Food and wine pairing can be as casual or as complicated as you make it. Maybe I can help you along with some general do’s and don’ts. The world of wine can be quite overwhelming. And it is.
Hopefully these little tidbits of information can help you gain an even better enjoyment of the whole pairing experience. And that’s exactly what it is — an experience, when done well.
This time, let’s talk about spice. Spice and high alcohol are not balanced. High alcohol will always crank up the heat levels of any dish. Personally for me, it makes my head explode. Wowza!
Just pass me a beer.
But in the wine world, this is when you pair with a sweeter wine. The residual sugar in the wine will calm the heat down, providing balance as a compliment. Sweet wines can be various varietals such as Vidal, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Musqué.
These wines are usually more viscous (thicker) because of the sugar that has been left behind. They pair perfectly with any kind of spice. Thai, curry and Mexican are perfect examples.
Now, anyone that thinks that sweet wines are not serious wines or sub standard wines are grossly mistaken. A winemaker that can produce a well-balanced, properly made sweet wine is a super star!
The art of knowing when to stop fermentation to preserve the natural sweetness of the wine is a gift. Anyone can dump sugar in a tank. But the real deal is golden and should be taken seriously.
Pay attention to the alcohol level on the bottle. Sweet wine should have a low percentage. This means it was made well … residual sugar is natural sugar.
Touché is a low alcohol blend with a fair bit of residual sugar left behind. Its sweetness will complement the heat of this curry dish.
High alcohol accentuates heat in food, making it an undesirable combination. This subtle sweetness will calm the spice of the cayenne and curry down and provide an excellent complement.
This style of wine pairs beautifully with spicy curries or Thai dishes. Try this recipe for a fun pairing night with your friends!
- 4 boneless chicken thighs
- 1 cup sliced sweet onion
- 1 potato (optional)
- 5 crushed garlic cloves
- 1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
- 2 tbsp. curry powder
- cayenne to taste (be careful!!!)
- 1 tbsp. cumin
- 2 tbsp. butter
- olive oil
- salt to taste
- 1 handful of spinach
- Cut up the chicken and potatoes into cubes
- In skillet, melt the butter. Add curry powder and cumin and cayenne until well blended
- Add the coconut milk and blend. Keep this mixture warm in a separate skillet.
- Sauté garlic and onion in the olive oil
- Add the cubed chicken. Once chicken starts to cook, add the potato
- Add the coconut milk mixture and bring entire mixture to the boil. Then lower to simmer. Cover
- Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Toss in the spinach.
- Serve over rice or egg noodles.
Top image by Nicole Klesy from Pixabay
All other photos provided by Barb DeJonge