food pairings

food pairings

Wine and food is the process of pairing food with wine to enhance the dining experience. In many cultures, wine has a long history as a staple at the table, and in some ways both a region's viticultural and culinary traditions have evolved over the years. Instead of following a set of rules, local cuisines were simply paired with local wines. The modern "art" of food pairing is a relatively new phenomenon, fueling a book and media industry with guidelines for pairing specific foods and wines. In the restaurant industry, sommeliers are often present to make recommendations for the guest. The main concept behind pairings is that certain elements (like texture and taste) in food and wine interact with each other, and finding the right combination of these elements will make the overall dining experience more enjoyable. However, taste and enjoyment are very subjective and what may be a perfect "textbook" for one taster might be less enjoyable for another.

While there are many books, magazines, and websites with detailed guidelines on how to pair food and wine, most food and wine experts believe that the most fundamental element in food and wine pairing is striking the balance between the "weight" of food and wine to understand weight (or body) of wine. Heavy, robust wines like Cabernet Sauvignon can overwhelm a light, tender dish like a quiche, while light wines like Welschriesling are equally overwhelmed by a hearty stew. Beyond weight, flavors and textures can be contrasted or complemented. From there, a food-wine pairing can also consider the wine's sugars, acidity, alcohol, and tannins, and how to accentuate or minimize them in conjunction with specific foods.