I’ve got a wine tasting session coming up next Thursday night for Villa Maria wines. I’m doing it alongside the amazing Mel who runs NZ Wine Cellar in POP Brixton, one of the coolest places for a foodie to hang out in the whole of London. Our job yesterday was to wander round the different stalls and pair up the two wines we’re going to be focusing on with the food on offer. But where do you start pairing food to a particular wine?
When In Rome
Normally I go off the old adage of what the locals eat. I started my wine-drinking career (and yes it is a career thank you very much!) in northern Italy a few years back and it’s amazing, over there especially, how the food and wine just work. I’m not sure which came first, it’s a real chicken and egg scenario, but needless to say there’s an uncanny way it just works together. So if I have a wine from anywhere in the world I wonder what the locals eat first.
Next up there are the professionals. Over in the UK I think it’s fair to say the shining light of food and wine matching is a lady called Fiona Beckett. Her website is a bit of a bible for me, especially for slightly more exotic matching. Viognier and Chicken Korma? Who knew?! Huge respect for those suggestions, do make it a go to, or at least find someone out there that does similar and you can get behind.
In Times of Crisis
In times of crisis you go with what you know. I’ve got a fat red? Steak! I’ve got a light white? Seafood salad me up! There’s nothing wrong with working out a few tried and tested pairings and going for them. That’s especially true if you’ve got people coming round for dinner, just take the pressure off.
No Way Round It
Sad to say, but there’s no way round the fact that the only real way to know what goes well with what is to give it a go. Suck it and see as it were. What might work for someone might not work for you and viceversa. Just like everyone else, we’re all different. If you think oaked chardonnay and salt and vinegar Pringles work then be my guest.
Drinking wine feels wrong without eating some form of food somewhere along the line. Make it laugh to work out what to go for.
Photography Credit: The brilliant Andy Barnham of Riddle Magazine