Pairings | Beer & cider
Top food pairings for cider
Cider seems to be on the verge of going through the same quality revolution as beer did a few years ago. In the last 12 months I’ve tasted more interesting ciders than I have in the last 12 years.
The best wine and beer pairings for pizza
Should you drink wine or beer with pizza? No rights or wrongs, obviously but here are a few thoughts which might encourage you to experiment.
What wines (and other drinks) pair best with noodles?
If you’re wondering what to drink with noodles you need to think about the way and the flavours with which they’re cooked rather than the fact that they’re noodles. (Yes, I know pasta counts as noodles too but I’m thinking more of Asian recipes
Which beer pairs best with the Thanksgiving feast? What the experts say
You’ve probably got your Thanksgiving wine sorted but what about a beer? If you don’t drink it yourself it may not be something you've given much thought to but in fact beer makes just as good a partner for the myriad different flavours of the typical Thanksgiving feast as wine.
Beer and Cheese: my 5 favourite pairings
Beer blogger Steve Lamond has been matching beer and cheese for the past seven years and has compiled an invaluable guide on his blog Beers I’ve Known. Hare are his 5 all-time favourites which include some cracking combinations.
How to pair beer and food
I was recently asked the question: "What am i looking for when matching beer and food? Do I want a beer with a similar taste or should I be looking for a contrast?"
Food pairings for wheat beer II - hefeweizen, dunkelweizen and other German-style wheat beers
German wheat beers are sufficiently different from Belgian wheat beers to merit a separate post - so what are the best food matches for hefeweizen with their striking banana and clove flavours?
10 food and beer pairings that just don't work - and 10 alternatives that do!
People carp about food and beer pairings, griping that they're just made up pretentions that have no right being associated with something as inclusive and democratic as beer, writes Stephen Beaumont
Beer and food pairing is getting big in the states
Having written a book on beer and food matching and cooking with beer last year (An Appetite for Ale) it’s been heartening to see the growing interest in the subject, especially in the states.
Food pairings for wheat beer I: witbiers (bières blanches) and lighter wheat beers
Wheat beers are fabulously flexible when it comes to food matching - the beer world’s equivalent of a crisp white wine.
5 great beer pairings for roast turkey
Even those who normally drink beer feel the need to put a bottle of red wine on the table at Christmas* but beer is actually just as good, if not a better accompaniment for turkey.
Beer - and whiskey - pairing at L Mulligan Grocer
When I was in Dublin a few weeks ago I ate at a pub called L Mulligan Grocer which had been recommended on Twitter by a number of locals. I expected it to be a great hangout - most Dublin pubs are - but not that it would have a strikingly original approach to food and drink pairing
Which wines - or beers - pair best with cooked cheese?
Cheese and wine is a notorious minefield but is it any easier when the cheese is cooked? See my suggestions to match Mark Hix's delicious recipes in the Independent today:
The best wine and beer pairings for steak pie
As with many other pairings the best match for steak pie depends how you cook it and whether the sauce includes beer, stock or wine
Beer and food pairing at Meantime
It sometimes seems like there’s a Groundhog Day element to beer and food matching. Everyone gets excited about it then we all go back to square one and rediscover it again.
Wine, beer and other pairings with Mexican food
The thing you need to ask yourself when you’re wondering which wine - or other drink - to pair with Mexican food is what kind of Mexican. Authentic Mexican or Tex Mex?
Which wines and beers pair best with mushrooms?
If you think of the ingredients that show off a great wine mushrooms would have to be near the top of the list.
Some top food pairings for pear cider and perry
Pear cider - also known as perry - has a different taste from apple cider. It’s generally lighter, drier and more fragrant, a better match for delicate ingredients like fish.
5 wine and beer pairings for shepherd’s pie
You’ll always find people argue about shepherd’s pie but in my view it should be made with lamb rather than beef (that’s cottage pie) and with very little, if any tomato - apart from maybe a dash of ketchup for sweetness.
The best wine and beer pairings for mussels/moules
Just as with every other ingredient the ideal pairing for mussels depends how you cook them, starting with the classic moules marinières.
Some exciting drink pairings for cheese
We automatically think of matching wine and cheese or beer and cheese but there are many drinks that work just as well and can give a real ‘wow factor’ to your cheeseboard.
8 great food pairings for stout and porter
Although there are obviously differences between the two types of beer, dark stouts and porters tend to pair with similar types of food. Here are my top matches ...
What wine to pair with goose
If you’ve decided to serve goose rather than turkey this Christmas you’ve already opted to be adventurous. So you could arguably be adventurous about your wine (or other drink) pairing too.
The best wine pairings for partridge
I sometimes think partridge is my favourite game bird - less full-on and ‘gamey’ than pheasant, more subtle and delicate than chicken. But what wine should you drink with it?
What to pair with artisanal cheddar?
The type of artisanal cheddar I was writing about yesterday - mature, full-flavoured, unpasteurised - isn’t the easiest cheese to match with wine.
10 different drinks to pair with smoked salmon
Smoked salmon is most commonly associated with champagne but in fact it goes with many other wines as well as with beer, whisky and vodka.
What to pair with Coronation chicken?
Coronation chicken is an obvious choice for any Royal occasion but what wine - or beer - should you pair with it?
6 of the best drinks to pair with tacos
Mexican restaurants have been on a roll lately so tacos are much more widely available than they used to be in the UK.
5 great pairings for an IPA
Of course it depends what type of IPA or India pale ale you're talking about. A relatively light style will lead you in a different direction from a huge, hoppy double IPA, but these I think would be my top five . . .
Wines to pair with fennel
Fennel is one of the handful of vegetables that can influence a main course pairing - almost always for the better. Its aniseed flavour seems to have a pronounced affinity with many wines, especially whites. Here are some suggested matches with recipes that two British chefs have published this weekend - Gordon Ramsay in the Times and Skye Gyngell in the Independent on Sunday.
How to pair wine with an authentic Indian meal
Of all the different aspects of wine and food matching I write about, wine and Indian food is the most controversial. What type of wine works best, and indeed whether you should drink wine at all is the subject of endlessly heated exchanges. The subject has recently come up again with the introduction of a number of wines that are specifically designed to go with spicy food. Was this, at last, the solution?
Wine pairings for pumpkin pie
I have a bit of a problem with pumpkin pie. I'm not a big fan of pumpkin and I don't have a massively sweet tooth which makes the thought of partnering it with a sweet wine a bit of a killer. But I know I'm in a minority and with Thanksgiving coming up on Thursday here are my top picks:
6 of the best pairings for chilli con carne
Like many popular dishes chilli con carne has many different versions - some mild and child-friendly, others much more spicy and assertive and often a little smokey.
The best pairings for apple desserts
Apple tarts are one of the most flattering desserts to match with sweet wines but what do you drink with other apple-based desserts?
Which wine pairs best with tomatoes?
Tomatoes are generally held to be a problem for wine but as Jane McQuitty robustly puts it in The Times today - nonsense!
How beer and food matching is moving centre stage
Those of us who have been writing about beer and food for a while have seen many false dawns in the UK - breweries positioning their beers as perfect for different kinds of food, competitions to find the best beer for British staples such as fish and chips, Indian restaurants offering beer pairing menus . . . there was no lack of ingenuity but it didn’t quite take off. But with the number of events and initiatives taking place this summer it really looks as if beer and food pairing has reached a tipping point.
Which beer to drink on New Year’s Eve?
If you’re planning to toast the new year with a beer rather than a glass of champagne which one should it be? A quick Twitter survey revealed a whole raft of interesting options
Four (now five!) great craft beer events coming up
One of the most welcome aspects of the craft beer movement is a new wave of beer events that involve learning about and trying different beers rather just than knocking them back in quantity (well, that too but it’s not the main focus . . . ). And they involve food - proper food (hallelujah!)
A beer dinner in the heart of Paris shows how the French are taking to craft beer
Lotte Peplow sees American craft brewers persuade the French that wine is not the only thing to drink with a meal ....
Why the Italian craft beer scene is so exciting
Rome-based food and drink blogger Katie Parla shares her enthusiasm for her adopted country's innovative beers
Cheese and cider matching revisited
When you think how well apples go with cheese it’s amazing that cider isn’t the automatic go-to for a cheese board but as we discovered at Cheese School* earlier this month some work better than others with particular styles of cheese.
Is cider more food-friendly than wine?
Susanna Forbes of Drink Britain reports on a vigorously fought contest over dinner at The Thatchers Arms near Colchester last month
Craft beer bars in Bristol
When I heard earlier this year that four craft beer bars were due to open in Bristol by the end of the year I was more than a touch sceptical. Now it seems my home town has been invaded by them.
American beers at Kitty Fisher's
The American Brewers Association chose uber-cool Kitty Fisher's in Shepherd Market, Mayfair for their annual lunch for British beer writers this week. Sophie Atherton reports on the outcome.
What's the best match for a barbecue?
Should it be wine or beer - or even a cocktail? Last year I asked the Twitter community what their favourite barbecue bevvy was and this is what they came up with . . .
Italian beer and food matching at Tozi
Sophie Atherton reports on the introduction of a new range of 'birra artigianale' (craft beer) at ciccetti restaurant, Tozi.
Which beers are best for Burns’ Night?
Although we naturally think of drinking whisky on Burns’ Night, beer is just as appropriate a pairing, especially for haggis. And with Scottish beers like Brewdog and Innis & Gunn in wide distribution it’s not too hard to find a homegrown one.
Little Pomona Old Man & The Bee: an exciting new cider
With the rise and rise of craft beer quality cider has been somewhat eclipsed of late but this beautifully made - and packaged - cider deserves a place on everyone’s dinner table.
10 great beer and food matches for summer
We all know a beer goes down well with a ploughmans and that it’s a great drink to wash down a barbecue but here are 10 more unusual pairings which should liven up your summer drinking.
Does craft beer suit posh food?
Despite many attempts to introduce beer lists in Michelin-starred restaurants, customers still don’t seem to want to drink it on a special occasion. Are they misguided or are restaurateurs wimping out?
How to organise a beer and cheese tasting
Today my son Will and I did an artisan cheese and craft beer tasting at the Great British Beer Festival to promote our new book An Appetite for Ale (due out at the end of September. Hint.) It seemed to go down well so I thought it might be something you’d enjoy trying at home with your friends.
Why are beer drinkers so grumpy?
Whenever I write about beer in my Guardian column - which is not that often and in a minute you’ll see why - there’s a stream of snide and sarcastic comments. Far more than I ever get for wine
Pairing beer with dessert
If you were going to introduce someone to beer the last course you’d probably think of would be a dessert but as I discovered at a beer and pudding matching session at Brown’s Hotel in London this week it can be a surprisingly successful combination.
Apricot pancakes and apricot (or peach) beer
Pancakes and beer might not sound like the most obvious of combinations but as with other flour-based foods such as sandwiches or pies they work together remarkably well. Especially, as I discovered when I was writing my food and beer book An Appetite for Ale last year, fruit-filled pancakes and fruit beers.
Cider Find: Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider
A departure this week - a cider not a wine - and an American cider at that. I tasted it in Oddbins at the end of a wine tasting and was really blown away by it
Westcombe cheddar and apple pie and Blenheim Superb dessert cider
Last week we had one of our periodic Cheese Schools - an event where we explore the best artisanal British cheeses and pair different drinks with them. A regular feature is a beer vs wine ‘smackdown’ but I sneaked in this amazing Blenheim Superb dessert cider* from Once Upon a Tree with the pud.
Slow-cooked salmon with a yuzu-flavoured beer
I dithered between two brilliant beer pairings at the British Guild of Beer Writers Beer Meets Food event at the Wild Beer Co, Wapping Wharf last week, both of which involved citrus.
Moncada Brewery Notting Hill Red
This week I took part in a fun new way of discovering beer: Beer Bods live Twitter tastings and this was the beer we tried this week.
How about having a New Year's Eve beer dinner for a change?
If you haven’t already made your plans for New Year’s Eve why not invite over a few friends and treat them to a beer dinner instead of one based on wine? It’s a great way to open their eyes to the great range of artisanal beers that are now available.
What the wine business can learn from the beer world
Take a look at this picture. No, not too closely - it was shot in low light so it’s a bit blurry but I think you’d agree it’s a really stylish starter?
Craft beer and BBQ
Although I regularly recommend wines to pair with barbecue - most recently in my Guardian column - I’m actually an equal fan of beer. In fact I think many types of barbecue work better with it.
Cooking with beer
Good to see Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall giving some recipes that use beer in the Guardian today. As I discovered when my son Will and I wrote our book An Appetite for Ale last year, beer makes a great addition to many recipes and is often just as good a match for a meal as wine.
Which beers to drink at Easter
You may find family and friends resistant to the idea of putting beer on the Easter table (though some will be secretly pleased) but stick to your guns.
Mulled cider with sweet roasted apples
It's the season to start mulling but why not make it cider rather than wine for a change this Bonfire Night
Pheasant terrine with Kings vintage cider
Pubs brewing their own beer has become quite commonplace but few make their own cider. Not that you’d expect anything less of The Crown at Woolhope which was nominated Cider Pub of the Year Pub three times recently at the the Great British Pub Awards in 2015, 2017 and 2018.
Roast chicken and ‘Saison’ cider
Even though we might enjoy a glass of cider down the pub it’s not often, I suspect, we open a bottle for friends but given the number of interesting ciders around and the fact they’re bottled in full-size sharing bottles we really should.
Wise Owl Cider
So many bottles arrive at the door (no, I don’t expect you to sympathise) that it sometimes takes me a while to get round to tasting them but this week I finally got to try Wise Owl’s sparkling cider which they’d been patiently nudging me about.
Life after Lager
Coincidentally I have had invitations to two Indian dinners in two weeks - one accompanied by beer and one with wine which makes for some interesting comparisons.
Raspberry and cherry beer jellies
If you're having a late summer barbecue this weekend here is one of the most delicious - and surprising recipes - from my book An Appetite for Ale. I love serving them because no-one has the faintest idea they have beer in them.
Lamb Boulangère with spruce beer
I've been looking forward to beer writer Melissa Cole's new book The Beer Kitchen since I heard about it a few months ago. As I expected it's packed not only with delicious recipes but some great suggestions for the type of beers to use in and pair with each dish (see the Cook and Pair suggestions below)
Lamb tagine with a chorizo-infused beer
It’s unusual for me to have two consecutive beer pairings as my match of the week but not surprising given that this week’s comes from an excellent beer dinner at The Bull, Highgate to mark the launch of Canadian beer and food expert Stephen Beaumont’s Beer and Food Companion
Eggs Royale and St Austell Clouded Yellow wheat beer
I haven’t had a beer as match of the week for a while but with the British Guild of Beer Writers dinner and Dea Latis Beer and Breakfast tasting last week I could hardly have chosen anything else.
Friends of Ham and where else to drink good beer in Leeds
One of the bonuses of judging the BBC Food and Farming awards this week was a night in Leeds and the chance to take in the brilliantly named beer & charcuterie bar Friends of Ham which I’d been dying to visit since Jay Rayner reviewed it last year.
Bacon, Isle of Mull cheddar and Thornbridge beer bread rolls
I don't normally run commercial recipes but this comes from an enterprising new cookbook from a brewery I really like called Thornbridge with recipes from chef Richard Smith.
Perry and a Ploughman's
I’ve been researching a big feature on perry over the last few days sothat's what this week's pairing had to be. And by that I don’t meanwhat is popularly called pear cider but a cider-like drink that is madewith real perry pears.
Normandy cider and creamy sauces
Our final port of call on our recent French trip was a modest family run restaurant at Bourneville called Risle-Seine, a few minutes off the autoroute between Le Havre and Rouen (and therefore ideally placed for a last minute lunch before catching the ferry). It has no great pretensions but does what it does really well: simple classic country food served with decent, well-priced wines - and cider, we discovered this time.
Beer-Can Chicken - the best way to barbecue a bird!
One of the recipes in my book An Appetite for Ale for which I have the greatest affection is Beer-Can Chicken. Actually, I say recipe, but it’s more like a technique.
Flying fish cutters and Banks beer
A week without wine might sound like hell for wine lovers but to be honest in Barbados why would you drink anything else? Wine is expensive and there’s not much choice whereas beer is cheap and ubiquitous.
Sybil Kapoor's apple and blackberry meringue
A lovely seasonal dessert from Sybil Kapoor's National Trust - Simply Baking. "Soft-baked meringues make a gorgeous pudding in the early autumn, especially when topped with cider-poached fruit and apple brandy cream."
Wine, beer or cocktails - what’s the best match for a 4th July barbecue?
If you’re celebrating July 4th this week and haven’t yet made up your mind what to drink here are some last minute suggestions.
Mango shrikhand with Floris mango beer
Last week I did another pop-up with Bristol chef Romy Gill - this time at the Butlers Arms in Sutton Coldfield which is owned by Twitter friend Chris Giles and his wife Paula.
Chicken liver paté and cherry beer
I often feel I don’t get - or make - enough opportunities to try beer with food so was especially pleased to be invited to a Dea Latis beer dinner at The Albion in Bristol last week
Snuffle dog beer: rated 5* by dachshunds
Yes, you did read that right. It’s not April 1st. It’s not a misprint. A dog beer. A Belgian beer for dogs. It doesn’t actually have any alcohol I hasten to reassure you but it does smell vaguely beery.
Three chocolatey beers for Easter
As you can see from the new chocolate e-book I’ve been doing quite a lot of *research* into chocolate and chocolate-flavoured drinks and beer is no exception.
Beers to match Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Christmas alternatives to turkey
Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall proclaims firmly in The Guardian today that he won’t be serving turkey for lunch on Christmas Day so if he’s going to break with tradition why shouldn’t you? Bring on the beer!
Best beers for Christmas
How many of you will be putting beer on the table at Christmas? Not that many, I suspect, but if you can bring yourself to break with tradition you could be in for a treat. Most supermarkets now carry a sufficiently wide range for you to be able to serve a different beer with each course, should you be so minded. And here’s how to do it:
Cherry beer and cheesecake
If you’ve never tasted a fruit beer you might think this pairing sounds bizarre. If you have you can probably imagine just how good it would taste.
Squash Baked with Beer, Cheese, Cream and Pretzels
I love this recipe from Claire Thomson's brilliant new book Home Cookery Year which I'm tempted to say is the only cookery book you'll ever need although if you're anything like me it's highly unlikely you're going to give the other however many dozen books you've got away.
Sausage and gammon pie and Wiper & True Family Tree IPA
OK, pie and beer is not rocket science but sometimes it’s good to be reminded what a very good match they can be. Especially when both the pie and the beer come from the same place.
Duck and waffle and saison beer
Unusually this week’s match is speculative - an imagined pairing rather than an actual one.
Cider and tapas
Cider isn’t, I admit, the first drink I’d pair with tapas but when I spotted on the menu of newly opened Bar 44 in Bristol that they had Spanish ‘sidra’ on tap - the first, they claimed, in the country - I had to try it.
British cheeses and cider
I suppose I shouldn’t say this coming from the West Country but I often forget about cider when I’m thinking about cheese pairings. Not that I don’t enjoy it but there always seem more complex drinks with a wider range of flavours to experiment with.
The Aldi Platinum Jubilee beer range
Hats off to Aldi for creating three such decent and stylishly packaged beers to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee - and at a typically Aldi price
So you want to be a microbrewer . . .
A friend of mine’s brother in law apparently wants to take up brewing so I thought I’d ask Twitter for advice. As usual, people were fantastically helpful and gave so many good recommendations I thought I’d post the advice here together with a few links I unearthed myself:
The Garage Project's Chateau Aro
How on earth can I pick a single wine of the week from my two week trip to New Zealand? The answer is I can’t so I’m chickening out and going for a beer
Clear Head Alcohol-free IPA
Alcohol-free beer is booming and not only among teetotallers. Many of us who take a break from drinking during the week or when driving appreciate them too.
West country chicken casserole with cider, apple and celery
Now we're firmly into autumn why not try this homely, comforting, very English-tasting casserole from my book Meat & Two Veg? Do try and find some proper ‘dirty celery’ with some soil still clinging to the stalks, if you can. It has so much more flavour
Which wines and beers match best with Chinese food
With Chinese new year coming up this weekend you may be planning a trip to a Chinese restaurant or planning a Chinese meal at home. But which wine to serve?
Top wine and beer matches for game
We Brits have always had a reputation for liking our wines old and our game high but times have changed. Today the key factor in matching game tends to be not how ‘gamey’ it is but how it’s cooked and what is served with it.
Guacamole, salsa and a citrussy pale ale
Last Friday night Helen, our designer, and I had a bit of a works outing to our colleague Monica Shaw's who works on the nuts and bolts of the website. She cooked up an amazing Mexican feast of which this was just one element but it was striking how much better the whole meal went with beer than with wine.
How to celebrate wassail at home
Even if you don’t go out wassailing over the next couple of weeks there’s no reason why you can’t throw an impromptu wassail party at home if you have an apple tree in your garden. Or even if you don’t . . .
Ideas for a beer and game menu
I've been invited to a game dinner at Brown's hotel in Mayfair next week at which every course is matched with a beer or a perry. I can't make it but thought you'd be interested in the pairings (my notes in italics):
Wine and beer matches for Mexican food
Mark Hix may have been knocking back the tequila on his recent trip to Mexico but if you’re not made of such stern stuff try my alternative suggestions for his Mexican-inspired recipes in the Independent today.
Stichelton (or Stilton) with Maury 1974 and Bristol Beer Factory Glenlivet-cask stout
Two matches for the price of one this week - both killer pairings at our Christmas Cheese School* last week.
Savoury pancakes and sparkling cider
The English - and very delicious - way with pancakes is to serve them with granulated sugar and lemon (a dessert that pairs well with gently sparkling, sweet Asti or Moscato d’Asti). But an even better match is the French - or more specifically Breton - tradition of serving savoury pancakes with sparkling cider, a vastly underrated drink.
Raspberry beer with chocolate and raspberries
If you’re looking for something really original to impress your Valentine next weekend try this fabulous pairing.
Molten chocolate pudding and Bristol Beer Factory Ultimate Stout . . .
Chocolate is generally considered a tricky ingredient to match but it's not that hard - unless it's a hot fondant pudding.
Cider and Camembert
I know we always think in terms of wine and cheese but sometimes other drinks can be just as good, if not better. Like this week’s pairing of medium-dry cidre traditionnel and Camembert I came across at a simple roadside restaurant just north of Domfront in Normandy.
Can any wine stand up to Stinking Bishop?
We Brits don’t have a long tradition of washed-rind cheeses but we have a true champion in the aptly named Stinking Bishop, which shot to worldwide fame when it was featured in the Wallace & Gromit film. But can any wine (or other drink) stand up to it?
Beer vs wine: experiments with cheddar
The other evening I had an interesting session with a few food bloggers matching Davidstow cheddar for which I’d been asked to come up with some drink pairings*. My task was to talk about the wine. The company’s Head Grader Mark Pitts-Tucker brought along a couple of Cornish ales - Sharp’s Doombar and St Austell Tribute.
What to drink with dal
Generally of course dal wouldn’t be eaten on its own but with a curry or a biryani but given it makes a pretty good midweek dish on its own or with rice you might fancy a glass with it. Here are some options
Sixpoint Bengali Tiger - in a can!
This week’s post on the Guardian’s Word of Mouth section about Wetherspoon reminded me that I hadn’t yet tasted the three cans from Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewery they’re now stocking.
Mutiny on the Beagle IPA
With its own university brewing department (at Heriot Watt) Edinburgh is very much a beer-drinking city so it seems appropriate after spending a few days there this week that my drink of the week should be a beer
Fried red gurnard and chips and Devon red cider
It was a bumper week for food pairings last week a number of which I’ll be flagging up elsewhere on the site and my Facebook page but I’ve gone for this very straightforward combination because its so simple to replicate at home
Chocolate, hazelnut and rosemary truffles with Mikkeller Big Worse red wine barrel-aged barley wine
It’s hard to pick out a single pairing from last week’s brilliant pop-up beer dinner at the Independent Manchester Beer Convention (IndyManBeerCon) but I’m going for this one because it’s Chocolate Week in the UK.
What to drink with Scandinavian food
If culture and ‘terroir’ are a basis for deciding which drinks bestmatch a particular cuisine then beer must have a strong claim to bepaired with Scandinavian food.
What to drink with cake
A recent email from a reader asked me to suggest a wine to go with “a triple coconut cake with a tangy pineapple icing served with fresh fruit salsa that has kiwi, strawberry, madarine oranges, blueberries and fresh pineapple in it”. Quite a challenge (I suggested demi-sec Champagne or a peach-flavoured liqueur topped up with fizz) but it got me thinking that there are many possible matches for cake beyond a cup of tea or coffee, particularly if you're serving it as a dessert.
6 of the best matches for chocolate mousse
Although chocolate mousse is usually made from dark chocolate it's quite a light dessert as chocolate puddings go because of its airy texture - lighter than petits pots au chocolat, for example.
Strong ale and haggis
This week’s match is a predictive one rather than one I’ve recently experienced as I’ve been invited to a Burn’s Night dinner tomorrow night by the quirky Brewdog brewery and don’t yet know what the outcome will be.
Spiced parsnip soup with Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted
Although I’ve tasted some good wines this week it’s beer that has provided the highlights. The Magic Rock Rapture amber ale I drank at The Pint Shop in Cambridge with their awesome beer brined chicken was pretty good but it’s pipped into the ‘drink of the week’ slot by this pairing at The Hole in the Wall in Little Wilbraham
Bakewell tart and Liefmans Kriek
It’s been hard to pick a single pairing from the beer and food matching dinner I attended at the Anchor in Walberswick last week but I reckon it’s got to be the perfect pairing of Bakewell tart and Liefmans Kriek.
Celebrate your own Oktoberfest!
I still remember my visit to the great Oktoberfest in Munich, the world’s biggest beer festival. Mysteriously it’s not held in October at all - or rather it doesn’t start in October but in September - kicking off next weekend.
Matching cold cuts, cheese and chutney
A couple of years ago I went to a chutney-making demonstration and tasting. No, not at the WI - it was held by the family owned company Tracklements at leading London cheesemonger La Fromagerie which has recently expanded its empire into the neighbouring shop and now has a fancy new tasting room.
What to drink with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's veggie recipes
If you’re used to choosing wine - or other drinks - to match with meat or fish you may be flummoxed when it comes to chosing one for vegetarian friends. But as I explain in my Guardian column today it’s a question of finding out how the wine is made - and in particular whether any animal-based products have been used in the fining process.
Vegetable Thali and Flying Dog Tire Bite Golden Ale
Where I live in Bristol we’re lucky to have an unusually good Indian restaurant called Thali Café, that sells sophisticated street food which you can take away in your own tiffin box. I’m addicted to the vegetable-based ‘Dairy Free Tiffin’ which is light, fresh and aromatic and was wondering what to drink with it when I picked up a bottle of Tire Bite Golden Ale from the excellent Flying Dog brewery.
Steak and Stilton pie with London Porter
The other day I won a selection of Pieminister pies in a raffle and as my husband was away rather sneakily found myself scoffing them for supper (until guilt set in and I put the rest in the freezer). As I also had some beers to taste from a new Marks and Spencer range I decided to pick one to partner with each pie and the combination that really impressed me was their London Porter with the Pieminister ‘Moo and Blue’ (aka steak and Stilton).
Pulled pork roll and a smoked Belgian-style pale ale
As those of you who follow our Facebook page may have spotted I was in France last week so you might expect a pairing with a wine from Languedoc. But no: the outstanding match, as with the previous week, was with a beer - and a rather unusual one at that . . .
Yonder Raspberry Gose
Anyone who doubts the value of being on Twitter - as I do myself from time to time - should factor in the bonus of having access to insider knowledge.
Republika Pilsner: possibly the best lager in Britain?
The idea of a Czech-style lager made by a very traditional-sounding British brewery may sound bizarre but this is one of the best lagers - if not the best - I’ve tasted in the UK.
Matching food and wine at Le Gavroche
If I told you we’d kicked off a tasting menu with a dish of barely seared, pepper-crusted tuna, with a punchy sesame and ginger dressing paired with a chilled cherry beer you’d probably think we’d dined at one of London’s cutting edge Asian restaurants rather than one of its most venerable institutions, the two Michelin-starred Le Gavroche. But its chef-patron Michel Roux Jr is quite prepared to challenge his well-heeled Mayfair clientele. In fact I suspect that if he felt he could get away with it his whole menu would be packed with similarly bold combinations.
Root Vegetable Stew with Herb and Mustard Dumplings
If you've been experimenting with vegan food this January or 'veganuary' as it's been dubbed you'll know that vegan food doesn't have to be insubstantial or, indeed uninteresting. For those of you who remain to be convinced here's a hearty stew from Rachel Demuth of Demuth's Cookery School in Bath which contains both cider and sherry!
This recipe which I edited slightly from the version in the Oktoberfest Insider Guide by Sabine Kafer, comes from my beer and food book An Appetite for Ale. The secret is the lavish last minute slathering with butter.
Mushroom and Mustard soup
With the country blanketed by snow what else can you think of but soup? A favourite recipe from my book An Appetite for Ale that makes a great pairing with a dark, Trappist beer. You can decide how creamy you want it - my preference is to add just a dash to the soup then swirl a little in each bowl to decorate.
Chocolate and cherry roulade
To celebrate Chocolate Week here's one of my favourite recipes for a chocolate and cherry roulade which comes from my book An Appetite for Ale. Unusually it contains two different types of beer! You can obviously leave one of them out though a cherry beer is the perfect pairing with it.
Raspberry cranachan and Black Tokyo Horizon
As it turned out the star pairing of my bizarre Brewdog Burns night was not the haggis spring rolls and Punk IPA but an equally off the wall pairing of raspberry cranachan and Black Tokyo Horizon, a 15% Imperial stout.
Hawksmoor hot dog and Seven Barrels Red Rye IPA
I know I said I was going to make a Riesling my match of the week but given that I've already written about it and that it's the Great British Beer Festival this week I'm going for this great combo at my son's restaurant, Hawksmoor. (Blatantly nepotistic, I know. Apologies)
The Durham Brewery White Stout
I had a conversation on Twitter before Christmas with Elly from The Durham Brewery about whether there was a perfect beer for Christmas pudding.
Northern Monk Ronseal Medium Oak best bitter
I have to say it was pure genius for Leeds brewer Northern Monk to come up with this collaboration* with Ronseal which of course carries the catchy slogan ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’.
Can Can chicken
Continuing with our series of South African Braai recipes to celebrate the World Cup, here’s winemaker Paul Cluver’s version of beer-can chicken made with apple juice rather than beer.
8 great drinks to match with mince pies
Mince pies are not that different to Christmas pudding and Christmas cake so you could drink much the same sort of wine with them. But tradition obviously plays a part in terms of what most people expect and they do pair particularly well with fortified wines like port, sherry and madeira
What to match with Christmas ham
A fair bit gets written - including by yours truly - about pairing wine with turkey but what type of drinks go best with the Christmas ham?
What to drink with foraged food?
Mark Hix, a great forager himself, concentrates on recipes you can make from the hedgerow this week in The Independent (now is a good time to go to his new restaurant, I suggest . . . ) so I’m thinking a little outside the box as to what to pair with them. Country wines, made with hedgerow fruits, seem the perfect answer. I don’t know why we don’t see more of them.
Smashed potatoes and low alcohol IPA
You might not think that potatoes merited a pairing on their own account but then i guess you haven’t tried making Poppy O’Toole’s rosemary and garlic sharers.
Roast suckling pig and amber ale
I realise this is not the first time I’ve written about the virtues of roast pork and beer but it’s such a great match (and such an underrated one) that I keep on coming back to it. This time I came across it in a splendid northern French tavern called Le Bruegel in Bergues, the highlight of what was otherwise a rather cold, miserable journey on our way back to England last week.
Pecan pie and Kingston Black apple aperitif
I know Thanksgiving has past but I came across such a good pairing for pecan pie at a friend's* house the other day I had to tell you about it. Her pie by the way was quite distinctive with a thin layer of soft caramel in the centre (and, obviously, crisp pecans on the top).
Mushroom soup and Rignes Polaris Røykbokk
This was part of an expertly paired meal at a restaurant in Trondheim called To Rom og Kjøkken (Two Rooms and a Kitchen) last Saturday night.
Witbier and asparagus
There’s still a couple of weeks more to enjoy the British asparagus season so here’s an interesting beer pairing to try as a change fromwine. Belgian witbier or bière blanche like Hoegaarden is just perfect with green asparagus, especially when served with goats’ cheese.
Is wine the best partner for pie?
We Brits don't need much encouragement to eat pies. But which is the better match - wine or beer?
Thai fishcakes and witbier
Although I'm not one of those who is resolutely against pairing wine with spicy food there are definitely occasions when beer goes at least as well, if not better and this is one of them.
Smoked eel and alcohol-free lager
If you go to a Michelin-starred restaurant you probably don’t expect to drink alcohol-free beer but my meal at The Ninth last week which was hosted by the best-selling alcohol-free lager Lucky Saint demonstrated that it’s a surprisingly good option for anyone who’s not drinking
Pork pie and pale ale
Today, being St George’s Day, what other pairing could I offer you but a classic British dish with a classic British beer?
Leeks and Skyborry perry
One of the many appealing things about Birch in Bristol is that they have an extensive list of artisanal ciders. Which is maybe not so surprising given that they are intending to sell the restaurant and concentrate on making cider themselves.
Cured and smoked pig jowl with Partizan IPA
I’ve highlighted the affinity of pork and IPA before but it’s good to be reminded just what a brilliant pairing it is.
Coffee-infused pale ale and jalapeno cornbread
I’ve been making a policy recently of ordering good craft beer when it’s on offer instead of wine which is how I came across this stellar pairing at the newly opened Caravan restaurant in Kings Cross. (Terrific - I’ll tell you more shortly.)
Chicken pot pie and perry
In the wake of the great cider boom that has gripped the UK over the past year or so perry - which is cider made from pears - is also undergoing a renaissance. Typically drier than cider it goes well with the sort of dishes with which you’d drink a light dry white wine like a Chenin Blanc or a Chardonnay.
Dark, sticky Christmas cake with prunes and Guinness
This delicious cake, which comes from my book An Appetite for Ale, is based on a recipe from one of Britain's best bakers Dan Lepard. Do use organic dried fruit in it - you’ll get a much better result.
Pairing wine and Indian seafood
It’s less common to come across Indian-spiced seafood dishes than it is fish and vegetable-based ones so what sort of wine works? Yesterday I had a chance to find out
Sierra Nevada chicken
A bit of a blast from the past, this. It comes from An Appetite for Ale, the beer and food book I wrote with my son Will at the time he owned a pub, the Marquess Tavern back in 2007.
Wines - and other drinks - to match Trina Hahnemann's Scandinavian menu
I’ve thought for a while that Scandinavian food is on the way up so am not surprised to find another new cookbook on the subject from Trina Hahnemann who Telegraph cookery writer Xanthe Clay dubs ‘Denmark’s answer to Nigella’ in the paper today.
Tantamen ramen and Asahi Super Creamy Head
I’m beginning to get Christmassed-out already so this week’s pairing is not the very old madeira and Comté I had last night, amazing though that was, but a steaming, spicy bowl of ramen and an Asahi Super Creamy Head beer I enjoyed at Bone Daddies Ramen earlier in the week.
Smoked herring roes on toast and oyster stout
I seem to be spending most of my time dining with bloggers at the moment. On Sunday it was the Blaggers Banquet, next week an Umami night at Ms Marmite Lover’s underground restaurant and last Monday Dine with Dos Hermanos a monthly (or so) feast organised by Simon Majumdar and his brother Robin.
Pork chops and perry
Sometimes you forget the most obvious food matches like the pairing of pork and perry we enjoyed over the weekend.
Mackerel pasty and Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2006
This actually wasn't the dish with which I drank this brilliant new sparkling wine at Rocksalt in Folkestone last week - I'd unfortunately finished my glass by then - but it would certainly have been a knockout wine pairing.
Haggis and Westmalle Dubbel
If you’re going to or hosting a Burns’ Night dinner tonight and want to create a bit of a stir, crack open a bottle of Westmalle Dubbel, a classic Belgian Trappist ale that is still made by monks at the monastery of Westmalle. You could of course drink a Scottish beer - there are plenty of good ones - but haggis to my mind needs a bit of roundness, sweetness and strength, qualities you find more often in Belgian than British beers.
Currywurst and pils
What on earth do you drink with currywurst? Last week I was in Berlin so had the perfect opportunity to find out.
Cheese fondue and Chasselas
I was beginning to think we’d managed to skip winter this year before last week’s icy blasts and snow came as a timely reminder we’ve got a good few weeks to go yet. So there’s still time to enjoy one of winter’s great favourites - a Swiss cheese fondue.
Summer ale cup
A cross between a Pimm’s and a shandy which I concocted a few year's ago for my son Will’s and my book An Appetite for Ale. You'll obviously need to play around with the proportions depending on the fruit cup and the beer you use
Sometimes a good story is all it takes to make you buy a bottle and who could resist a beer that makes use of food waste - unused bread in the case of Toast?
Polgoon raspberry Aval
Giving your mum a bottle of cider for mother’s day might seem like being a bit of a skinflint but this award-winning product from Cornwall is something entirely different.
What to drink with a TV dinner?
This month’s issue of Observer Food Monthly hasa special on TV dinners featuring celebrities talking about their favourite snacks. Very few beverages are mentioned so I thought I’d suggest a few pairings ;-)
Rustle up a Red Nose Pudding!
If you’re organising a Red Nose Day tasting tonight here’s a zany idea for a pudding that I devised for a Sainsbury’s magazine feature a couple of years ago when I interviewed TV presenter Phillip Schofield for Comic Relief.
If you're wondering what to prepare to celebrate St Patrick's Day, Coddle could be the answer. Here's the version from J P McMahon's magnificent new The Irish Cookbook.
Matching wine with Chinese food - time for a rethink?
A recent trip to Beijing and Shanghai opened my eyes anew to the possibilities involved in drinking wine with Chinese food. Many of the conclusions we have painstakingly arrived at in the west turn out to be less obvious when tried out in situ.
10 tips for cold weather drinking
With temperatures falling well below freezing over the coming week it’s a timely reminder that matching drinks is not just about flavour but temperature and alcohol levels too.
What's the best wine to drink with Christmas pudding?
There is an argument that you don't need anything to drink with the classic Christmas pudding*, especially if you've sloshed brandy all over it but if you're pairing other courses of the Christmas meal you might fancy a small glass of something sweet.
What to drink with the turkey leftovers
The answer to that may well be ‘whatever wine’s left over’ - if there is any, of course - but if you’re looking for a wine that will match specific dishes here are a few ideas:
What to drink with chicken wings (and your other Superbowl snacks)
Let’s face it a well-honed wine pairing probably isn’t top priority on Superbowl night but there’s no reason why you can’t sip something delicious as you’re nervously nibbling your chicken wings (or your nails).
Wines - and other drinks - to match recipes from the Ottolenghi Cookbook
The book I’ve been looking forward to most so far this year has just started being serialised in the Guardian today. It’s by Yotam Ottolenghi who founded two exceptional London restaurants and is simply called Ottolenghi: the Cookbook. l love Ottolenghi's food - it’s so generous and big-flavoured, piled high on bright, colourful platters - you can't fail to be tempted by it. It also lends itself perfectly to entertaining for large numbers at home.
Thai beef salad and off-dry Riesling
It’s easy to get stuck in the trap of thinking red wine is the only accompaniment for meat, especially red meat but in these days of multi-cultural eating that’s not necessarily true. And a good case in point is a Thai beef salad with its zingy, hot/sour flavours which influence the match much more than the beef does.
Sushi and Genmaicha (Japanese green tea with roasted rice)
To the incomprehension of my husband who can’t see the point in raw fish, I adore sushi and try to eat it at least once a week - usually with one of my daughters who are both big sushi fans.
Steak pie and strong ale
There’s a distinct nip in the air this week that makes makes me suddenly feel much less like eating summery food. Last night we went round to friends and shared some absolutely awesome steak pies they’d brought back from a butcher called Murray Mitchell in St Andrews in Scotland (they will send them by mail order in the UK apparently if you ring them on 01334 474465).
Runaway American Brown Ale and chicken poutine
Last week I was in Manchester for lunch at the new Hawksmoor, a restaurant I can hardly review given it’s one of my son Will’s.
Oyster rarebit and Guinness
This is one of those rare weeks where I’ve come across four brilliant pairings that could have made the ‘match of the week’ slot but as it’s St Patrick’s Day tomorrow and I haven’t done a beer for a while I’ll go for the topical one.
Lager and jerk chicken
It's been one of those very rare occurances in England today - a sunny Bank Holiday - and we've spend the day with friends at the Bristol West Indian Cricket Club where they turned out not to be playing much in the way of cricket but a great deal of music, dancing and bouncy castles.
Guineafowl with cherries and Beaujolais
I’ve been so busy catching up after my Alsace trip that I haven’t had much time for new food and wine discoveries but here’s one we had at Les Temps Changent in Chalons-en-Champagne, a hotel we frequently stop at to break the journey through France.
Epoisses and marc de Bourgogne
Epoisses has to be one of the most difficult cheeses to match, not least when it gets to the almost liquid stage shown in this photo (a stage too far IMHO)
Double IPA and pork belly
Those of you who have been following the reports from my recent gastronomic junket in Chicago shouldn’t run away with the impression I spent all my time drinking Champagne and Château Lafite. One of my best meals was at chef Paul Kahan’s Blackbird where they have a craft beer list that should make most British restaurants hang their head in shame.
Crubeens and Irish stout
I don’t drink beer often enough so I'm particularly pleased when I find a pairing that makes my match of the week slot
Cold sesame noodles and weissbier
Thanks to my friend Signe Johansen of Scandilicious I finally got to Koya in Frith Street the other day - London’s food bloggers most popular noodle haunt and the winner of last year’s Observer Food Monthly’s Best Cheap Eats award.
Chocolate and roasted Oolong tea
The most interesting meal I had last week was undoubtedly at Viajante, an innovative new restaurant in what used to be Bethnal Green town hall. You can see my full review on decanter.com but I just wanted to write a bit more about the pairings.
Chilli con carne and American brown ale
If you’re lighting a few fireworks for the kids (or yourselves, of course . . . ) tonight and hanging round in the cold you’ll need some warming food and a good chilli hits the spot perfectly
Chicken caesar salad and blonde ale
It’s so automatic to think of a wine match these days that one sometimes overlooks the fact that a beer will work just as well, if not better. So it is with that great restaurant favourite, chicken caesar salad.
Boiled bacon and cabbage with Irish stout
With St Patrick’s Day falling on a Monday this year - and in Easter week into the bargain - many are expected to be celebrating this coming Saturday so here’s a reminder of just how great an Irish stout (Guinness or otherwise) is with that classic dish of boiled bacon and cabbage.
Apple tatin and sparkling perry
The surprise match of the natural wine dinner I went to last week at Bar Battu was not a wine but a perry - 'sydriculteur' Eric Bordelet's sparkling Poire Granit.
Wines for some tricky Chinese dishes
When I read Mark Hix recipes in The Independent today they were so challenging that I nearly gave up but as everyone else seems to be writing about asparagus today and I’ve done a lot on asparagus recently there was no other option . . .
Wine and pepper
Like salt, pepper has a pronounced effect on wine, often making reds taste softer and lusher than they otherwise would. Unlike salt though, you also find peppery flavours in wines such as Northern Rhône Syrah and Austrian Grüner Veltliner.
Oktoberfest potato salad
The key element to this typically Bavarian recipe, which comes from my book An Appetite for Ale, is the addition of hot stock which gives it a consistency half way between a conventional potato salad and mashed potato. It also has the most delicious sweet-sour flavour.
Pickled herrings with lager and akvavit
If you're not into herrings this match might not seem desperately appealing but I promise you it’s an outstanding combination. It’s prompted by my recent visit to Copenhagen where the Danes eat herrings on an almost daily basis as part of their smørrebrød (selection of open sandwiches).
Oysters and oyster stout
I was at the opening of TV chef Mitch Tonks' new fish restaurant in Bristol last week, Rockfish Grill. Normally they serve you bubbly on these occasions and there was some - an appealing Prosecco - but what caught my eye was an oyster stout that Mitch and a mate who owns the Albert Inn at Bridgetown, near Totnes had brewed up between them.
Migas and San Miguel
Last week I was in Malaga for Semana Santa (Holy Week) which is the most mind-blowing experience, marked by daily - and nightly - parades through the town. In between - and when the streets weren’t rammed solid with spectators - we managed to snatch the odd meal, the best of which was at a tapas bar called Meson Iberico.
Gosnells mead and honey-smoked chicken
Every so often someone trumpets a mead revival but it never quite seems to happen, probably because there’s not enough of it about yet.