Why is pairing important? Similar to romantic couplings, food and drink pairings can be fickle and temperamental. Make the perfect match and you’ve found bliss. Miss the mark and you’re fumbling to make a connection. Experiment a little. Think of it as dating without the social awkwardness or uncomfortable silence. Exercise caution, but at the end of the day you should feel free to drink what you want and eat what you want. Life can be complicated enough.
A simple rule for all. “Complement” and “contrast” are two good rules of thumb with pairings. Complementary flavors are often a safe bet, but be careful – rich and creamy cheese with rich and sweet wine can be monotonous after the first few hits. This is why I generally prefer contrasting flavors when possible, searching for a balance between fat and acid or something as simple as hot and cold.
Wine: Just add cheese! It would take you two lifetimes to indulge in all the possibilities here. Some might not quite work, but in the end, you’re drinking wine and eating cheese so life is pretty great. When selecting combinations, keep in mind the complimentary style. A light cheese is better off with a lighter wine and a really creamy cheese needs acidity to cleanse the palate. Build on that foundation with the addition of charcuterie, fruits, nuts, jams and honey for endless fun. The old rule of white wine with fish and red wine with meat is cute, but it’s too simple when you consider the variety of culinary palates available today – mix light with rich and heavy with delicate. This should be fun, an adventure in a glass, not to be taken too seriously.
Go to www.flocalmagazine.com to read the full article in our February issue as Spirits Editor Dean Hurst fills you in on the perfect parings to your favorite spirits, beers and cocktails.