Friday, September 30, 2011

Food And Wine: Know Your Pairings

Many of us take to go bags and our wine gift bags home after a night on the town without really being sure if we properly paired our meals with our choice of wine. In fact, many of us experience a shock when the wine we ordered tastes awful alongside a particular meal. But if we know a little bit more about the basics of wine and food pairings, we can begin to understand how to make the most of our nights at fancy restaurants.

There is more than one thing to consider when selecting a bottle of wine. Wine is a complicated subject, as there are many types and one is not often like another. Though a red wine may taste great with pork, you may also find that the same bottle equally compliments your filet mignon. If you are eating fish, you should definitely switch to drinking white wine, as red will easily overpower the entire dish. Although there are standard wine-food pairings, everyone will have a different opinion about each one. This is because we all have different tastes -- it cannot be helped. Do not feel bad if a classic pairing is not to your tastes; everyone must find their own sense of balance in the culinary world. Once you know the basics of pairings, however, you will never again find yourself choking on a wine that would taste delicious if you had only paired it with the correct meal. Wine is meant to be drunk alongside food but not every bottle of wine was destined for marriage with a particular kind of food.

With wine, the simplest way to pair bottles with dishes is to remember that opposites were not meant to attract. Foods that contrast with the flavors contained in a bottle; be it bitter, sweet or acidic -- may not treat your palate very well. Wines with strong flavors are best matched with hearty foods. A delicate bottle of wine should be drunk with a meal that features the same kind of delicacy. The full bodies of a good zinfandel, cabernet or pinot noir are best served with ribs, steak or other rich meats.

On the other hand, a light serving of protein such as that which is found in fish, chicken or pasta should be dished up beside a bottle of white wine. If you love cream-heavy pastas, you should drink a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc with them. Oysters call for a chardonnay, while Chenin Blanc will compliment a poultry dish.

Although many people feel overwhelmed by the vast options they have before them on a wine list, correctly pairing food and wine is not very difficult. In fact, if you find yourself at a loss while at a restaurant, you can simply ask for assistance from your server. The same goes for those who are aimlessly wandering the local wine shop simply ask someone who works there. Often specialty stores employ men and women with vast knowledge on the subject matter. By asking, you may even learn something new about the subject.

Stewart Wrighter recently purchased several cases of custom to go bags for a fundraiser at his restaurant. For more information about to go bags go to .

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