We all know that carefully choosing which food and wine should go together is important, but do you know why?
We have determined that there are five key principles when combining food and wine: cleansing, complementing, paralleling, counter- balancing and enhancing.
Considering these options will help you understand why you are matching food and wine in the first place and also give you a basis to know if your matching is successful.
A rich, creamy, spicy or heavily flavoured meal can tire or overwhelm the palate very quickly. Introducing a wine with crisp acidity will cleanse the palate between mouthfuls, keeping the meal fresh and enjoyable.
When you are eating a dish with a specific flavour, for example strawberries, and then you drink a wine that also expresses this flavour, e.g. a sparkling rosé, the connection between the complementary flavour in both the food and the wine accentuates that flavour and gives it an added dimension.
When a recipe actually contains some wine as an ingredient, and you consume the same wine in a glass, at the same time – this is a parallel match. For example, cava (sparkling wine from Spain) sorbet, moscato (sweet sparkling wine from Italy) cupcakes, white wine sauce, etc. In these cases, the bridge between the food and wine is very discernible.
If a food or wine displays an extreme of flavour or aroma, a pairing partner can counterbalance the intensity, creating a sense of equilibrium and harmony.
The ultimate result of pairing is when the marriage of the food and wine brings the flavours to a new level that neither element could achieve alone, and creates a whole new flavour. An excellent example of this is champagne and oysters.