Food Pairings: the weird and the wonderful

“White wine with fish. Red wine with meat.”

Invoke the modern gastronome and you will find this philosophy is archaic, dated and limiting. No longer are we bound by the confines of what 1980’s etiquette dictated to our parents. Instead, we are free to explore food and the astounding matches found in wine (and beer and spirits).  From general observation, it appears that white wine has the upper hand in the world of food and wine pairings; however, and surprisingly to some, beer and spirits play their role equally as well.

In the goal of pairing food and (let’s use the sweeping term of) beverage, there are 3 C’s that will uphold usually very well: Cut, Complement, Contrast.

If your pairing achieves one of these, you’ve likely found a match made in gustatory heaven.

As many of our readers will know by now, I have been tediously pursuing the Sommelier certification and although this reads to many as “wine connoisseur”, it also requires some leg work in the field of beer and spirits. So below I have included a few of the obscure pairings that I’ve learned about and that are, in my opinion, definitely weird, wonderful and worth a whirl.

CUT

Right off the bat, lets dispel the belief of red wine with meat. Instead, ho hum, a white wine on the sweeter side of things (also known as: off dry). This particular dish requires a wine, high in acid but also balanced by residual sugar, that will cut through the fatty film and texture of pork belly.

COMPLEMENT

I know you are probably cringing as you look upon a glass of smokey scotch side by side a slab of salmon sushi. I was cringing too as I tasted this pairing with a group of (also cringing) well trained individuals. I was utterly surprised by the ability of each item to echo but not overwhelm the flavour of its partner. Many brands of scotch will uphold a smokey quality which delicately emphasizes the smoke of a salmon roll.

CONTRAST

This pairing may come as less of a surprise, as stouts and porters have long been paired with oysters. But, to be honest, I had never tried or even heard of this pairing. The idea is that the saline and slimy texture of the oyster will by contrasted by a dry and creamy Irish Stout. It works, although this weird and wonderful pairing may not be for everyone.

In a nutshell, the world of food and drink knows no bounds as to what can ultimately please your palate. So on this Friday eve, stretch your appetite and try something unexpected. A little exploration (and some guts at that) will undoubtedly lead you to a full tummy and dancing taste buds.

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About Kate Lalumiere

After studying wine and spending years in the food service industry, Kate is nutshell's designated food and wine aficionado. Her posts take on the foodie-sphere one restaurant at a time, exposing some of the hottest spots to satiate the ol' buds ! Her favourite restaurants usually include: innovative menus, sustainable & local produce and unparalleled hospitality. Although Kate has a keen ear for food buzz in the National Capital, you'll also find her weighing in on fashion, music and anything that peaks her interest! ** Favourite Restaurant (Ottawa) : Supply & Demand • Wine of Choice: Every wine • Favourite Band: The National • Bad Habit: Being a backseat driver• Favourite Song: Wild Horses • Fashion Icon: Olivia Palermo • Favourite Movie: The Sandlot • Favourite TV Series: Gossip Girl (sue me!) • Sport: Football (to watch and play) • Team: Arizona Cardinals • Blackberry or Iphone: Iphone • Favourite Book: The Sun Also Rises, The Cat's Table, The Bell Jar, On the Road... • ** To ask Kate a question about food, wine or anything else contact her at : inanutshellca@gmail.com

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