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Discover how to pair international wines & food

Here in Spain there has been a boom in recipes using ingredients imported from around the world. So let us think about how to combine wines from around the world with the food we eat.

Wine is an essential ingredient to make a meal complete.  It is not necessary to be a Sommelier to choose the right wine for your dish in the same way you don’t have to be Ferran Adria to cook wholesome, enjoyable food for family and friends.   When planning a dinner or lunch think about the wine in the same way you would to any of the other key ingredients.  When you go shopping for the ingredients do you pick up the first piece of meat you see? Probably not.  Do you grab any old vegetables or do you like to check them for ripeness? When you season the dish do you just chuck in some herbs and spices and hope for the best? If you do, I would suggest that will not give the best results.

TheWinePlace.es is about discovering new sensations and broadening horizons.  So in the next series of WineBlogs I am going to write about and give some suggestions on how to combine wines from around the world with food.  Nowadays, it is now much easier to find ingredients and spices that not that long ago were only available in the ethnic or immigrant stores.  With a little time and thought you can add great variety to your food.  For example, fresh ginger is available nearly everywhere (adding a touch of fresh ginger can give a lift to many dishes), curry powder, fresh green and red chilies, coconut milk are also much more widely available and found in many kitchens.

To begin we need to understand the basics of what to bear in mind when combining wine and food.  It is helpful to think about your dish in three different ways: creaminess/acidity, fattiness/leanness, and intensity of flavours.

A good cut of steak with a cream sauce, for example, would be a very intense, fatty, creamy dish.  On the other hand, a salad with a citrus dressing would be a medium intensity, lean, acidic dish. In some cases you will find yourself wanting to match like with like (acidic foods like acidic wines, generally), but occasionally you will find yourself surprised by matching opposites (slightly sweet wines match nicely to spicier dishes).

This week’s dish, to demonstrate how to combine wine and food, is very simple, Spaghetti with Chicken and Mushrooms.  You can follow the recipe here using this link, it looks great and like most of Jamie Oliver’s dishes very easy and straightforward to make.



So which wine should we choose to combine a creamy dish of Chicken, mushrooms and pasta?  This is a medium intensity, creamy dish so I would want a wine that has a touch of acidity to cut through the acidity and enhance the flavours of the dish.  Jealous Sisters Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand has a delicious fresh zippiness that would work well with this dish (image of wine).

Let me know how you combine food with wine or any questions that you may have.

Now I feel hungry!

Written by

I am a Northern Irishman based in Valencia. My career in wine began more than three decades ago, in London. I am the founder of TheWinePlace.es, an online store, where wine enthusiasts can enjoy a selection of international wines and Verde Marte, a company dedicated to exporting Spanish wines. Also, Thewineplace.courses, an "approved program provider" of the courses of the prestigious WSET. I share my passion for wines through my media work writing weekly columns for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo and 5 Barricas, an online wine magazine.

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