Salmon is in many ways the chicken of the fish world - an ingredient you can serve in many different ways and therefore match with a number of different wines.
This is one of my favourite recipes ever - made famous by the late, great George Perry-Smith and faithfully reproduced by one of his most talented protegés Stephen Markwick.
Smoked salmon is most commonly associated with champagne but in fact it goes with many other wines as well as with beer, whisky and vodka.
Forget for the moment my often-advocated match of chilled red wine with salmon, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a wild fish it deserves one of your best whites. Here are my suggested matches for Mark Hix’ recipes in the Independent today:
This week’s match is not mine but fellow wine writer Margaret Rand’s who also writes for Decanter. She recently went to Hungary at the invitation of AXA Millésimes who ownes the Tokaji producer Disznókö - as well as Château Suiduiraut - for what must be the most extraordinary wine dinner ever conceived: a Chinese meal, paired with sweet wine cooked by two Bordeaux-based chefs Tommy and Andy Shan of Au Bonheur du Palais, (which happens to be AXA proprietor Christian Seely’s favourite restaurant in the city).
If you're planning ahead for Easter weekend and don't fancy doing the traditional big Easter Day lunch how about a brunch instead? Here's my menu for this time of year ...
Burgers don't have to be beefy as these delicious salmon burgers from my book An Appetite for Ale prove, inspired by browsing the aisles of the Wholefoods market in Denver during the Great American Beer Festival a few years back!
In the run-up Christmas there’s not much time for time-consuming dinner parties so this tasting and light supper is a fun and indulgent way to entertain good friends. Ask each of them to bring a chilled* bottle of bubbly - Champagne or otherwise - provide a couple of your own, cover up the bottles and taste them ‘blind’. Great fun for a start to see who can spot the ‘real’ Champagne (don’t worry if you can’t - many professionals are fooled by these kind of exercises) and a delicious way to get into festive mood.
If you loathe the thought of diet food Fast Days and Feast Days by my mate Elly Curshen (aka Elly Pear) is just the book for you!
In the general flurry of celebrations last week I missed out on St David’s Day (the patron saint of Wales) and the opportunity to write about leeks. Leeks tend to excite a certain amount of derision but I think they’re a fabulous vegetable, much milder, subtler and sweeter than onion and much more sympathetic to a fine white wine (for I think they go much better with a white wine than a red one).
Given that it’s Valentine’s Day this weekend what better prize to offer than a case of Champagne Billecart-Salmon’s gorgeous brut rosé, a champagne that appears on many of the world’s best wine lists. THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED
One of the more successful pairings from the otherwise rather challenging sherry lunch I attended at the Cinnamon Club last week was a dish of tandoori salmon with a Valdespino Innocente fino. I tend to overlook fino in favour of manzanilla but I’m not sure it’s not a more flexible match with food.
If you think you automatically need to partner a fish dish with white wine think again! Meaty fish such as salmon and tuna take really well to Pinot Noir, the grape variety that the hero Miles raved about in the hit movie Sideways.
Despite the razmatazz surrounding the launch of Dom Perignon 2003 and a serious amount of wine and truffle action to which I’ll devote more space shortly I’m picking a more modest match from last week - the delicious beetroot-cured salmon, capers and egg yolk and 2010 Godelia Godello I had at José Pizarro’s new London restaurant Pizarro.
Cured - or marinated - salmon is something you’ll find on a lot of menus these days but what’s the best wine to drink with it?
Last week I was in Australia’s beautiful Hunter Valley enjoying their two great specialities semillon and shiraz.
It’s always good to find a restaurant that takes non-alcoholic drinks as seriously as it does boozy ones so it was an easy decision to order a spicy ginger beer cocktail at The Palomar the other day.
This is one of those serendipitous pairings you sometimes stumble across when you rustle up a scratch meal and pair it with an open bottle in the fridge.
It’s always good to find a new wine that will take on all comers and I think I’ve found it in dry Furmint.
With its intense citrussy flavour ceviche - marinated raw fish - is a tricky dish to pair with wine.
How can champagne be used to create a summer tasting menu? Seafood is an obvious candidate but as food and wine writer Lucy Bridgers found at a Billecart-Salmon event at the Massimo Restaurant and Oyster Bar in London last year you need to choose your flavours carefully.
Not, I admit, the sort of starter you expect to be served on your first night in France - or the wine you’d expect to go with it - but the pairing, at the Château du Port in Marseillan*, worked perfectly.
Manzanilla, as you probably know, is a fino sherry made in the port of Sanlucar de Barrameda rather than in the cities of Jerez or Puerto de Santa Maria which gives it its characteristic salty tang.
As with my previous ‘learn by heart’ posts this is simply a quick way to remember great food and wine pairings at a busy time of year. There are of course other possibilities to which the links will guide you.
One of the most popular posts I’ve ever written on this site was one called 20 food and wine pairings to learn by heart - an easy reference guide to commit to memory.
Although we wine writers like to think we might be able to encourage you to be more adventurous in your wine choices this Christmas the truth is you’re probably going to stick to the wines you're familiar with.
Provence rosé has a particular character. It’s much crisper and drier than most rosés on the market, more like a white wine than a rosé - though within this style there are variations between the lighter, less expensive wines or ‘vins de soif’ and the more structured ones, which the local refer to as ‘vins de gastronomie’.
One of the world’s most underrated grapes yet capable of making some of its most delicious dry whites, Sémillon isn’t on the radar for many. So if you get hold of a bottle what should you pair with it?
Despite the emphasis that winemakers place on the different crus or terroirs of Chablis three factors seem to me to influence a food match more than any other for most of the Chablis you’ll taste - the age of the wine, the vintage and the degree of oak influence, if any.
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.
One of the reasons people most appreciate independent wine merchants is that they can talk to them about the kind of wine that will suit the meals or occasions they're planning.
You might think it odd to pick out South African Chenin rather than Chenin Blanc in general but I do think the wines are distinctive, particularly when it comes to the crisper styles which are much zestier than they tend to be in the Loire
Natasha Hughes re-orders her hit list of wine matches for pinot following her visit to the International Pinot Noir Celebration.
A re-run of an old post following a visit to Alsace, updating my recommendations on the best pairings for the region's dry and off-dry white wines.
Whatever you get up to on Valentine’s night (and truly, I’d rather not know) my guess is you’ve got better things to do than spend it slaving over a hot stove. So this is an unashamed cheat’s menu for you to romance your loved one with the absolute minimum of effort. Needless to say, buy only the very best ingredients.
One of the main events at the Dartmouth Food Festival this weekend was a dinner at Mitch Tonks Seahorse restaurant cooked by London chef Mark Hix. The unusual factor though was that every dish was matched with a cocktail.
Scandinavian food is becoming increasingly popular but what type of wine should you drink with it? Lucy Bridgers reports on how German wine fares.
I’ve been a bit of a sceptic in the past about pairing food with whisky. Not that there aren’t some great combinations but I find it hard to sustain for more than one dish.
A general idea has got about that Chardonnay is for chavs but as anyone who has a taste for top white burgundy or other premium new world Chardonnays will know it’s a spectacular food wine.
As I mentioned in my last post our last lunch of the Oregon trip was at Cristom where sales director (no less!) John D'Anna cooked us a great meal. Here's how he did it and - where I have a link to them - the recipes he used. Try it!
You may think tasting wine sounds arduous but a major wine and food tasting, I assure you, is a much greater assault on the system as I was reminded the other day when Victoria Moore of The Guardian and I ran 14 Pinot Gris through their paces with foods that ranged from smoked eel to chicken tikka masala. Neither of us was able to eat much for several days.
Whenever anyone talks about foods that are difficult to match with wine, asparagus always comes up but I reckon the problem is overstated.
Q I am the best man at a wedding and agreed to provide the wine for the head table. The couple is serving a soy, ginger salmon and chicken dish (i assume you get a choice). Any thoughts?
The idea of Thanksgivukkah - a once-in-a-lifetime simultaneous celebration of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah - has really caught on. Caterer Elly Curshen of Bristol's Pear Café comes up with her perfect starter.
I’ve just spent the past two days at What Food What Wine? tasting wine alongside dishes as disparate as smoked salmon and apple crumble, Stilton and steak and lasagne and lamb - a bit of an assault on the palate (and stomach!) but one of the best ways to work out what wine really works with your favourite recipes
It’s hard to avoid the obvious on St Paddy’s Day. Guinness, Bailey’s and Irish whiskey are the usual suspects but if none of these appeals here are the sort of wines that will work with classic Irish fare.
Fishcakes are one of the ultimate comfort foods - I remember TV chef Antony Worrall-Thompson saying he could never take them off the menu - but is there an equally comforting wine pairing?
Pinot noir is one of the most versatile red wines to match with food and a great option in a restaurant when one of you is eating meat and the other fish.
Following my trip to Islay a while ago I drew up some pairings for its extraordinary peaty whiskies. I’m not a great one for whisky dinners but I like the idea of serving tapa-sized dishes with a dram.
I haven’t had a beer as match of the week for a while but with the British Guild of Beer Writers dinner and Dea Latis Beer and Breakfast tasting last week I could hardly have chosen anything else.
This has been one of the most difficult weeks ever to pick my match of the week but this, by a whisker, was it.
Heston Blumenthal’s Jubilee picnic hamper was unveiled yesterday - to be served at Buckingham Palace before an open-air concert on June 4th. The picnic is being funded by Waitrose who must be pleased as punch to have the Palace’s endorsement in this video. The guests will also apparently be given vouchers for a glass of Moët or a bottle of Cobra beer (the other sponsors of the event).
Only a merchant with a pedigree like Berry Bros & Rudd could consider an £8.45 bottle a ‘house wine’ but if your usual fare is classed growth claret I guess it is.
There was a time, about 10 years ago, when I wrote a lot about Merlot which was widely regarded as wine world’s alternative to Chardonnay - an easy drinking red wine that went with almost any meal.
If culture and ‘terroir’ are a basis for deciding which drinks bestmatch a particular cuisine then beer must have a strong claim to bepaired with Scandinavian food.
If you've visited a winery and bought a few English or Welsh whites to celebrate English wine week this week you may be wondering what sort of food suits them best.
How many of you will be putting beer on the table at Christmas? Not that many, I suspect, but if you can bring yourself to break with tradition you could be in for a treat. Most supermarkets now carry a sufficiently wide range for you to be able to serve a different beer with each course, should you be so minded. And here’s how to do it:
Sometimes you go to a wine dinner with some trepidation wondering if the wine will stand up to the food but I was pretty optimistic that Domaine Long-Depaquit’s Chablis would survive at Nobu (the original Metropolitan hotel restaurant in London, not LA, sadly!)
Having spent five days in Germany this week I’ve been thinking a lot about riesling and food. And my conclusion is that the heavy focus on Chinese, Thai and Indian food may be doing German wine a disservice
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?
If you haven't yet worked out what to drink tomorrow (which is February 14th, if you need reminding!) here are a few suggestions to match popular Valentine's Day foods.
You may find family and friends resistant to the idea of putting beer on the Easter table (though some will be secretly pleased) but stick to your guns.
Vodka may be primarily thought of as a base for cocktails but in vodka-loving countries like Russia and Poland it’s always accompanied by food. Basically anything smoked, pickled or cured works well. Here are some ideas:
None of you, I’m sure, can have failed to notice just how many different bottles of rosé are now available on the average supermarket shelf. From being purely a summer wine there are now rosés for almost every type of food and occasion.
Given the immense popularity of gin the chances of you sitting in a bar downing a gin-based cocktail are pretty high. But at some point you're going to need something to eat so what kind of food can you pair with it?
Wheat beers are fabulously flexible when it comes to food matching - the beer world’s equivalent of a crisp white wine.
You may well know what you’re going to drink with the turkey by now but here are some ideas for what to match with your Christmas starters, paired with recipes from some of Britain’s favourite chefs and cookery writers.
If your New Year breakfast today includes eggs, especially brunch-type dishes such as scrambled eggs with smoked salmon or eggs benedict there’s no better partner than Champagne or other dry sparkling wine.
I’m currently away in Priorato in Spain (of which more later this week) but this was a great combination I came across last week at the Gaucho Grill in Swallow Street, London.
Hot on the heels of its best ever medal tally in the International Wine Challenge, English wine is under the spotlight again this week which has been designated English Wine Week. It was sparkling wines that did particularly well in the Challenge but I have a soft spot for a variety called Bacchus, a white wine with a refreshing, sappy hedgerow freshness, not unlike a Sauvignon Blanc. Camel Valley in Cornwall makes a particularly good version.
If you’re planning a Pancake Day celebration for Tuesday and haven’t yet decided what to drink here are few ideas.
I’ve long been an admirer of Compass Box whisky who were one of the first blenders to create and package sophisticated modern ‘artisan’ whiskies as they like to describe them.
The usual bombardment of hearts and flowers that heralds Valentine’s Day is bound to make anyone who doesn’t have a Valentine feel a bit out of it. But there’s no reason not to enjoy yourself . . .
If you haven’t heard of poke - the Hawaiian dish of cubed raw fish usually with rice and/or vegetables - you soon will. It’s everywhere (and pronounced, by the way, pokay not poke).
I’ve thought for a while that Scandinavian food is on the way up so am not surprised to find another new cookbook on the subject from Trina Hahnemann who Telegraph cookery writer Xanthe Clay dubs ‘Denmark’s answer to Nigella’ in the paper today.