5 Top Tips For Matching Food With Wine

The matching of a wine to a particular food is quite a skill, but once your palate develops – all it takes is practice – the task will become easier. Food matching tips from the experts is a great place to start, and get a feel of wine-tasting terminology. An accurate description of a wine will make it much easier to match it up with a food.

  1. Try to match the wine with the dominant flavour of the dish to find a good balance between the two. Here are a few matching suggestions:
    • Foods with a naturally higher acid content, including many fruits and cheeses, will often go well with younger wines which have a higher acidity such as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio or Zinfandel. These wines will also complement foods such as fish, chicken or salads which are frequently flavoured with lemon or vinegar.
    • Highly seasoned dishes flavoured with salt or spice will pair well with lower alcohol, fruity wines like Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, a dry Rosé or Pinot Noir rather than anything highly tannic.
    • Delicately cooked and flavoured food, such as steamed, smoked or poached dishes, will require a delicate match. Again, try Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel or Gewürztraminer.
    • Rich, heartier dishes require fuller bodied wines such as Merlot, Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel or Chardonnay.
    • Sweeter savoury dishes, such as honey roasted ham or pork with a syrupy glaze, will suit a medium sweet or off dry style of wine like Riesling or Chenin Blanc.
    • Desserts and puddings will only successfully match well rounded sweet or dessert wines. The wine needs to taste sweeter than the dish it hopes to complement. Serving anything else leaves the wine in danger of tasting acidic, try Muscat, Vespaiola, Frontignac or a Port.
  2. Experiment with food and wine pairings.
    • Opposites often attract, so you can choose sweet wines to complement salty cheeses and spicy Asian food.
    • Know your geography and you can match food and wine by place of origin, as regional pairings – having developed naturally together – are often well suited.
    • Important! When you are drinking very fine wine, remember to only serve it alongside neutral dishes that are lightly seasoned. You do not want to overpower the delicacy of the wine.

  3. If you find the match of your food and wine is not perfect, adjust the flavour of your meal. With careful use of the right seasoning or cooking method, an unsuitable dish can be cunningly tweaked to better suit the wine, if you find it feels too dry or too bitter.
    • Lemon juice or vinegar will sharpen the flavour of a dish and make it more compatible with an acidic wine. The wine in turn will taste richer and more mellow.
    • Salt will suppress unwanted bitterness in wine. It will also make sweet wines taste sweeter.
    • Fresh pepper – grind over a rare steak to add texture and juiciness and make a heavily tannic wine taste less tannic.
    • Meat cooked rare will add texture and juices to the meal, and can often compensate for a mediocre wine.
    • Sweetness in a dish will increase the awareness of bitterness in the wine, making it appear stronger and drier.
  4. Use a ‘forkful’ for cooking! Wine can be an exceptional ingredient for marinades and sauces, but if you decide to add wine in the preparation of the food, make sure it is of good quality – don’t cut corners just because you are cooking with it. Try to use the same variety of wine that you will be serving with the dish, and if possible the same wine itself.
  5. For formal dinners, follow etiquette and serve:
    • Lighter wines before more full-bodied wines.
    • Drier wines before sweet ones (unless there is a particularly sweet early course).
    • Lower alcohol wines before higher alcohol wines.

Five Catering And Food Preparation Tips For Any Social Gathering

Any event would not be complete without party food. Whether you are holding the reception within restaurants or in the comfort of your own home, you still have to think clearly about what you are serving your guests. You can’t just give them whatever you feel like, or what you want to eat, because this is an eclectic group you are serving. Plus, you have to make your food match your theme, so it completely becomes a memorable affair. It will be advantageous if you get yourself catering services, so you don’t have to worry about making the dishes. But, if you are cooking the buffet fares yourself with help from a few people, here are some pointers you should take note of to pull a delicious spread.

1. Always have a plate or two of fresh, seasonal products. Make one for a salad and the other for fruits. Some guests prefer to only eat organic during gatherings, so make sure they have their fill. To guarantee that you give them a memorable gastronomic experience when eating something natural, make unique dressing blends that they could try out. For instance, you can prepare an Orange Poppy Seed dressing for those salad greens and some melted chocolate-caramel for the fruits.

2. Prepare fully edible appetizers like chowder soup on a bread bowl, or shrimp cocktails on spoons, or sticks you can actually eat. They are fun and convenient. It would be best if you provide your guests with appetizers in small servings, so they won’t be overwhelmed and unable to enjoy the other courses you’ve prepared.

3. It would also be great if you would give your guests a choice between a prepared meal and something personalized. That way, you can satisfy their tastes. What you could have your catering crew do is lay out a “make your own Italian meal” table, for example, where the guests can pick out what pasta, sauces and toppings they want to use. Or, you can have a chef station ready to take orders and prepare different meals from the ingredients available. Of course, not everyone will be able to wait long to eat, so you should also prepare a minimum of three heated main courses that’s popular and is of beef, chicken and fish variety that people can eat right away.

4. Offer variety when it comes to the desserts. Put in French, Italian, Indian and Japanese samples on the table, so people would have an appetizing gourmet adventure. See to it that they are neatly organized on the table – the way buffet restaurants have them, so they’d look appetizing. Never forget to refill until three hours before the party ends. You should also have a smoothie and an ice shaving station for those cold after-meals sweets that children and those children at heart adore.

5. Get a barista to whip up an exclusive drink for your party. There’s nothing like a great-tasting drink to end the night. Make it fruity and friendly, so your guests don’t they hate the after-effects the next morning. Remember to keep it flowing. Alcoholic beverages will probably be the most consumed object in your party, so you have to place emphasis on it.

As you can see, a lot of hard work must go into food preparation, so that the party turns out a complete success. It’s fortunate that you can always have the option to hire people to take the burden out of your hands, so you could just focus on enjoying the celebration.

How To Pair Beer With Food

While the variations of beer may not be as cut and dry as they are for wine (red, white, etc), the beverage has several distinctive styles and you can certainly create a more favorable food combination if you are interested in that sort of thing. If you have any experience with pairing wine with food, think of the distinctions between dishes served best with red wine and those better served with white wine. Whether you are familiar with wine and food pairing or not, consider the different types of beer from lighter taste to the darkest varieties as the spectrum of types.

Starting from the lighter end of the spectrum are your pilsners and lagers. I find these work better with seafood, as the taste is lighter and won’t overpower the flavor of the food. In New Orleans, a boiled crawfish is best washed down with a light pilsner from any of the megabreweries.

Moving along on the beer styles, we come to your pale ales and ambers. As these are a little heartier, they can be paired with similar food. Try having Chicken and Pork dishes with ambers for a great match up.

Next we come to the so called “dark side of the beer”. I refer to stouts and porters when I refer to dark beer. These are among the heaviest regarding taste and alcohol, so you can pair them up with the heartiest foods like steaks, ribs, and similar dishes.

Beyond those basic distinctions of beer are some specialties like barley wines. Barley Wines are higher in alcohol content and in my honest opinion don’t really match up with any food in particular. The alcohol is just too strong to blend – imagine eating food with straight vodka. Does that sound like a good idea to you?

The key to deciding on which beer to pair with your food is to find a combination where the overall flavor is not overpowered by any one item. A little prior planning can give you a pleasant meal.

Bon Appetit!