What’s cookin’ at Bon Vivant: Perfect wine pairings

17 February 2020

Having good stemware, like Riedel’s Pinot Noir/Nebbiolo glass, can help bring out the best in your wines.  

By Hilary Van Loon

Perfect pairings typically refer to those magical partnerships between certain wines and their food soulmates. Champagne and caviar aren’t too shabby on their own, but when enjoyed together the dry effervescence paired with fatty, salty flavours combine symbiotically to refresh and delight the palate.

There are several well-known combinations of wine and food that are guaranteed palate pleasers, where the duet is greater than just the sum of its parts. Steak and Cabernet Sauvignon, blue cheese and vintage Port, Burgundy and boeuf Bourguignon are just a few of these celebrated interactions guaranteed to bring out the best in each other and your gustatory experience.

2020 has us seeing double and celebrating perfect pairings across the culinary spectrum.

One pairing that should not be overlooked when you want to highlight the best qualities of your favourite wine is your glassware. Sommeliers around the globe agree the best way to sip anything from plonk to perfection is in a clear, stemmed vessel made of glass or crystal with a bowl that tapers into a narrower opening. This shape emphasises the wine’s best physical qualities and maximises the experience for all the senses, from sight to smell to taste.

Today’s current iteration of the wine glass originated in Austria and the Riedel brand is still a benchmark against which all other glassware is measured. Whether you’re into Bordeaux, bubbles or brandy, there is a wine-specific glass that will partner perfectly.

If you’re not ready to commit to a full fleet of crystal glasses, Riedel’s Pinot Noir/Nebbiolo stemware is the most universal shape and is suitable for anything from fruity reds to crisp, acidic whites and is a great place to start when upgrading your wine glass collection.

Outdoor cooking
Another perfect pairing in Cayman’s cooler winter months is cooking and dining outdoors. According to Food & Wine Magazine, charcoal cooking and other smoking techniques are some of the biggest culinary trends to watch for in 2020.

With the growing popularity of komado-style grillers like the Big Green Egg, this is the perfect time of year to embrace cooking and dining outside.

Whether you’re new to outdoor cooking or a seasoned grill master, the most important tip for cooking with fire is resist the urge to use lighter fluid as it will compromise the taste of your food. Instead use an electric charcoal starter or a charcoal chimney, which uses paper to start the fire. Your patience will be rewarded with better flavours and a more relaxed outdoor dining experience.

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Hilary Van Loon is the retail operations manager at Bon Vivant in Camana Bay.

This article originally appeared in the February 2020 print edition of Camana Bay Times with the headline “What’s Cookin’ at Bon Vivant”.