Food and Wine Pairing Guide

18 January 2021
Food and Wine Pairing GuidePhoto By Canva

Food is great, and so is wine - we will never try to contradict that. The thing that makes a lot of cooking confusing and, perhaps, a little difficult, though, is that pairing food and wine together can be complicated, confusing, and difficult.

However, it doesn’t need to be this way. There are plenty of ways to simply pick a wine that you love and pair it with food that you love. In the course of this article, we’re going to be talking about the best ways to pair wine and food, as well as a couple of tricks and tips that might help you out.

Complementary Pairings

Red wine with foodPhoto By Canva

Okay, so this is the deal: there are two types of food and wine pairings. One is complementary and one is contrasting. In this article, we’re going to cover both of them, but let’s first talk about a complementary pairing.

Complementary pairings are the case where the flavor of the wine that you’re drinking matches or enhances the flavor of the food that you’re eating. That’s a pretty simple concept to get your head around because it’s something that a lot of people do when they’re cooking.

A great example of this is when you might taste a sauce that you’re cooking, only to say that it’s great, but may need a little more of a certain spice. For example, if you’re preparing a tomato-based sauce, a complementary pairing could be to add a gentle sprinkle of dried basil. The two flavors complement each other well, leading to a better overall flavor, and a meal that’s more than the sum of its parts.

It is often more common for red wines to form complementary pairings than it is for white wines to do the same. This is a trend, however, and not the rule.

The first common complementary pairing which makes use of red wine that springs to mind are the pairing of red wine with traditional, beef-and-pork heavy Italian food. For example, it’s typical to see a hearty glass of red wine accompany a spaghetti bolognese. The quite bitter flavors in a lot of red wine will complement the dark and rich tones of a well-made bolognese.

A great complementary pairing for people who have more of a love affair with white or rose wines could be a creamy white wine paired with traditional mac and cheese. In this situation, the inherent creaminess of the wine heartily compliments the natural creaminess of the cheesy bechamel sauce in the meal.

Contrasting Pairings

White wine with foodPhoto By Canva

Contrasting pairings are much more of a matter of taste than complementary pairings. In truth, that’s the case with all food, and not just in wine pairings.

For example, a great contrasting pairing could be coconut and lime. The two foods don’t have very many similar flavors at all, which only serves to enhance and contextualize the flavors that they do have.

Perhaps the most hotly debated contrasting pairing is pineapple and pizza. The appeal of pineapple and pizza is the sweet acidity of the pineapple contrasting so enormously with the saltiness of the cheese and the earthiness of a well-made base.

Personally, we absolutely love this pairing as the combination only, really, serves to enhance them both. On the other hand, a lot of people dislike the pairing as they don’t feel the flavors really click together for them. This is a recurring theme in wine pairing, and especially contrasting wine pairings - they’re certainly matters of taste more than fact.

Contrasting pairings are rarely done with red wines as they have a particularly bold taste. This means that pairing a strong and powerful red wine with a lighter meal like fish or dessert would block out the flavors of the meal because the wine is so rich and flavorful.

Perhaps the closest that people often get is pairing red wine with a peppery sauce. A lot of the time, however, this is only done because of the benefits of pairing red wine with a steak - which may happen to be served with a peppercorn sauce.

Contrasting pairings are much more common with white wines, as they have more delicate and complex flavor profiles, on the whole. For example, a zesty and acidic white wine such as Pinot grigio would pair well with creamy flavors - the contrast between the acidity and the creaminess allows for greater appreciation of both sets of flavors.

This is another great example of pairing wine with mac and cheese - an acidic wine would serve to make a creamy bechamel sauce stand out more by cutting through the richness with a sharp hint of flavor.

Pairing wine and food can be a tricky task, but we hope we’ve been able to make it a little easier for you with this short article. To keep it simple, don’t be afraid to spend a bit of time looking at different wines wherever you get yours. No-one will stop you, so feel free to seek out a wine that’s creamy to go with your salmon fillets, as well as a wine that’s bolder and stronger to pair with your sirloin steak.

Here are delicious recipes to complement a nice bottle of wine

Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding
%95British

Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding

Fabulous duo of English cuisine with Yorkshire pudding and roast beef. A recipe that will turn your dinner into a feast.

Beef Wellington
%94British

Beef Wellington

One of our favorite steak recipes. The famous chef Gordon Ramsay perhaps is the master of this delicious recipe and we recommend watching him do it before...

Baked Branzino Fillet with Potatoes
%98European

Baked Branzino Fillet with Potatoes

Branzino or Branzini is a type of white fish. It is also known as 'Mediterranean Sea Bass'. This sea bass species, which is especially popular in Italian...

Grilled Shrimp
%95European

Grilled Shrimp

You will love this recipe shared by Chef Hakan Açıl. He was born in 1978 in Eskişehir. After gaining experience in various hotels and restaurants, he...

Eggplant Lamb Chops Kebab
%82Turkish

Eggplant Lamb Chops Kebab

Easy to make and delicious, Eggplant Lamb Chops Kebab will add color to your dinner table on special occasions. Enjoy your meal.

Cauliflower with Bechamel Sauce
%93Italian

Cauliflower with Bechamel Sauce

Vitamin full of cauliflower with bechamel sauce and cheddar cheese is a great mix for deliciousness.

At the end of the day, we want to communicate that pairing food and wine doesn’t need to be difficult, and it certainly doesn’t need to be snobby. There’s a lot of confusion and snobbishness in this field, so make sure to share this no-nonsense wine guide around - everyone deserves to pair great wine with great food!

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