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“What wine should I serve with this steak? Does it matter how the steak is cooked? Does that change whether I serve white wine or red?”

“Fish always goes best with white wine, right? Or is it champagne? I never remember…”

“I have this great new wine I want to show off, but it is a little sweet; I wonder what the best food is to pair it with…”

Pairing food and wine; it can actually be a little bit like setting people up on a date: if the match is right, everyone has a good time and chat amiably; but if you get it wrong, everything becomes awkward and everyone has a slightly sour look on their face. Pairing food and wine can be intimidating to the novice, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few basics to get you started:

Light to Full Bodied Wines

The most important thing to remember about pairing food and wine is that you want to balance the weight of the wine with the weight of the food; if one overpowers the other, the experience is ruined. You want to make sure the wine you choose won’t drown out the rest of the food and vice-versa. Strong and earthy flavours like steak would go best with something robust like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Shiraz. A strong blue cheese would pair well with a Zinfandel or a Riesling.

Lighter fare, such as chicken or fish, would be best served with a lighter wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or a French Pinot Noir. Whatever you choose, the goal is to keep the integrity of the flavours of both the wine and the food.

What goes well with salty food? Try something with a high level of acidity. White wines are known to be acidic so you could try a Sauvignon Blanc, a Riesling or a Gewurtztraminer. Champagne or any sparkling would also work nicely. Surprisingly, sweet wines often work well with salty food so you could try serving a Muscato, or an ice wine.

Experiment!

For a wine enthusiast, there is nothing more exciting than discovering a new food and wine pairing. So, experiment with different wines and find the food that is the best match.

For example, set up a plate or bowls with salty almonds, dark chocolate, dried mango and a strong cheddar. Sip the wine, have a taste, sip again. Take your time and discover what your palate likes.

Have fun with it! Not everything is going to be a hit, but it is a good way to develop your palate. You can even host some friends to join you and get their opinions.

Looking for a fun event for a staff team-building day or a special customer appreciation event? How about a Food-Wine Pairing class at SommEvents? Or maybe a wine etiquette class? Or even an Intro to Wine class? At SommEvents, we specialize in pairing any kind of event with wine. No matter the occasion, we will make it better with wine. Whether you are looking for a corporate wine event, wine-tasting class, or something different, we can meet your needs. Contact us and find out more today!

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