Pairings | Fruit
I’m sure you’re enjoying a bowlful or two of strawberries at this time of year. But what to drink with them?
The predominant flavours of Thai cuisine are sweet, sour, hot and salty - slightly different from the warm spicing of many Indian curries or the more fragrant, herbal notes of Vietnamese. So which which drinks pair best with a Thai meal?
We rarely think of tawny port as a flexible pairing for food. We serve it with stilton, obviously and with hard cheeses like cheddar, with nuts and dried fruits and over Christmas with fruit cake and mince pies but that’s usually as far as it goes.
Natasha Hughes re-orders her hit list of wine matches for pinot following her visit to the International Pinot Noir Celebration.
If you're planning a special meal for Valentine's Day you may be wondering which wine to pair with your menu. I've picked some favourite Valentine's Day foods and suggested some matches that should work well with them.
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.
One of the world's most popular cheeses, Brie can be mild and slightly chalky or decadently gooey and quite strong in flavour so you need to adapt the wine - or other drink - you choose to how mature the cheese is.
This is the perfect time of year for buying oranges and lemons but what effect do they have on the recipes you’re making? Quite a marked one, if truth be told. Lemons in particular have a high level of acidity which will make any wine you drink with them taste sweeter. If that’s counterbalanced in the recipe by sugar as in a lemon tart or lemon meringue pie, for example, the result is a dish that’s really quite hard to match.
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’.
Mango is often incorporated into drinks but what should you pair with it if you are eating it as a fruit or an ingredient in a savoury dish like a salad?
Cherry is one of the fruit flavours most often found in wine and liqueurs so does that make them a good pairing for cherry desserts? It depends how intense the cherry flavour is.
Although we all talk turkey at Thanksgiving, in fact it’s the sides that tend to steal the show. Finding a wine that can cope with them all is never easy but you may just find your favourite side or dressing can inspire your choice.
People carp about food and beer pairings, griping that they're just made up pretentions that have no right being associated with something as inclusive and democratic as beer, writes Stephen Beaumont
This wine pairing may sound difficult to get your head round - let’s face it, it is! - but it was a very clever dessert at the 3 star De Librije in Zwolle, Holland last week
Being surrounded by peaches and nectarines at the moment has reminded me what a brilliant match they are for a glass of dessert wine. And, surprisingly, even for a red!
If you’re planning a Pancake Day celebration for Tuesday and haven’t yet decided what to drink here are few ideas.
If anyone still needs convincing about the virtues of food and wine matching Mark Hix’s fresh seasonal recipes in The Independent today should convince them. Even the ‘drink what you like with the food you like’ brigade would have to admit that a voluptuous Meursault or oak-aged white Bordeaux would totally overwhelm the flavours of raw food.
With southern hemisphere wines from the 2016 vintage having been on the shelves for a few months now the annual release of Beaujolais Nouveau has become less significant but you may still want to crack open a bottle today.
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.
Today is International Grenache Day, a celebration of a grape which is (often anonymously) responsible for some of the most generous and appealing reds in the wine world.
The most useful clue to the kind of wine that works with cheesecake is to think of the toppings and flavourings that are used in cheesecake recipes rather than the base.
Apple tarts are one of the most flattering desserts to match with sweet wines but what do you drink with other apple-based desserts?
You might be surprised to learn that rhubarb is a great ingredient to pair with wine. Generally dessert wines have to be sweeter than the dessert they accompany and rhubarb has a natural tartness that makes that easier to achieve especially when it’s served with wine-friendly cream as in a rhubarb fool, pannacotta or a creamy rice pudding.
Judging by my Instagram feed practically everyone is eating avocado toast at least once a day but what do you drink with it?
I've never got round to making my own kimchi as I can buy an excellent one locally (from Every Good Thing in Bristol (which also sells online) but this one from Mark Diacono's invaluable new handbook Ferment from Scratch sounds irresistible. Give it a go.
If your new year's resolution is to get fit you may be planning to start the day with a smoothie. But how good for you are they and could you make them healthier?
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.
One of the welcome reminders of this long hot summer (in the Languedoc at least) is just how well dry wines go with fresh fruit. I’ve been happily drinking whites, ross and even reds with fruit such as peaches, apricots, melons and figs. Sweet wines, of course, go well with all of these but sometimes sweet wines seem too intense, particularly if, like me, you don’t have a very sweet tooth.
If you’re on the wagon this month, mealtimes can suddenly seem a bit drab and colourless. But if you’re missing the taste of your favourite wine try substituting a fruit juice that has similar flavours.
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 ...
There were so many outstanding pairings in the meal I had at the Michelin-starred Casamia in Bristol last week I don’t know quite where to start.
A totally delicious strawberry pavlova recipe from top pastry chef James Campbell. It's quite complicated but would be a fantastic dessert to serve on an occasion you really wanted to blow your guests away.
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.
I’ve never been a great fan of Pimm’s so I wasn’t expecting much from the Heston Blumenthal Fruit Cup which has just been launched by Waitrose.
It might seem perverse to choose a dessert from a barbecue book* but the Pitt Cue Co crew are as good at trashy desserts as they are at meat. And you need to finish off your BBQ somehow, don't you?
With no end to this sizzling hot summer in sight you may even be tiring of rosé so here’s something cool and different to drink that I came across the other day.
Of all the magical chapters that make up Diana Henry's wonderful book How to Eat a Peach - a combined food memoir, travelogue and cookery book, 'Missing New York' is the most evocative, making you immediately want to jump on a plane and spend a few days following in her footsteps.
A combination I came across at the launch of Moët’s new Ice Imperial Champagne last week - a Champagne that’s designed to be served over ice (yes, that’s right - with the ice actually in it)
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.
I know I’ve already raved about this stunning combination at Heston’s new restaurant Dinner but it's already a candidate for one of my top 10 pairings of 2011, never mind my match of the week.
It has been both the handicap and the saving grace of the English-speaking countries not to have a recognised centuries-long gastronomic tradition behind them. Settlers and colonists brought their own food customs with them to what became the British dominions.
The book I’ve been looking forward to most so far this year has just started being serialised in the Guardian today. It’s by Yotam Ottolenghi who founded two exceptional London restaurants and is simply called Ottolenghi: the Cookbook. l love Ottolenghi's food - it’s so generous and big-flavoured, piled high on bright, colourful platters - you can't fail to be tempted by it. It also lends itself perfectly to entertaining for large numbers at home.
I've struggled to come up with a single pairing from last week as all the matches I was offered at the two-Michelin-starred The Ledbury were spot on but this, I think, is the most spectacular.
Here's a barbecue I've dug out of the archives - a middle-eastern inspired BBQ from my book Food, Wine and Friends.
Mark Hix, a great forager himself, concentrates on recipes you can make from the hedgerow this week in The Independent (now is a good time to go to his new restaurant, I suggest . . . ) so I’m thinking a little outside the box as to what to pair with them. Country wines, made with hedgerow fruits, seem the perfect answer. I don’t know why we don’t see more of them.
We all know a beer goes down well with a ploughmans and that it’s a great drink to wash down a barbecue but here are 10 more unusual pairings which should liven up your summer drinking.
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.
This delicious cake, which comes from my book An Appetite for Ale, is based on a recipe from one of Britain's best bakers Dan Lepard. Do use organic dried fruit in it - you’ll get a much better result.
A lovely seasonal dessert from Sybil Kapoor's National Trust - Simply Baking. "Soft-baked meringues make a gorgeous pudding in the early autumn, especially when topped with cider-poached fruit and apple brandy cream."
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.
A cross between a Pimm’s and a shandy which I concocted a few year's ago for my son Will’s and my book An Appetite for Ale. You'll obviously need to play around with the proportions depending on the fruit cup and the beer you use
One of the aspects of the World’s Best Sommelier competition I hadn’t really thought about is how on earth you create a menu for a roomful of sommeliers. And choose wine pairings they won’t be sniffy about. One way is to impress them with large format bottles and old vintages which is the route competition sponsor Moët et Chandon took . . .
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.
If you’ve never tasted a fruit beer you might think this pairing sounds bizarre. If you have you can probably imagine just how good it would taste.
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.
No Christmas goes by without some wine pairing discovery and this year it was the delicious Jorge Ordonez Malaga Seleccion Especial no. 1 2007 with some simple fresh clementines we had at the end of a post-Christmas meal with friends.
One of the standard ways of devising a wine pairing is to pick out flavours in the wine and put them in the accompanying dish. Not too much or it can cancel out the flavour of the wine but done with skill, as it was by chef Des Smith at The Hunting Lodge, it’s pretty impressive.
I invented this recipe for my alcohol-free book How to Drink without Drinking. It started life as a Pimm's drinkalike but was so delicious with just strawberries I gave up on the other fruit
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.
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:
I have to confess I found it pretty hard to concentrate on the finer nuances of the food and wine combinations at the recent Cinnamon Club dinner. But when the speaker is the discursive Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon and you're sitting next to him that's no great surprise. Before the meal had even started we were into Kierkegaard and a vigorous discussion of terroir in the bar below over our glasses of Vin Gris de Cigare (a typically unorthodox full-bodied rosé based on Grenache, Cinsault and Roussanne).
If you're looking for the perfect summer dessert to make for friends try Rosie Birkett's Summer gooseberry and raspberry upside-down cake from her lovely book The Joyful Home Cook.
To round off National Vegetarian Week here's a recipe from one of the most inspiring vegetarian cookery books I've come across: Sally Butcher's charming, idiosyncratic Veggiestan.. Sally runs an Iranian food store called Persepolis in south-east London so the recipes - which are terrific - all have an middle-eastern slant. It's also a cracking read!
If you’re looking for something a little different to serve for dessert on Saturday (which in case you’ve forgotten, guys, is Valentine’s Day) how about a dessert martini?
Scandinavian food is becoming increasingly popular but what type of wine should you drink with it? Lucy Bridgers reports on how German wine fares.
There is an argument that you don't need anything to drink with the classic Christmas pudding*, especially if you've sloshed brandy all over it but if you're pairing other courses of the Christmas meal you might fancy a small glass of something sweet.
Yesterday we had the family round for lunch and served a 2002 Douro red from Portugal with the main course of spice-crusted roast lamb with garlic and rosemary, roast potatoes (my youngest son managed to put away 15 but remains, annoyingly, as skinny as a rake) and in-season purple sprouting broccoli.
I thought it was pretty brave of rioja producer Ramon Bilbao to present their wines at a cutting edge Peruvian restaurant last week. Still, everyone knows rioja goes with Spanish food so why not? You never make new wine pairing discoveries if you don’t push the envelope.
It’s not often that you come across a wine match that’s as successful as it’s unexpected but sommelier Ruth Spivey’s pairing of a fruity Monferrato chiaretto rosato (aka rosé) from Piedmont with a dish of burrata, pressed watermelon and pickled fennel at Arbutus the other night was spot on - and all the more impressive given that she hadn’t had a chance to taste the combination beforehand.
With this unseasonably hot weather why not look to Greece for inspiration when you're entertaining. Here's a simple meal for 4 that was inspired by a trip to Greece a few years ago.
Anyone who doubts the value of being on Twitter - as I do myself from time to time - should factor in the bonus of having access to insider knowledge.
Well, I don’t know about easy but there must be some easier way to get people into German wine . . .
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.
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.
The Chinese New Year, which starts on February 1st, is one of those annual events that really captures the imagination. It is celebrated in such a colourful and joyous way and Chinese food is so delicious, quick and simple to make that I hope you won't be able to resist having a go at it, inauthentic though it absolutely is.
Lotte Peplow sees American craft brewers persuade the French that wine is not the only thing to drink with a meal ....
An elegant, quick roast from Fran Warde's New Bistro that makes the best of in-season rhubarb. You could even serve it on Valentine's night.
If you feel like baking this weekend here's a recipe from Christine McFadden's massively useful book Flour, a guide to how to use all the many new flours on the market.
A delicious relish to serve with the Thanksgiving leftovers or to bookmark for Christmas from Diana Henry's Salt, Sugar, Smoke. It keeps for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
If you want to make just one dish to celebrate the Thai new year try Gizzi Erskine's fabulous Thai-style duck and watermelon salad from her most recent book Gizzi's Healthy Appetite.
A perfect, simple, but indulgent winter pudding from Trish Deseine's lovely new book about Irish cooking, Home. "Truly unbeatable when made with thick Irish cream, farmyard eggs and a dash of Bushmills."
I've loved all of Meera Sodha's books but her new one, East, which includes vegetarian and vegan recipes from the Indian sub-continent to the far east may be the best yet. And I love the zingy fresh flavours of this mango salad.
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.
If you were going to introduce someone to beer the last course you’d probably think of would be a dessert but as I discovered at a beer and pudding matching session at Brown’s Hotel in London this week it can be a surprisingly successful combination.
I think I’m a bit fixated with figs at the moment. Last week’s match of the week involved them and so does this week’s but it’s a totally different affair.
Let’s face it, I don’t get to drink Chateau d’Yquem every day so what else could last week’s match of the week be than this stellar pairing I had at Dinner at Heston Blumenthal?
I think it’s good to re-examine your prejudices so every so often I go back to wines I don’t much like, white zin being a good example.
Simnel cake, for those of you who are not familiar with it, is the traditional British Easter cake (although at one time it was baked to celebrate Mother’s Day).
Given Chile’s proximity to the coast, this week’s match couldn’t be anything but seafood but I’m going to pass over the more obvious pairings with sauvignon blanc in favour of this wildly brilliant combination of scallops and rosé.
This may sound an unlikely combination but bear with me.
Funny, isn’t it, how there are lots of pairings for mince pies but few for Christmas cake. Maybe that’s because we tend to eat it mid-afternoon well before wine o’clock but that could equally apply to Christmas pudding for which I also have plenty of recommendations.
Yesterday finally felt as if spring had come. After weeks of unsettled and unseasonably cool weather it was warm and balmy, rich with the scent of blossom. We went out with friends to the village of Wrington just outside Bristol to follow an ‘art trail’ of exhibitions by local artists. (Yes, I bought something - a delightful picture of radishes by a talented collage artist called Anne Carpenter)
I often feel I don’t get - or make - enough opportunities to try beer with food so was especially pleased to be invited to a Dea Latis beer dinner at The Albion in Bristol last week
It’s not often I come across such a good dessert pairing, let alone one with whisky but here’s a stellar one from L Mulligan Grocer in Dublin which offers whisky pairings with all its desserts
It’s been hard to pick a single pairing from the beer and food matching dinner I attended at the Anchor in Walberswick last week but I reckon it’s got to be the perfect pairing of Bakewell tart and Liefmans Kriek.
After two days in the Jura and 24 hours in Champagne it was harder than usual to come up with just one match this week* but I’m going for this combination of apricot tart and Louis Roederer’s demi-sec champagne Carte Blanche because it’s one you can reasonably easily replicate at home.
I knew that peaches and burrata were a perfect pairing but what to drink with them?
Given the intense contagioiusness of Omicron it seemed a good idea to have a low key New Year’s Eve celebration this year which took the form of a really lovely kitchen supper with my friend Jenny Chandler and her family.
After the excesses of the Christmas period I always reckon January drinking should be about quality rather than quantity with a small sip of something strong and flavourful being infinitely preferable to several glasses of something weak and bland.
Syllabub - a velvety-smooth concoction of sweet wine and cream - is one of the great English desserts, dating from the 16th century. At this time of year I like to make it with orange rather than lemon, topped with an irresistibly crunchy mixture of orange zest and sugar.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about ingredients that cause problems for wine and have come to the conclusion that lemon is one of the major culprits. Of course we add lemon to many things for a subtle lift - I’m talking about recipes where lemoniness (if there is such a word) is the essence of the dish.
Before home-grown strawberries disappear totally from the shops, a re-run of what I reckon is the ultimate strawberry tart recipe from Orlando Murrin's irresistible book, A Table in the Tarn and which he used to serve at his French guest house Le Manoir de Raynaudes.
A really easy, delicious preserve using red wine and cassis from Sybil Kapoor's recently released The Great British Vegetable Cookbook - a great present for anyone who has an allotment.
A sample recipe from food writer and photographer Regula Ysewijn's Pride and Pudding which I really hope will make you want to buy this brilliant new book.
If you're looking for a Sunday roast with a twist try this gorgeous Spanish-inspired pork recipe from Richard Turner's amazing new book, Hog*. Not least 'cos it mentions me in the intro ;-)
I would never in a million years have come up with the brilliant idea of baking a scone in a single tin as Great British Bake Off winner Edd Kimber has done in his book One Tin Bakes but then all the recipes can - miraculously - be cooked like that. I can't quite bring myself to call it a slab scone though which doesn't make it sound nearly as enticing as it is. So I've renamed it One tin cream tea (sorry, Edd!).
A simple and delicious Christmas dessert from my mate Sarah Randell, food director of Sainsbury's Magazine, which combines two of my favourite things, jelly and cocktails.
Rukmini Iyer's 'Roasting Tin' series has been a huge success so the sweet-toothed among you will be thrilled that there's now a book devoted to desserts and cakes - The Sweet Roasting Tin. I chose this recipe on the grounds that it would double as either. I reckon it would be a particularly good finale to a curry night.
To celebrate Chocolate Week here's one of my favourite recipes for a chocolate and cherry roulade which comes from my book An Appetite for Ale. Unusually it contains two different types of beer! You can obviously leave one of them out though a cherry beer is the perfect pairing with it.
You might not think of putting cherries in a salad but it can work wonderfully well as Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich of Honey & Co demonstrate in this clever twist on a tabbouleh from their most recent book Honey & Co: At Home.
A lovely serving suggestion from Trine Hahnemann's inviting book Scandinavian Christmas. The preserved plums couldn't be simpler.
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.
There have been a lot of great veggie cookbooks this summer but one of the most useful is Genevieve Taylor's Charred which finally empowers vegetarians to enjoy barbecues as much as meat eaters. That said this isn't the recipe in the book that makes the most extensive use of the grill but it's such a sublime combination of ingredients it's really summer on a plate.
I make a point of not going to Vinexpo, the biennial wine fair in Bordeaux (too hectic, too noisy) but it does mean you miss out on the occasional treat like the gala dinner that was held at Château Mouton Rothschild to celebrate the opening of their new chai.
For the last couple of weeks The Telegraph has been running recipes from two of my favourite chefs, Sam and Sam Clark of Moro, the iconic Moorish recipe in Exmouth Market in London that I discover, to my amazement, is now 11 years old. Sam (the husband) is very into his wines, particularly sherry, so I'm suggesting Spanish wines for the pairings.
Although chocolate mousse is usually made from dark chocolate it's quite a light dessert as chocolate puddings go because of its airy texture - lighter than petits pots au chocolat, for example.
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.
Last week we were in the south of France where, bizarrely, it wasn't as hot as it's been in England the past couple of days. One night we went round for supper at a neighbour's who served the simplest and most delicious dessert of white pèches de vigne with chilled Muscat de Frontignan splashed over them.
I’m really spoilt for choice for my match of the week - there were so many good ones last week. As you may have picked up if you follow me on Twitter (where I tweet as winematcher and food_writer) I was in Copenhagen eating at the world’s best restaurant, Noma (according to the 800 food writers, chefs and critics that judge the ‘World's 50 Best Awards) and also at Herman whose sommelier Jacob Kocemba came up with some excellent pairings.
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.
As it turned out the star pairing of my bizarre Brewdog Burns night was not the haggis spring rolls and Punk IPA but an equally off the wall pairing of raspberry cranachan and Black Tokyo Horizon, a 15% Imperial stout.
If you’re looking for something really original to impress your Valentine next weekend try this fabulous pairing.
Thos of you of a certain age may remember that great ‘70s favourite ham and pineapple which conisisted of a large limp gammon steak, curling at the edges and a couple of fried pineapple rings. From a tin. There was one thing that was good about the dish though and that is that ham and pineapple are great together, something we’ve rather forgotten in these more sophisticated times.
On Saturday we celebrated the 50th wedding anniversary of some good friends - a rare occasion which deserved (and got) several splendid bottles including a magnum of Gosset Champagne and another of one of the best of our local winemakers down here in the Faugères, Domaine des Estanilles (a magnum of the 2002 Château des Estanilles which was drinking superbly)
We’ve been feasting on figs from our neighbours' fig tree in Grau d’Agde down in the Languedoc this weekend - all the more satisfying as I gather that back home Waitrose is currently selling them at 99p each.
Why don’t more people make souffls these days? I include myself in that. They’re not that difficult, look so impressive and are such a lovely match for a dessert wine.
Apple tart is a pretty forgiving kind of dessert but here's a brilliant new pairing I found at Casanis restaurant in Bath last week.
I had some great food and wine matches in Dublin last week but most were predictably good (albarino and seafood, Ribera del Duero and lamb …) so I’m going for this combination from the menu at a brilliant little restaurant called Mae.
Even if you don’t go out wassailing over the next couple of weeks there’s no reason why you can’t throw an impromptu wassail party at home if you have an apple tree in your garden. Or even if you don’t . . .
If you haven’t already made your plans for New Year’s Eve why not invite over a few friends and treat them to a beer dinner instead of one based on wine? It’s a great way to open their eyes to the great range of artisanal beers that are now available.
I still remember my visit to the great Oktoberfest in Munich, the world’s biggest beer festival. Mysteriously it’s not held in October at all - or rather it doesn’t start in October but in September - kicking off next weekend.
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 from the archives for you to romance your loved one with the absolute minimum of effort.
This menu was created as part of a series of pieces I wrote for Sainsbury's magazine. The idea was to invite your friends round for a wine tasting then all have a slap-up meal afterwards. This meal was based on a tasting of South American reds from Argentina and Chile but it would be just as fun to base it round Malbec (Malbec being the perfect wine for a steak).
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.
Gin isn’t the only drink you can serve with tonic and this is the perfect time of year to try a delicious alternative: white port. Which, as I’m sure you know, comes from the Douro region of Portugal.
Another good bottle for Valentine’s Day this week - this time an wild strawberry flavoured liqueur in an extraordinarily blingy bottle with wild strawberries floating on top. It’s part of Marks & Spencer’s new international spirits range which now runs to over 70 different spirits and liqueurs.
You’d think, wouldn’t you, that most chefs would be pretty good at food and wine matching, not least French chefs. Well, you’d be wrong! I’m constantly shocked by the number of chefs who haven’t the faintest idea what wine goes best with their recipes or indeed, who drink wine at all. (Some of them possibly because they’ve, er hem, enjoyed it a bit too much in the past . . . )