Food and Wine- Finding the Right Mix

Fine cuisine, home-made cooking, casual to fine dining, wine-tasters dinner or just cheese and wine at your place, there are different ways to treat your palette and taste-buds. The perfect pairing and matching of food and drink is a delicate balancing act. Personalized preferences of what to enjoy together will develop over time and many experts do not even agree on what wine with what food! It is all about the journey, experience and enjoyment, finding that right mix and balance, complimentary tastes that work (for you!). Not overpowering, not understated, that is the ultimate goal here.

You probably always hear that red wine goes with red meat and white wine with white meat. But if we consider the fact that really, it is only your taste buds that should matter – then why should we automatically follow this rule?

Working on this basis, perhaps we should create the rule that wine should just be paired with the person that is drinking it. Some people already live by this rule, drinking only the wines that they like, no matter which dish they are delving into.

If you are hosting a dinner party, then the rules become a lot more grey. You are bound to have guests who stick to the old rules, guests that stick to that same favorite wine and guests that just create new rules as and when they like. The ultimate objective to consuming wine and food together is that the wine should not overpower the food and vice versa. They should merely compliment and bring out the best in each other.

There are certain ideas that should help you to hit the right balance and when you bear a few common pointers in mind, you shouldn’t go wrong. For example, think about how the food has been prepared; delicately prepared food will be best matched by a delicately flavored wine. If you also try and pair the wine to the most dominant flavour in the dish then you really will be scoring highly with the taste buds.

Try to balance the sweetness of your dishes, but be careful that you don’t overdo the sweetness if you are eating or serving a very sweet dessert dish. This can simply be too over powering.

Also consider throwing the opposites together. So if you are eating richly spiced food, then a more subtle flavoured wine may well be the best tasting option. It will help to settle the flavours in the palate and compliment the spices.

Unsurprisingly, neighboring ingredients geographically speaking should always prevail, so if you are eating a dish from a certain region, then sometimes a wine from the same region will work extremely well. Coming from the same soil has got to offer some sort of bonus in the fabric of the flavors. Quite simply, they have evolved to compliment each other over time.

What about problem foods? Well, certain flavors and ingredients can cause a calamity when paired together. For example, Egg dishes can be tricky and the only solution could be a well balanced white wine. Vinaigrette dressings and high acidity foods can also be difficult and even though some people recommend a wine with high acidity to match, this combination is only for the very daring.

If we return to the position that it is only your opinion that really counts, surely it can also be deduced that your opinion, paired with the company and humour of your very best friends is ultimately the only combination of ingredients that really does matter.

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About The Author, Ian Love
Ian Love is director of Perth Restaurants group West Valley, which runs Coco's Perth restaurant, Raffles Hotel Perth & Bellhouse Seafood restaurant.