We all know that there are classic pairings when it comes to food and drink, such as cheese and wine and beer and pizza. But if we know why certain foods go better with certain drinks then you can start to explore your own pairings. After all everybody has a different palette and what works for some might not necessarily work for others. This guide may point you in the right direction to make your own mind up.
Cheese & Wine
There are so many variations on this combination that you have to break down specific types of cheese with the different varieties of wine. In general, red wine goes well with hard cheeses, while white wine suits softer varieties of cheese, but as in everything in life there are exceptions. Try a chardonnay with a mild cheddar, or a robust cabernet to go with a creamy brie. If you are not certain where you should start, then seek out cheese and wine events around your area.
Seafood & White Wine
The general rule of thumb is that when you are eating fish you should drink white wine and you will not be disappointed. A particularly good pairing is a good chardonnay with seafood. If you want to plan your menu around your expensive chardonnay then as an appetizer begin with a mild cheddar, then fresh oysters would be a perfect starter, with a nice grilled dover sole as the main event. The subtle nuances of a good chardonnay would be perfect for every course.
You should not limit your food and drink pairings to just wine but also look at beer. Over the last two decades there has been a revolution in beer making, many micro breweries are producing superb craft beers that vary in taste and style greatly. Plus also the quality of many beers from say Belgium or Germany would far surpass that of most table wines on the market.
These micro brewers are not just limited to grapes as the wine producers are. Beer is made from almost everything, from chocolate to fruit. Ales normally go down well with red meats, and the lighter pilsners and tangy wheat beers are exceptional with seafood. The fun is trying to experiment what goes with what, be bold and rule no combination out.
Dessert & Wine
Pairing wines with savory or main dishes is fairly straightforward, there are classic examples to follow. But when the dessert trolley is wheeled out people are often bewildered at what to choose to drink. Chocolate is notoriously difficult to pair properly, but if you order a nice vintage port or brandy to go with your chocolate dessert you cannot go wrong. If you want to stick to wine then merlot is a perfect partner for dark chocolate desserts, and berries and chocolate go well with a good and rich cabernet sauvignon.
A sweet riesling will suit the creamy texture and flavor of a cheesecake, but the standard safe bet for any dessert is champagne, you cannot go wrong with a nice chilled glass of bubbly. To help you along many wine bottles now give food pairing information on the back label, be adventurous as if you get the combination right then your dining experience will be taken to another level.