Food & Drink

8 Unusual food & wine pairings that will make you look like a champ

White wine goes with fish. Red wine goes best with bloody meat. Anything that comes with a poppadum needs to be washed down with an Indian beer (inevitably brewed in the UK) within seconds.

Nothing new there - some food/booze pairings are so steadfastly quoted that you run the real risk of not only making your meals bland, but also missing out on some truly exceptional culinary and wine-based experiences that your palate is practically crying out for. 

We spoke to Jim Gore, a man who we imagine orders his meat bloody - but more importantly, he’s also a Wine & Spirit Education Trust Tutor (Wsetglobal.com), so was the man to ask about maverick food and wine pairings that work.

So, whether you’re looking to impress on a third date or else just want an excuse to show off during your next trip to a restaurant, from the unfussy (steak and kidney pie) to the very fussy (Truffle Risotto), you might want to favourite this…

[Images: Flickr Creative Commons, Shutterstock]

  • 8 Unusual food & wine pairings that will make you look like a champ

    OLOROSO SHERRY WITH A TRADITIONAL SUNDAY ROAST

    "A good Sunday Roast will pack punch after punch of hearty savoury flavour – most wines simply don’t have the intensity to match.  So what does? Only the most savoury and flavoursome of all the wines, Oloroso Sherry! Your roast lunch will be complemented by flavours of toffee, leather, spice and walnut.  It might sound a little unusual but all I’ll say is trust me."

  • 8 Unusual food & wine pairings that will make you look like a champ 1

    TORRONTÉS WITH SEARED TUNA AND MANGO AND CORIANDER SALSA

    "Aromatic wines are all the rage right now and Torrontés offers bags of grape, melon and floral aromas. The wine has enough acidity to cope with the freshly squeezed lime on the Tuna but be warned, avoid the chili. Torrontés often has high alcohol, which enhances spiciness in food dishes, so don’t add a spark to that flame or the delicate aromas may be lost."

  • 8 Unusual food & wine pairings that will make you look like a champ 2

    NEW ZEALAND PINOT GRIS (LESS THAN 11 PER CENT VOL) WITH SPICY THAI CURRY

    "When Kiwis make Pinot Grigio they often don’t allow all the sugar in the grapes to turn into alcohol, resulting in a style of wine that’s more akin to the generous, almost oily Pinot Gris usually found in Alsace (that’s why you’ll see Pinot Gris on the label, rather than the familiar, dilute version, Pinot Grigio). The lower alcohol level and touch of sweetness in the wine will halt any excessive spicy burn from the Thai Curry and its exotic fruit flavours will have you feeling even closer to Thailand."

  • 8 Unusual food & wine pairings that will make you look like a champ 3

    XINOMAVRO WITH STEAK & KIDNEY PIE

    "Often called the Barolo of Greece, Xinomavro is full of finesse. Powerful, yet seductive, it is spicy and tannic, with meaty, earthy flavours, yet also delicate floral aromas. Grab a dish that is just as varied and full of flavour, like Steak & Kidney Pie, to match it. With plenty of fat and salt in the meat, the tannins in the wine will have something to bind to, allowing the meat to melt in your mouth. Yes."

  • 8 Unusual food & wine pairings that will make you look like a champ 4

    BIERZO WITH A CHEESE AND TOMATO TOASTIE

    "This red wine is from the Spanish border region of Galicia, more famed for its white grape Albariño.  The grape variety Mencia makes an elegant and refreshing red wine that packs a concentrated red berry flavour. Drink it lightly chilled to bring out even more of its perfumed fruit character. The sharp kick from the tomatoes in your toastie will make the wine seem softer and even slightly sweeter."

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    VINTAGE TRADITIONAL METHOD SPARKLING WINE WITH TRUFFLE RISOTTO

    "Laden with butter, oil and cheese (oh yum!) a truffle risotto cries out for something to cut through all that richness. For real slicing power, you need a wine with a high level of acidity, and for that there is nothing better than a Traditional Method Fizz. Buy an older vintage (anything from 2010 or before) and you’ll reap the rewards: a wine with notes of mushroom, toast, brioche and a slight nuttiness, all of which make a lovely accompaniment to your luscious risotto."

  • 8 Unusual food & wine pairings that will make you look like a champ 6

    AGLIANICO WITH STEAK

    "Steak is often packed full of salt and fat so it gives you the opportunity to try wines with super high tannin,  acidity and flavour that may well be ‘too much’ by themselves. Look to Southern Italy to find good examples at a brilliant price. Wines made from the Aglianico grape fit the bill perfectly with concentrated black fruit, high tannin and acidity."

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    BLAUFRÄNKISCH WITH NIÇOISE SALAD

    "Traditionally, you might reach for a white to go with a salad but why not try this Austrian red? Difficult to pronounce, yes, but this wine is incredibly fruity and really refreshing. The vinaigrette salad dressing acts as a buffer, softening the acidity in the wine, making the wine super lush and smooth, while highlighting its gorgeous sour cherry fruit flavours."