Spiced food and Aromatic wines

foto 3At the conclusion of our third wine and food pairing at Tommy e Sua Sorella in Mestre, Italy, we all smiled, thinkingthat the tasting was our best yet.  Focusing on the reason why certain foods pair better than others, I explained that most foods need to be paired with opposites.  For example, if a food is dry, then we need a moist wine.  So we decided for this dinner to chose one specific food trait- spice- that carried on throughout the meal.  Spiced food is typically paired with aromatic wines, or wines that are close in taste to the grape and often have a higher sugar content than other wines.  They pair well together because the sweetnessfoto1 cools the effect of heat that we feel in our mouths after eating something spicy.  There are four aromatic wines:  Malvasia, Moscat, Gewurztraminer and  Brachetto.  Many other wines, like Pinot bianco, Pinot grigio, Riesling, Prosecco, etc. are considered semi- aromatic.  While waiting for all of our guests to arrive, we offered small sandwiches of hummus and paprika and squares of scamorza cheese and pear pureè, dotted with pepper.  Prosecco, one of the semi-aromatic wines, was served with the food.  Once everyone sat, we presented the first plate, a warm bulgur salad with tuna and fresh ginger.  Ginger, when eaten alone, can be very spicy, so to cool it down I chose a Riesling from Francesco Montagna in the Oltrepò Pavese region of Italy.  It was fresh, citric and cool, slightly aromatic and mineral. foto 6 It paired perfectly, and was a great start to the night.  Next was monkfish cooked in curry and wrapped in a crespella (a crepe like pasta).  Pairing it with one of the most interesting wines of the night, a Gewurztraminer from Alsace by the vineyard Butterlin, worked out nicely, although, the strength and intensity of the wine overpowered that of the plate.  Adding a bit more curry helped balance the delicate plate and lycee smelling wine together.  The third and last plate was a sweet cous cous, cooked in sugar water and fresh orange juice then served with raisins, nuts and chunks of dark chocolate.  This interesting and filling plate was presented with a Moscato d’Asti, a typical sparkling wine from Piedmonte.  The wine called ‘Susy Dus,’ by Cascina Conti Bronda, was sweet and smooth with hints of vanilla and candied orange.  The slight show of bubbles helped the wine become a bit drier and not overly sweet.  They paired together well, focusing on the citrus of the orange and the vanilla spice.  Because sweets are always paired with sweet wine, we were able to use similarity pairing instead of opposite pairing.  Overall, the dinner was a success, and the clientele were pleased to see the tastes grow into each other.  Learning by food and drink is probably the best way to enjoy yourself, so if you haven’t come to one of our tastings yet, sign up for next months!

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