Matching food and wine is our favourite game. For us, it is a form of art based on science (promise, we will not go into this) mixed together to elevate your dining experience to new heights. Food and wine can be best friends or worst enemies, depending on how you combine them together. A joke in the wine world is this: Why do marriages often end with a divorce? Because newly-weds serve at their wedding champagne and cake – one of the most incompatible matches ever.
How to master food and wine pairing
The main concept behind pairing is that each element in food and wine interacts with each other, and together, as a perfect match, they multiply each other’s tastes, qualities and textures, sending your taste buds to heaven! They even bring to light new traits, otherwise hidden if consumed separately.
No one would argue that liking or not a specific combination of wine and food is a matter of personal taste. Nevertheless, there are a few suggestions to follow if you’d like to embark on a delicious journey of contrast and harmony:
- Same “weight”: try to find each other’s balanced match. For a hearty meal better choose a full-bodied wine. Such wine for a light meal would be overwhelming, so it needs a more delicate wine on its side.
- Contrast can be as delightful as harmony. For example, when we prepare fatty foods. A full-bodied Chardonnay lives up to the richness of a creamy, white sauce. A Champagne on the other had, full of acidity and bubbles, will cut through the thickness of the cream and refresh your palate.
- Create a progressive wine pairing menu. Start with subtle tastes to wake up your taste buds and continue gradually, reaching the peak with the main dish and wine combination, and finishing off nicely with dessert paired with sweet wine.
- Spiciness. Spicy food goes nicely with off-dry wines, low in alcohol, that tame any spicy notes.
- Sweetness. When you pair wine with desserts or meals with sweet elements, like pork with sun-dried fruit, make sure the wine is sweeter than the food, otherwise it will taste bland.
- Acidity and salt. Best friends for ever. Like oysters and Sauvignon Blanc.
These are a few ideas just to start with. But remember, you are the one who makes the rules of the game! Wine pairing with similar foods is a playful gastronomic experience that can make your dinner with friends and family very enjoyable and fun. Experiment with various flavours and wine styles, eg do different wine pairings with pizza or steak, and “fight” over which one is the best. Discover even unusual combinations and create your own personal Food & Wine “portfolio”.
How to pair Greek cuisine with wine for your ultimate enjoyment
There’s always one rule we love to follow: What grows together, goes together.
So, let’s meet our favourite traditional Greek recipes, along with their ultimate Greek wine love affairs:
Greek salad. A bounty of fresh, seasonal vegetables, Greek salad is the inarguable darling of Greek summer. Full of tomatoes, it goes easily with any light rose. We choose to enjoy it with aromatic and light Moschofilero, as the perfect start to wake up our palate to a progressive menu on the way.
Spanakopita (spinach and cheese pie). Eaten with fresh, unoaked whites. We will try it with a wine from Athens, specifically from the Attica region. Savvatiano lives up to the occasion, with its citrus and herbal notes.
Saganaki (crispy, fried cheese), served with lemon. Needs a wine high in acidity, that can substitute the lemon and “save” the nicely made crust from soaking. Robola of Kefalonia is our n.1 Greek white wine choice.
Ladera. A whole category of Greek foods, meaning vegetable-based dishes with olive oil and mainly tomato sauce. Any rose would do, but our most beloved combination by far is Limniona. A wine with finesse and elegance that can challenge any Pinot Noir on its way.
Fish. Greeks love pan-frying small fish like red mullets and grill bigger ones, eg gilt-head bream or red porgy. Assyrtiko of Santorini can withstand any challenge.
Sunday’s lunch. Soutzoukakia. A classic Greek recipe – meatballs in sweet-spiced tomato sauce. Good friends with the Greek red wine Xinomavro, as its high acidity is a good fit for the sauce, its medium to high tannins perfect for protein.
Greek comfort. Dishes that bring Greeks back home again and again, are their mum’s moussaka (eggplant-based) or pastitsio (pasta-based) dishes, with minced meat and bechamel sauce on top). Greek red wine Agiorgitiko will make you say OPA!
Epitome of deliciousness. Greek lamb. Don’t be intimidated. In every corner of Greece they know how to make it. Whether roasted on a spit since the crack of dawn or slow cooked with herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, laurel) till it falls off the bone. Now it’s time to unveil our true Greek spirit! The ultimate Greek food and wine experience is to pair lamb with new age Retsina. A resinous Greek wine with strong, earthy flavour – from Savvatiano or Assyrtiko varieties.
Desserts. Probably you only know Greek baklava as our national pastry, but there’s a lot more than that, just to name a few: Galaktoboureko (Greek fillo-custard pie), portokalopita (syrupy orange cake), ekmek kataifi (cream with shredded phyllo dough), and so on. Choose a sweet Greek wine like Vinsanto of Santorini, made of sun-dried grapes, or the great value for money Muscat of Samos, from late-harvested grapes or fortified.
Craving for a great Greek food and wine experience? Send us your message and we will set the table with the finest Greek wines and foods.