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Thursday, September 21, 2023


Wine and dine: Crafting the perfect match


When it comes to pairing alcohol, particularly wine, and food, there are certain kinds of tastes that always complement each other. | Courtesy of BigStock

From a bag of salty chips to a tub of ice cream or a bitter cup of coffee, we like to indulge in all sorts of extremes. But it might surprise you to learn that your tongue prefers a careful balance of flavor. The art of pairing food and wine is less of a cultured practice and more of a way to ensure an optimum dining experience.

There are several rules for mixing and matching alcohols and dishes, and though many will make complete sense, others require a bit more thought.

Food and wine both share three of six tastes: sweet, acidic and bitter. Food also has three additional profiles: salty, umami (savory without being salty) and fatty.

If you’re lost when it comes to foreign food and wine, remember that regional pairs usually do the trick.

Shared colors between the wine and the food may also hint at similar flavor profiles. Red wine and beef, as well as white wine and fish, follow this rule accordingly.

In other instances, it’s better to follow specific lines of flavor:

• Avoid pairing bitter wine with bitter food. In spite of the antioxidant glamor, this includes red wine and (especially dark) chocolate.

• Acidic wine with creamy food isn’t a good idea. Rich cream sauces and acid don’t mix.

• Don’t pair wine with strong spices. These will destroy the flavor of the wine.

• Make sure wine is as sweet as or sweeter than the dish in question.

• Wine should also be as acidic as or more acidic than the dish in question.

• Pair bitter wine with rich, fatty food. Balancing tannins and fats elevates the flavor of both the wine and the food. Acidic wine also goes well with such dishes. Like bitter wines, acidic wines cut the fat and liven the flavor range of the dish.

• Pair sweet wine with salty food. This is a classic experience often observed in everyday eating habits.

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