Don’t know how to go with food and wine pairings? Here’s a guide to help you out.
Since eating is an experience we enjoy, we’re constantly trying to think of ways to make our mealtimes better.
Bringing a change to the regular menu or incorporating a new side dish adds up the game by a notch, but one item that can truly switch things around is a nice glass of wine.
If you feel that your palette lacks flavor, wine can help alleviate that.
What’s more? It helps to add a touch of elegance to your meal (which of course, never fails to impress the guests).
Picking a bottle of wine from your local liquor store shouldn’t be an intimidating or difficult task; which is why this guide will help to walk you through the basics of choosing the right wine for the right food!
Know Your Wine
Assuming you’re a beginner when it comes to wine tasting and pairing, it’s best to start off by first getting familiarized with your options. Generally, wine can be either red and white.
Whenever you think of red wine, Gordon Ramsey’s beef wellingtons come to mind.
Red wine feels like silk in your mouth. It’s smooth, luxurious, and will help set the mood for a romantic candle-lit dinner.
This variety of wine goes best with food that has richness in it. Some examples of red wine include Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Merlot.
When the topic is on meat, you cannot avoid but elaborate a little on Merlot.
It’s the perfect companion when you decide to grill some chicken or roast some lamb.
Thinking of making a cheese platter? Go for blue cheese varieties or cheese made from goat or sheep’s milk. Avoid cheeses on the creamier side.
Red wine can also be used to cook meat for that extra punch of flavor.
If you want to learn ways to incorporate wine into your proteins, head over to Foodsguy.com to find a recipe of your choice!
To complement lighter pallets, you can use white wine. It goes very well with chicken, fish, and fresh vegetables (and your favorite salads).
White wine is usually fruity, citrusy, and sweet in nature, making it great for Asian cuisines.
Champagne, Moscato and Sauvignan Blanc are notable examples.
Of course, Champagne is popular among the masses. It looks chichi and tastes so too, but did you know that champagne tastes great with some of your favorite comfort food?
The next time you try mac and cheese, pour yourself a glass of champagne. It is guaranteed not to disappoint you.
Having understood the basics, you can now look at the pairing guidelines.
Combine The Reds
Even though the base color is the same (a.k.a. red), the properties of red wine help cancel out the saturated fat content of red meat.
Red wine is naturally acidic and as mentioned before, it’s best served with your favorite steak or red meat in general as it helps create a nicely balanced meal.
It’s a good way to keep your health in check as it prevents you from going overboard with the fat intake (on the daily, or during special occasions).
Low Alcohol Content for Spicy Food
Some Asian dishes pack a lot of heat. Since the whole selling point of such dishes is the spice factor, you want to preserve that.
So, when it’s time to treat yourself to some spicy malatang hotpot, look for wine with lower alcohol content. You should get something that has 9-11% of alcohol.
After-meal desserts would pair very well with white wines.
Be careful though, it can easily turn into a sugary mess, as white wines are already very sweet.
Eat mildly sweet desserts like lemon cake, apple pie, or cheesecake with your favorite white wine.
Complement Earthy Flavors
Just as we paired red meat with red wine, we should pair earthy flavored wines with earthy foods.
It definitely transforms your mealtime experience; Try having some Pinot Noir with your favorite mushroom dish or some truffles for that perfect, hearty, and cozy evening.
Although wine can help lower the fat content of some dishes, it doesn’t work the same way with dairy foods.
Wine is acidic in nature, and adding acid to dairy only makes it turn into a curdled mess. It’s best to avoid these sorts of unusual combinations.
Consider The Flavor Spectrum
According to a popular saying, “opposites attract.”
Try applying that same logic when you’re looking for food and wine combinations.
Foods on one side of the flavor spectrum will go better with wines on the opposite side of the spectrum.
For example, a rich bar of dark chocolate, which is obviously bitter, would go best with a glass of champagne since it is sweet.
You can always be coherent when pairing your food with wine. Try combining together wine and food from the same region.
Even if the flavors don’t complement each other, it’ll eventually work out since they are of the same origin.
For example, if you’re arranging for french cuisine, have some French wine. Similarly, Asian wines will complement Asian cuisines.
Trial and Error
If you’re still a little confused, or if any of the above seems technical to you, the best thing you can do is settle for trial and error.
Let’s face it, you can follow a number of guides and tell others what goes together and what doesn’t; At the end of the day, we all have our own preferences.
It’s kind of like putting pineapple as a topping on your pizza. There are people who despise the thought of it, but there are others who love it.
Long story short, we’re all geared differently and we all have unique taste buds.
When all else fails, you can always sit down one day and do an elaborate taste test, making sure to record your results as you go to find your perfect combination.