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What’s The Fuss Around Food And Wine Pairing

3 min read

We have all heard people going on about food and wine pairing and the importance of it to the dining experience – perhaps the most famous is that red wine goes with beef and white wine with fish and chicken. But why is that? If you’ve ever wondered why food and wine pairing is important, and how to do it, then this article is for you.

At any price point, alcoholic beverages help to enhance the dining experience – food and wine can complement each other and improve the flavour of each, making both better when tried together. Food-wine pairings are extremely subjective and depend on each person’s own tastes. Today, with the wide variety of wines that exist (especially in South Africa with its many wine farms), the age-old rule of red wine-beef and white wine-fish has become a little more complicated.

There are a few golden rules, however, that should be considered when making the pairing. The most important aspect of food-wine pairing is balance. One way to achieve this is by focusing on the taste. The food and wine can complement each other in various ways: similar taste profiles in the food and wine can bring out the best of each other, while contrasting taste profiles can do the same. The ultimate goal is synergy, to create a new flavour and experience than if the two elements were consumed separately. A good rule of thumb to remember is that one element should not dominate the other; the food and wine are there to complement each other.

Other important elements to consider in relation to the food is the acidity, the weight, and texture of the wine. If there is a sauce in the meal, pair the wine to the sauce. If there isn’t a sauce, then the wine should be paired with the protein. Here, the weight of the food should be matched to the weight or ‘body’ of the wine. Another good pairing could come from matching geographical locations – if the food is locally sourced, perhaps try a local wine that would match the meal. This may not be perfect, but in many areas the food and wine have developed side-by-side throughout history, meant to be tried together.

When all of this is taken into consideration, sometimes some red wines may pair with fish, while some white wines may pair with red meat. Monkfish, for example, is suited to a Cabernet, as it is often prepared with mushrooms and red wine. And oaked white wines should be avoided when consuming raw fish, like sushi or our poke bowls.

With enough practice and by being adventurous, you can quickly become a master at food and wine pairing! If you are uncertain what wine, or other beverage, will go well with your food, or vice versa, don’t hesitate to ask your waiter. They will be able to help you directly or speak to our chef who will be able to recommend some drinks.

Here are a few of our favourite pairings:

  • Oysters served with Sherry vinegar and Spanish onion salsa with Pieter Crytoff Brut Sparkling
  • Pork Dumplings and sweet soy dipping sauce with Fat Bastard Pinotage Rose
  • Pasta Frutti Di Mare with Vrede en Lust White Mischief (blend)
  • Beef Ribeye with Chimichurri with Diemersdal Pinotage
  • Traditional Hake and Chips with Riebeek Cellars Chenin Blanc
  • Seared Tuna Nigiri with Parmesan with Meerlust Wooded Chardonnay
  • Dark Chocolate & Orange Fondant with Protea Shiraz

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