Pairings | Port
You may well have given a fair amount of thought by now to what you’ll be drinking with your turkey or goose and have set treasured bottles of Bordeaux or Burgundy aside for the main Christmas meal. But what about all the other occasions over the festive period which these days tends to stretch a good 10 days into the early New Year?
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.
Our roving gastronome Lucy Bridgers puts Portuguese wine through its paces with a succession of small plates from the inventive Nuno Mendes.
Roquefort cheese is unusual in having such a frequently recommended wine match (Sauternes) that you may wonder if it’s worth drinking anything else but depending how you serve it there are a number of other options.
Chocolate is supposed to be impossible to match with wine but like any other ingredient it depends on the chocolate and how it’s used.
The type of artisanal cheddar I was writing about yesterday - mature, full-flavoured, unpasteurised - isn’t the easiest cheese to match with wine.
A chocolate yule log or 'buche de Noël has become an increasingly popular dessert at Christmas but what kind of wine should you pair with it?
One of the all-time favourite British desserts sticky toffee pudding is super-sweet so will overwhelm most wines you might think of pairing with it so what should you choose?
My assertion that custard tarts are the new cupcakes provoked such a heated exchange that I thought I’d stoke the fire by suggesting what you drink with ‘em.
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:
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.
As with most cheeses the ideal wine pairing for cheddar depends how mature it is. A mild to medium block cheddar is going to be a lot easier to match (and in most cheeselovers’ eyes a lot less interesting) than an aged cloth-bound cheddar of 18 months or more.
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.
THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED. Although I can’t imagine Christmas without port it seems crazy to deny ourselves the pleasure of drinking it at other times of year, doesn’t it? Well the clever people at Churchill’s have come up with the idea of an online port club which delivers a quarterly port pack of three of Churchill’s award-winning ports.
Former sommelier and wine consultant David Furer writes about a tasting at leading London chocolatier William Curley
Last week I was in northern Portugal where I think it's fair to say a fair bit of port was consumed. There was one striking finding from a food and wine pairing point of view: that toffee- or caramel-flavoured desserts are a perfect match for tawny port.
Port and stilton is one of the classic wine pairings but does it work if you pair a port with a blue cheese chocolate?
Given that it’s the run-up to Christmas I’ve been tasting (yes, tasting, not drinking!) a lot of port recently so have had some indulgent bottles to hand when the cheese comes out.
I must confess I’ve picked my drink of the week this week as much for its looks as its taste - though I like that too. It’s the first serious attempt I’ve seen to make port as appealing to the younger consumer as gin
Port and cheese is one of those combinations that hardly needs questioning but there are some variants on the theme that still have the ability to surprise as I discovered when I worked my way through a selection of Taylor's ports and Paxton & Whitfield cheeses the other day.
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.
I’ve been having some fresh thoughts about food and wine matching since I was asked to participate in the Wine & Culinary International Forum in Barcelona this past weekend and come up with pairings for the bottles submitted by the Primum Familiae Vini, 11 of the world's most famous family-owned wineries
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.
One of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on this year is to collaborate on the wine list at Gridiron, a new restaurant from my pal Richard Turner of Hawksmoor, Meatopia and Pitt Cue fame.
You may have a fixed idea of what constitutes a vino da meditazione but, as Peter Pharos argues, many wines are well suited to sipping thoughtfully on one's own.
I was invited to host a food and wine evening by the Bristol Uni Wine Circle last week which I have to say, despite the vast quantities of food and drink consumed, they took impressively seriously.
One of the innovations at the Marks & Spencer wine tasting this week was a chocolate and wine tasting based on a Single Origin Tasting Box designed to help consumers explore chocolate pairings with different wines.
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.
No Christmas would be complete without a slice of Stilton or its unpasteurised cousin Stitchelton. But what to drink with it? The usual answer is port - and that of course is classic - but here are some other drinks that make great pairings
Mince pies are not that different to Christmas pudding and Christmas cake so you could drink much the same sort of wine with them. But tradition obviously plays a part in terms of what most people expect and they do pair particularly well with fortified wines like port, sherry and madeira
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 . . . )
I know duck and Pinot is a bit of a no-brainer but this was such a great dish and such a stellar wine that it's worth revisiting. (Coupled with the fact that some of you may be having duck for Christmas.)
The question I get asked most often as a wine writer is how long you should keep a bottle of wine. It’s one of those ‘How long is a piece of string?’ questions: it depends both on the bottle and the drinker.
Most of the time we’re pairing wine and food it’s the food that comes first but for people in the trade it’s more often about what food will flatter the wine. But how do you ensure a successful match?
Hard sheep cheeses are the winelover’s friend.
An incredible pairing this week and one I’m afraid you’re unlikely to be able to replicate - so far as the wine element is concerned anyway. But there are alternatives which I’ll suggest.
A lovely serving suggestion from Trine Hahnemann's inviting book Scandinavian Christmas. The preserved plums couldn't be simpler.
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.
The port and Stilton combo has become a bit of a cliché. Not that it doesn't work - it's hard to fault - but if you want to really impress your guests and take them out of their comfort zone, serve your stilton with a shot of sloe gin instead. It has much the same brambly flavour as a Late Bottled Vintage port but, despite being stronger, manages to taste lighter, fresher and less alcoholic.
I was casting around for a dessert to make for friends on Saturday when I remembered this fantastic coffee cake from chef Margot Henderson’s book You’re all Invited. I suppose it’s more of a mid-morning or tea-time treat but I sometimes prefer cake to a full-blown pudding at the end of a rich meal.
Making a cocktail doesn’t have to involve the skills of a bartender, a battery of equipment and a shelf full of obscure bottles. You can make a simple cocktail for your beloved with as little as two ingredients - so long as they’re red or pink . . .
I was hoping for an interesting pairing from the last meal of the year and wasn't disappointed. Like last year we went to a New Year's Eve dinner at Montpelier Basement supper club where we were treated to an amazing 8 course feast which lasted into the early hours of the morning.
This is one of the many enticing recipes in The Orchard Cook, a beautifully illustrated book I was sent by photographer and food writer Stuart Ovenden and which provides inspiring ideas as to what to do with autumnal fruits such as apples, pears and quince.
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.
With all the fuss about oysters and Guinness and boiled bacon and cabbage you may overlook what must be one of the best ways of celebrating St Patrick’s Day: an Irish cheeseboard.