Book for Wine/Food Pairings?
Can anyone recommend their favorite book for a foundational food and wine pairing education?
The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil has sort of been my go-to guide, but I find it lacking in the food department. It's sort of general.... this varietal goes very well with chilled seafood... something like that.
What I want is something that is more explanatory, for example, why certain things go well together, what common or contrasting flavor profiles can do to enhance one another.
While I understand there is no static answer to these things, I would love to have a more solid foundation from which to deviate in the future when I get better at it.
Hi everyone. Being a (hopefully not TOO annoyingly obsessed) pairing-addict for many years now, I had to weigh in and give my top recommendation to:
Andrea Immer's "Great Tastes Made Simple".
Mentioned here already, but I wanted to expand just a bit because it's been helpful, insightful and empowering well beyond my expectations. Certainly more of a science/reference book than, say, a cookbook with recipes and their respective wine pairings, it's filled with taste tables based on salty; sweet; bitter; heavy; light, etc. and explanations as to why certain pairings go beyond just "working", and actually elevate BOTH the food AND wine. Also, the index (greatly improved from her first press of G.W.M.S.) allows quick page references for looking up a particular wine maker, varietal, ingredient, or even just a "taste" and the suggested matches on the fly. I don't count myself as her biggest "TV" fan, but she's done her homework and is undoubtedly very knowledgeable on the harmony of pairings. As for her books, they are very well conceived and packed with information, and are written with a very casual and approachable style that is less serious and a lot more fun (which is as this subject should be!). OK, it doesn't cover EVERY wine or food on the planet. That would be nearly impossible. But for it's relatively small size, it sure covers a hell of a lot!
As Chicago Mike said, nothing beats sampling and experimenting for yourself to see what works best for your own palate. But, for like 15 or 20 bucks, the aforementioned book is practically free and will undoubtedly pay for itself within a week or two of enjoyment and successful- if not purely blissful- pairings.
And well, since I'm already singing her praises, check out her standard cookbook entitled "Everyday Dining With Wine". Her (and her husband's) original recipes; many are of the simple "weeknight" variety and all with great pairings (of course). It's by FAR my most used (and kitchen stained) cookbook over the past few years. SO many really good recipes (you'll want to share these- even the amazing cauliflower ones!), but the crispy-skinned, braised "Coq-au Riesling with Leeks" ALONE is worth the cost of the book!! She hit a friggin grand-slam with that one!
Happy pairings, all.
Food and Wine pairings is an issue I've been pursuing for many years.
At the end of the day, my advice is to CHECK ALL RESOURCES, and sample the flavor combinations for yourself!! There is wide variation on recommendations among these "experts" and some of the taste combinations that sound so great in print do not pan out in the real world.
One general guideline that isn't wildly off is to drink the wine that is native to the area the cuisine is coming from.... i.e. alsatian wine with alsatian food, etc.... but even this concept isn't infalliable and there are many cuisines for which there is no native wine....
I have a nice wine-food pairing book that's actually a cookbook.
The Wine Lover's Cookbook: Great Recipes for the Perfect Glass of Wine (by Sid Goldstein)
It's a bit California-centric for my taste, and the recipes are bit fussy, but the best part of the book is a page for each wine type that explains the flavor profile of the varietal and the food flavors that compliment it. This info has been really helpful as I plan wine-tasting dinners.
I would love to see a sequel that includes rose, malbec, tempranillo, and other wonderful wine varietals.
[EDITED TO ADD] Oh, I see that Bill Hunt already mentioned this cookbook. And I see that there's another book by this author, which I need to check out!
When I received the second one, my first thought was that it was a duplicate. My wife quickly pointed out that it was installment #2. Upon opening it, we found a recipe that came into use immediately, like the next day.
As an aside, especially as it's not a book: if one is near Windsor, CA, Sonoma, the Kendall-Jackson winery has a wonderful "sensory garden," that does a marvelous job of showing off complimentary flavors and affinities. They also have a small working vineyard, set up by a local AG department in a high school, I think, which has a few dozen varietals planted. They do not harvest this vineyard, but leave the grapes, so people can taste the grapes, and see them growing. Obviously, they are only on the vine from about late August, until about February, so it's a bit seasonal. Regardless of what one thinks of their wines, these two exhibits are well worth the stop, plus they do offer tastings of a lot of their "portfolio" wines.
Not familiar with this one. Since most of my dinners are based on wine/food pairings, I'll grab a copy. One can never have too many such books for reference. However, I've also found that a full cellar and a pre-tasting are great, as well. I find that we often come up with a dish and first grab the "recommended," or our perception of, as a starting point, then find that because of a sauce, condiment, etc. have to move on to find a "perfect" pairing. This is not all bad, as we get to tweak both the dish(es) and the pairing. By the time that the guests arrive, we have something that they will find close to perfection - at least that is the intent.
OK, I just ordered my copy, along with a few others. Once I've had time to digest these, I'll possibly be in a position to recommend even more.
I've got a few that I go to constantly. While they are more "cookbooks," than wine books, but are filled with good starting info for food and wine pairing:
"The Vintner's Table Cookbook," Mary Evely, FRP, ISBN 0-9658718-0-0
"Sharing the Vineyard Table," Carolyn Wente and Kimball Jones, Ten Speed Press, ISBN 1-558008-044-8
"The Wine Lover's Cookbook," Sid Goldstein, Chronicle Books, ISBN 0-8118-2071-8, and
"The Wine Lover Cooks with Wine," Sid Goldstein, Chronicle Books, ISBN 10-0-8118-3022-5
Andrea Immer's "Great Wine Made Simple," covers quite a few food affinities, but concentrates far more on the wine.