheese and cassava croquettes and rum punch

Cheese and cassava croquettes and rum punch

This week's match of the week is a bit random, admittedly, because everything goes with rum punch in Barbados but I wanted to single out these delicious croquettes we bought in the Holders Hill farmer's market.

Flying fish cutters and Banks beer

Flying fish cutters and Banks beer

A week without wine might sound like hell for wine lovers but to be honest in Barbados why would you drink anything else? Wine is expensive and there’s not much choice whereas beer is cheap and ubiquitous.

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.

Saint-Nectaire with Domaine Matassa Cuvée Alexandria 2012, Côtes Catalanes

Saint-Nectaire with Domaine Matassa Cuvée Alexandria 2012, Côtes Catalanes

While orange wines are becoming more common I’m still not sure most people know when and with what to drink them so here’s a pairing that worked really well from a dinner I hosted for Bar Buvette, one of my favourite Bristol haunts, last week.

Morbier cheese and Savagnin

Morbier cheese and Savagnin

It’s been a very cheesy few days this past week - and I mean that in the sense of being cheese-focussed rather than corny.

Cru classé Bordeaux and rack of lamb

Cru classé Bordeaux and rack of lamb

Just as last week’s match of the week was a classic - so is this week’s: the main course we had at Oliver Peyton’s National Gallery Café at a dinner to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Circle of Wine Writers.

Republika Pilsner: possibly the best lager in Britain?

Republika Pilsner: possibly the best lager in Britain?

The idea of a Czech-style lager made by a very traditional-sounding British brewery may sound bizarre but this is one of the best lagers - if not the best - I’ve tasted in the UK.

Cheeseburgers and cabernet

Cheeseburgers and cabernet

Last night we went round to some new friends and they made the most delicious home-made burgers.

Cheese fondue and Chasselas

Cheese fondue and Chasselas

I was beginning to think we’d managed to skip winter this year before last week’s icy blasts and snow came as a timely reminder we’ve got a good few weeks to go yet. So there’s still time to enjoy one of winter’s great favourites - a Swiss cheese fondue.

Apricot pancakes and apricot (or peach) beer

Apricot pancakes and apricot (or peach) beer

Pancakes and beer might not sound like the most obvious of combinations but as with other flour-based foods such as sandwiches or pies they work together remarkably well. Especially, as I discovered when I was writing my food and beer book An Appetite for Ale last year, fruit-filled pancakes and fruit beers.

Roast beef sandwich and a Virgin Mary

Roast beef sandwich and a Virgin Mary

I’ve got a bit obsessed with Virgin Marys (alcohol-free Bloody Marys) over the last few days.

Sweetcorn, feta and green chilli waffles and pink grapefruit juice

Sweetcorn, feta and green chilli waffles and pink grapefruit juice

Soft drinks don’t often feature in my weekly pairings but this combination of an inventive savoury breakfast waffle and some lovely fresh pink grapefruit juice at The Modern Pantry last week was spot on.

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?

Red wine and peaches

Red wine and peaches

The peaches are so fabulous here in Arles, so gorged with sweet, ripe juice that we’re eating them almost daily. One great way to serve them which I was reminded about the other night when we dined at a local restaurant, Le Corazon is with red wine - just as good as the better-known pears in red wine.

A refreshing punch for a New Year's Day brunch

A refreshing punch for a New Year's Day brunch

A fresh, zesty citrus-based punch that’s packed with vitamin C. It obviously tastes best if you squeeze the fruit yourself but bought freshly squeezed juice is fine if you’re short of time.

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.

Couscous and Languedoc rosé

Couscous and Languedoc rosé

It's funny how your attitude to food and wine matching changes when you visit a wine-producing area like the Languedoc which is where I've been for the past few days. You tend to drink the local wine because it's what the locals drink. It may not be the best match but it doesn't really matter, particularly at lunchtime when you want something light.

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.

Bacon, egg and claret

Bacon, egg and claret

You might think the idea of eating bacon and egg with good claret is sacrilege but bear with me.

Rabanadas and tawny port

Rabanadas and tawny port

Having been in Portugal for three days this week it’s no surprise that my top match this week is a port but the food pairing is surprisingly simple and delicious.

Wild boar and Monty's French Red

Wild boar and Monty's French Red

If you've been following the new alternative lifestyle programme Château Monty on Channel 4 you’ll know that ‘Monty’ is wine writer Monty Waldin who set out to make his own biodynamic wine in the Roussillon down in the far corner of south-west France

Two last minute Thanksgiving cocktails

Two last minute Thanksgiving cocktails

You're probably all organised for the great day but just in case, here are a couple of clever ideas for festive cocktails using storecupboard ingredients from mixologist Myles Davies.

Never miss a post!

My latest book

Wine Lover's KitchenWine Lover's Kitchen
About FionaAbout FionaEvents and appearancesEvents and appearancesWork with meWork with me
Loading