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Jul 19, 2004 03:50 AM

Durian and Wine

  • d

On Friday July 16 at the Singapore Marriot Hotel, I was the first gourmet in the world to match durian with wine, namely Veuve Clicquot Rose Reserve 1997. it was really fun and despite the horror stories and old wives'tales of durian and alcohol being a fatal combination, all of us survived. I hope this will prove once and for all that durian can not only be matched with wine but it is NOt a fatal combination. A great time was had by all in the Legacy Suite of the Marriott at the special Mooncake and Wine pairing Event. Durian is a very popular tropical fruit known as the King of Fruits and the Fruit of Kings in Asia with a really powerful perfume beloved by many and feared by some.
I also matched Lotus seed and Coffee mooncake with S A Pruem Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling 1999 Spaetlese QmP and Walnut and Orange mooncake with Veuve Clicquot Demi-sec cahampagne and Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d'Asti DOCG 2002 from Peidmont in Italy.
For Food and Wine I believe we should always think out of the box and follow the motto of the SAS - Who Dares Wins!!! Bon appetit!

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  1. Sorry... but you aren't the first... but congatualions on the attempt, some folks will try any food / wine combination. I have heard that durian is known to pair well with some ports and sherrys due to durian having port / sherry undertones. Also white wines, sparkling or not, but the ones that are a bit buttery seem to go better. And I have had a durian desert which had a desert wine in it and served with it too. Also there are durian wines, durian wine coolers, and durian "martinis".

    The secret to the durian / alcohol match is to have a durian that is just at the ripe point where the flavor is sweet, but the odor hasn't started to become too strong. That's why frozen durian is much more palatable than fresh.

    The only thing that really doen't go with durian is beer. Having durian repeat on you is a most annoying experience, one I don't need to have again.

    1. Be a real hero; what wine would you pair with prahok?

      7 Replies
      1. re: Curt

        Yeh, but prahok isn't a food, it's an ingredient like other fish sauces or shrimp pastes. The finished dish could be wine or beer friendly.

        1. re: The Rogue

          Tell a Cambodian it isn't food.
          I've seen them use it like guacamole!

          1. re: Curt

            Hmmm... well I guess I will try it like that in the Fall when I am there. My teeth are clenched, toes are curling and my eyes bulging with brows raised at the thought.

            1. re: The Rogue

              I was visiting my friends, members of the local donut mafia, and the ladies were sitting around the kitchen table, munching the stuff.
              I didn't see if the were dippng anything besides their fingers; I just saw them passing the jar around.
              The stench was so bad that I had to stay outside!

        2. re: Curt
          Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet

          Dear Curt,
          What is Prahok? It sounds like a Thai food of some kind?
          The Travelling Gourmet

          1. re: Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet

            I'm sure Curt can provide us with a ton of more indepth info but to start, prahok is a Cambodian preserved fish paste. It is sometimes called fish cheese. It's made by crushing up river fish and adding salt. Many prahok makers crush it the traditional way like grapes in barrels with their feet. It is left out in the sun for a day and then put in jars. It sits for at least three weeks but preferably 1-3 years. Supposedly larger fish make a better product than smaller ones. I had only heard of it as an ingredient in cooked dishes but it can also be used like a dipping sauce with veggies or bread. Usually cooked first but as mentioned I guess it can be used straight from the jar. Thais make several versions as well, both their own style and Cambodian style. It is kind of greyish looking and finely crushed.

            I have only heard of it since I have never had Cambodian food. It is supposed to add an undertone that helps define the Cambodian taste. I look forward to trying it since I enjoy dishes that use fish and shrimp sauce and shrimp paste in small quantities. I haven't yet developed a taste for them when used heavily.

            1. re: The Rogue

              Prahok serves a couple of purposes. Firstly it adds a strong flavour to food that doesn't always have a lot of other spices. Secondly, it is used to add salt.
              Importantly, it is preserved, so it will last all year. During lean times people will often have it alone with rice. The bonus is that it's loaded with vitamins and minerals, just like Thai and Vietnamese fish sauce. Laotians, and the people of Issan in northeastern Thailand, eat something very similar to prahok, called 'paa dek'.
              I can only take it in very small amounts.

        3. I think the myth has more to do with higher alcohol (40+%) content beverages like cognac, whiskey etc as opposed to wines.