Odd Pairings

February 13, 2011 11:30 am - Posted by Jody in Drink

They say love is in the eye of the beholder and who are we to argue. A quick look around any restaurant and you’ll see an astonishing array of weird and marvelous couples proving that other old adage that opposites attract. So if people from such different backgrounds can hook up and make it work what about food and wines that seem to contrast rather than complement?

Traditionally wine pairing has followed simple rules such as match likes with likes, add sweet wine to sweet deserts or serve bold wines to cut through big meat dishes. But is this really all there is to know with respect to matchmaking food and wine? Of course not, and let me show you why?

First off, wine pairing is an art and not a science so that the only rule that applies is, well there are no rules. Sure there are guidelines and logical practices, but wine pairing is more like a blind date than a stable marriage, you never really know how things are going to go and what’s going to work.

So without further ado here is a short list of some of our favorite non-traditional wine pairings

Goldfish crackers & Riesling – I love this one. The cheddary crunch of the goldfish snacks accent the light style and residual sweetness of a Riesling. In a similar way I also like combining salted peanuts or even popcorn with bubbly. In Thailand the theaters serve alcohol and so there is something decadently fun about having a bag of popcorn and a sweet Italian Prosecco or a tart and dry Champagne. Trust me it makes any Rob Schneider movie funny. Ok maybe not any of his movies, but it is a nice pairing.

Egg rolls and Pinot Grigio. Yep this is a favorite of a Sommelier we met in Hong Kong. I tried it and he’s right. The oil and fresh veggies of the egg roll work perfectly with a typical Pinot Grigio. For desert try pairing a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup with a Cabernet Sauvignon. The king of red grapes’ high tannins and complex fruits work well with the peanut buttery goodness of the snack. It tastes like a PB&J sandwich.

Next up how about Asparagus and Sauvignon Blanc? Both taste grassy and earthy and both complement each other’s unique flavors. Or what about eggs and a Pinot Noir? They work well together as the Pinot’s fruit and spice helps make the eggs come alive. Think of it as Oeuf and Burgundy and it sounds like a much more sophisticated meal.

When we were in Argentina we tried fish tacos with a Torrontes, a fruity, floral and dry white wine varietal. The delicate wine stood up nicely to the hot spicy tacos and complemented the heavy use of lime juice on the meat.  It shouldn’t have worked but it did, just like ginger bread and Gewurztraminer proved to be a nice pairing and hot dogs and a Dry Rose have become a new fav.

One thing I have learned over the years is that you can’t predict another person’s taste in partners or in pairings. And so attraction and taste really is a truly personal matter and if you like something or someone, who are we to judge? I say enjoy and go for it.

Ok that’s it for me, now it is your turn. What are some of your most surprising food and wine pairings?

27 Responses to “Odd Pairings”

  1. Aaron loves cheese says:

    Have to try goldfish crackers and riesling it sounds like a brilliant idea. I like blue cheese and lambrusco, the low alcohol Italian white. Surprisingly the two work and I don’t get that metallic taste like I might with some reds.

    I also love olives and rosé. They’ll tell you olives can’t be paired, but they lie.

  2. Sweet Izzy says:

    Chardonnay and Haagen-Dazs, after any problems with a man, it is my comfort pairing.

  3. Çağan says:

    In Turkey we eat many meals of seafood and so the rule is to only serve it with white wine. But I find if the fish is strong, reds won’t give you the iron or bitter taste. We make hearty seafood stews and a nice Barbera or Cab Franc is delicious.

  4. candy says:

    gummy bears and viognier and for a real feast nothing beats taco bell and malbec

    love this blog

  5. Photographer Pete says:

    You always have the best photos, they’re very original and funny. Love the beauty and the geek thing. Congrats to your art director.

  6. Addison says:

    Mac & cheese with red wine brings out the zing in the cheese!

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  8. Jody says:

    All good suggestions. Addison Bruce Cakebread from Cakebread Cellars in Napa said on our show he makes wine,”to be enjoyed with Mac and cheese on a Tuesday night,” so you’re in good company.

    How about a lemon tart and Viognier? We just had a twitter follower tweet us that, “this is the most underrated pairing in the world,” I’d have never thought of it.

  9. Jay! says:

    Champagne & potato chips.



  10. Roberta says:

    McDonald’s french fries and Rosemont shiraz

  11. ewa says:

    BRILLIANT ideas, just dont know about the goldfish crackers and riesling …ugh… that doesnt sound right. maybe because it a kiddy snack. any ideas what goes with rice crispies? 🙂

  12. steve says:

    Ewa that’s easy, rice crispie squares and a Chenin Blanc, you want that crispness of the wine to work with the marshmellows

  13. aamal says:

    Merlot and Mondays

  14. ewa says:

    hey Steve, I like your logic 🙂 I’ll be sure to take a bottle of Chenin Blanc next time we’re camping or are at a cottage! Afterall, it is sort of melted..fused.. marshmallows we’re talking about so that should be just perfect by the campfire :). and as long as the kidos dont figure that out 🙂

  15. Roland Hulme says:

    Fried chicken and sauvignon blanc is my favorite! They go together beautifully, if unexpectedly!

  16. Ms lalonde says:

    Sangria and Blood Pudding – a right Irish feast

  17. Sexy Kit says:

    Mr Roland in Phukett we have fried fish with sauv blanc and it is very nice. But it must be from New Zealand. Also try spicy green curry and a white zin, very refreshing.

  18. Warsaw says:

    Ms lalonde try Sangria with Kielbasa, it’s even nicer or my most enjoyed demented pairing, American Cabernet with Iranian Lamb, it’s my world peace feast.

  19. Ronny says:

    Piat d’Or and Shame

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  21. Jody says:

    Thanks all for your great suggestions. I have to say Warsaw American Cab and Iranian lamb seems like a nice gesture. Also Ronny, your comment made our entire WP team laugh out loud.

  22. lovekrakow says:

    are you kidding you wanna pair up Sangria and kielbasa? LOL .. kielbsa only goes with good polish vodka my friend!

  23. Sarah S says:

    hello!, First time poster and excited to be a part of the discussion!

  24. Jody says:

    Welcome Sarah S. Lovekrakow Poland certainly makes wonderful vodka but maybe you should try the sausage and sangria suggestion, you never know what you’ll like 🙂

  25. megan says:

    Twisties Chicken flavour and an ice cold zinfandel.

  26. Lovekrakow says:

    Ok will do and let you know Jody. You’re absolutely right, you never know what you like until you try 🙂

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