Food and Wine Pairing Suggestions from Jeffrey Saad
“Trust your mouth. You know what you like; enjoy it.”
So says Jeffrey Saad, The Next Food Network Star runner up, 25-year food industry veteran and restaurateur. I recently returned from the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference where I had the great pleasure of seeing this dynamic personality give a presentation on food and wine pairing.
Jeffrey asked us who in the audience would pair a Coke with pizza so that he could make a point about why the combination works together. A big laugh came from the crowd when not even one hand went up and he mused, “Wow, you guys really are a bunch of winos!”
- Pair acid with acid, such as salad with vinaigrette paired with Grüner Veltliner.
- Pair fat in food with acid in wine, such as goat cheese in buttery phyllo cups with Argentine Torrontes.
- Pair protein or animal fat with tannin such as Kobe beef with Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Pair sweet with sweet. Sweet food spanks the fruit right out of the wine if the wine isn’t as sweet.
- Pair spice with sweetness. Spice does not like tannin; it accentuates it.
- Make funky ingredients a part of a dish, not the main flavor.
Three Wines That Are Safe Bets
Dry Rosé - It has just enough acidity to pair with salads, enough fruit to match with spicy foods, and just enough tannin to pair with meat.
Champagne - It works because it’s low in alcohol so it doesn’t get in the way of salt. It’s off-dry, and its touch of sweetness helps it work with a wide array of food.
Barbera - It has lots of acidity and bright fruit, so it works with many foods.
When I asked Jeffrey what suggestions he has for vegetarian food and wine pairings he offered the following:
- mushrooms with Pinot Noir,
- artichokes with Grüner Veltliner, and
- roasted bell peppers with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Jeffrey’s sage advice: With food and wine pairing, just stop. Listen to your food. Listen to your wine. Ask yourself, why is this good together? Is it the acid? Is it the tannin? Learn from that.
Thanks Jeffrey, you make learning fun!
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