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How to perfectly pair food and wine


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How to perfectly pair food and wine

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You’ve got guests coming over for dinner and the menu is all planned – but what wines to serve? Choosing wine can be downright daunting, but these wine pairings make planning your dinner party a little easier

Food Wine Pairings

When it comes to choosing a wine, how many of us actually know which wine compliments which dish or ingredients? According to research done by Pays d’Oc IGP (the leader in French varietal wines), 41% of us Brits panic when deciding on a wine to accompany a meal. The research shows that the British love trying new things in the kitchen and cooking up a storm, with over a third of people trying exotic foods such as Korean, Middle Eastern, Spanish, Greek and North African. But Pays d’Oc IGP believe that our lack of knowledge of wine and food pairing could mean ruining the flavours.

Thankfully, Pays d’Oc IGP, the number one French wine exporter (last year they produced 800 million bottles), has teamed together with wine expert Jane Parkinson and French Michelin starred chef Eric Chavot (of Brasserie Chavot) to create ten beautiful food and wine pairings. Eric’s modern and unusual recipes incorporate ingredients like kale, sweet potatoes and avocados, and are perfectly matched with Jane’s wine recommendations.

Here are three of our favourite recipes along with the perfect wines to compliment each one, so you can host the perfect dinner party. Bon appetite!

1. Beetroot and blue cheese salad

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Beetroot and blue cheese salad, pair with:

Elegant Frog Viognier (White, 2014). Ripe roasted lemon aroma and with juicy peach flavours and a little white pepper spice. £8.00, from Sainsbury’s

Louis Max Pinot Noir (Red, 2013). Rich oaky nose and roasted beetroot with a hint of cumin and paprika. Drying and reasonably oaky with a black tea-flavoured finish. £7.60, from Wine 2 You

Serves: 4

Ingredients

» 450g cooked beetroot
» 80g blue cheese dressing (try BRIANNA’S true blue cheese)
» 
80g Stilton or Gorgonzola crumbs
» 40g lemon split dressing (see recipe below)
» 2tbsp finely sliced spring onions
» 1tbsp snipped chives
» Baguette or potato focaccia crouton
» Pinch of celery cress (if you can’t find this use a pinch of normal cress with mustard)
» Beetroot dressing (see recipe below)

Lemon split dressing ingredients (if you are short on time, use a drizzle of olive oil along with lemon juice, salt and pepper!)

» 125g Olive oil
» 75g Lemon oil
» 2 sprigs Lemon thyme
» 6 small leaves fresh Sage
» Peels of 1 lemon
» 25g White wine vinegar
» 25g White balsamic vinegar
» 150g Water
» ½ tsp Fine sea salt
» ½ tsp Caster sugar
» a pinch ground white peppercorn

Method

1. Gently warm the olive oil

2. When warm, add your herbs and lemon peels

3. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid or cling film and leave to cool and infuse on your worktop

4. Next day, pass your oil through a fine sieve

5. Add the lemon oil, vinegars, water and then season

Beetroot dressing ingredients

» 1.1kg beetroot
» 45g balsamic vinegar (Eric uses 8 year old balsamic)
» 35g Cabernet Sauvignon red wine vinegar
» 55g Sherry vinegar
» 75g Olive oil
» 65g Lemon split dressing
» Fine sea salt to taste
» Ground black pepper to taste

Method

6. Preheat the oven to 200°C / Fan 180°C / Gas 6

7. Wrap the washed beetroot individually in tin foil with a pinch of Maldon sea salt and bake for 1 ½ to 2 hours depending on the size

8. When cooked, using gloves, remove the foil and peel the beetroot while hot

9. Quarter into four to six or eight pieces depending on the size and dress whilst still hot with the vinegar marinade and seasoning

10. Add the remainder of the beetroot into the dressing while still hot, cover the bowl with cling film and leave to stand until the beetroot is tepid

11. Leave to cool at room temperature and refrigerate when cold

12. Remove from the fridge at least one-hour before serving and dress the salad

13. Plate in individual deep bowls, placing the beetroot first before spooning over some of the beetroot dressing, scattering the blue cheese crumbs over the top and drizzling some of the blue cheese dressing

14. Sprinkle the chives and spring onions on top with the croutons and celery cress

A note from Eric
You could apply the same recipe to any variety and size of beetroot, but personally, nothing beats a fantastic red beetroot when in season (the recipe above is sure to convert any of your friends). Don’t feel overwhelmed by the different vinegars, they play a magical role in the success of your salad and are all available in any good deli

2. Pea, feta and avocado salad

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Pea, feta and avocado salad, pair with:

Le Clandestin Sauvignon Blanc (White, 2014). Full-on Sauvignon Blanc-ness from start to finish, with freshly cut grass, peas and asparagus flavours. £7.60, from Wine 2 You

Louis Max Chardonnay from Climat Haute Vallée (White, 2014). Zesty and tangy with red apple crunchiness, it’s one of the freshest Chardonnays in the group. £7.94, from Matthew Clark

Serves: 4

Ingredients

» 100g Petit Pois
» 100g Broad beans
» 100g Cucumber
» 1 Avocado (quartered- you can dress the Avocado with a little lime juice, lemon juice, oil and season with fine sea salt and ground white pepper)
» 40g Spring onions (sliced)
» 200g Marinated feta – (supermarkets sell feta marinated in spices)
» A bunch of mint
» A bunch of chives
» A bunch of basil
» 1 Fresh red chilli, cut julienne
» Chilli flakes (to taste)
» A bunch of small basil leaves

Lemon split dressing ingredients

» 125g Olive oil
» 75g Lemon oil
» 2 sprigs Lemon thyme
» 6 small leaves Fresh sage
» Peel of 1 lemon
» 25g White wine vinegar
» 25g White balsamic vinegar
» 150g Water
» ½ tsp Fine sea salt
» ½ tsp Caster sugar
» A pinch ground white peppercorn

Method

1. Gently warm the olive oil

2. When warm, add your herbs and lemon peels

3. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid or cling film and leave to cool and infuse on your worktop

4. Next day, pass your oil through a fine sieve

5. Add the lemon oil, vinegars, water and then season

Green goddess dressing ingredients

» 90g Mayonnaise
» 45g Sour cream
» 45g Crème fraiche
» 30g Spring onions
» A bunch of basil
» A bunch of chopped chives
» A bunch of mint leaves
» A bunch of flat leaf parsley
» 25g Pickling syrup (use a mixture of honey and vinegar mixed together to make this)
» 1 Garlic clove
» 60g Avocado (chopped)
» 1 Finely chopped green chilli
» Fine sea salt to taste
» Ground black pepper to taste
» Olive oil to taste

Method for dressing

6. Pick and wash the herbs in iced water before draining and spinning in a salad spinner

7. Roughly chop the herbs with a knife and mix with all of the above ingredients, then add the seasoning

8. Blitz with a kitchen blender / food processor, adding a couple of ice cubes until smooth.

9. When done, check the seasoning, pass through a fine sieve and keep refrigerated until needed

Method

10. Drizzle the feta with a dash of lemon oil and sprinkle some black pepper on both sides, keep in the fridge until needed

11. If using frozen garden peas and frozen broad beans, blanch them together and drain immediately and then drizzle with a little lemon oil

12. Mix and refrigerate until needed

13. Dress and season your avocado as per above. Leave to macerate for a couple of minutes

14. When ready, mix your peas, with half of the herbs, some lemon split dressing and seasoning

15. Brush your plates with the green goddess dressing, and top with your pea salad, add chunks of crumbly feta, then with the avocado wedges and sprinkle the rest of the herbs and chilli flakes

Sea bream sashimi, soya honey dressing

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Sea bream sashimi, citrus, soya honey dressing, pair with:

Chapoutier, Marius -Vermentino, Terret (White, 2014). Lively with zesty grapefruit, a white pepper spice and a tangy sour freshness giving it a zippy, clean vibe. £7.46, from Cru World Wine

Pierrick Harang Wine, Cuvée Balthazar Viognier (White, 2014). Richer peach and apricot, on the nose. Tastes juicy and fresh while tense with acidity. Fresh and clean with a lingering apricot finish. Nicely done. £11.49, from Waitrose

Serves: 4

Ingredients

» 2 Sea bream fillets (You can get these scaled, filleted, pin boned and skinned by your local fishmonger)

Honey, citrus soya dressing ingredients

» 210g Fresh orange juice
» 1 pinch Red chilli flakes
» 60g Fresh lime juice
» 60g Fresh lemon juice
» 7g Lemon zest
» 7g Lime zest
» 5g Fresh grated ginger
» 60g Yuzu juice
» 110g Soya sauce
» 50g Olive oil
» 100g Clear honey

Method

1. Reduce the orange juice and chilli flakes in a saucepan the orange juice and chilli flakes to a syrupy consistencey in a saucepan and leave to cool

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and leave in the pan to infuse over night

3. Strain through a fine sieve and keep refrigerated until ready to use

Garnish ingredients

 » 3 Radishes (thinly sliced)
» 1 Red chilli (thinly sliced)
» 1 Spring onion
» A pinch of fresh coriander
» 1 Avocado (cut into wedges – you can dress these with a little lime juice, lemon juice, oil and season with fine sea salt and ground white pepper)

Tip: To keep everything fresh while you prepare the dish, store the thinly cut vegetables in ice cold water, this also helps the radishes to transform into beautiful little dish shapes

Method for preparation

4. Plate on small plates or in soup bowls

5. Start with the avocado on each plate, and then add the bream fillets

6. Spoon the citrus dressing generously over the bream before adding the garnish

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