wine and food

Wine and food, a match made in heaven. Here are some of our pairings as well as a few general thoughts and recommendations.

Wine Rambler dinner at Trinity restaurant

It was always about food. I am not saying you cannot, should not have wine without food (quite the opposite), but without my love for food there would be no Wine Rambler. The crucial moment was a Friday afternoon, years ago, when I decided to open a random bottle of Mosel Riesling with some mildly spicy Asian food because I had heard the two go together - resulting in my first moment of true wine excitement and the decision to track down the wine and learn more about it. Wine and food have been with me since and put me on the slippery slope to wine blogging. Considering that it is surprising that it has taken me so long to organise the first Wine Rambler dinner...

a window into Trinity's kitchen

...but when it finally happened I made up for the delay by organising it in style, with the help of the fabulous team of Trinity Restaurant in Clapham - and five German wines.

Torsten Wednesday, 14/08/2013
Scandinavian Food and German Wines - an evening of Food and Wine Pairing Heaven

There are several philosophies about kids growing up to into mature adults, but the successful ones tend to include the Muppet Show. And as our readers naturally are mature adults I can take it for granted that you will know the Swedish Chef. As do I, of course. Apart from where I don't: in the dubbed German Muppets version I grew up with he is actually Danish. Confused as we may be in that regard, us Germans have loved Scandinavian food way before the success of Noma. And Scandinavians, it turns out, love to pair their food with German wine.

Scandinavian delights with Signe and Hannah

Scandinavia is a very important export market for German wine and earlier this month I received a tasty demonstration of how well our friend Riesling in particular pairs with northern cuisine.

Torsten Monday, 18/02/2013

Searching for the Soul of Riesling. Reflections on Mosel magic and the wines of St. Urbans-Hof

Wine is nothing without people. It is people who make wine. It is the company of the right people that makes for a great evening with wine. And it is people's stories that make for engaging wine writing. Recently I had the pleasure of meeting a man who not only makes excellent wine but who also talks about it in such an engaging way that there is only my writing to blame if you don't walk away from this article at least a little inspired.

I certainly left inspired after my encounter with Nik Weiss, the owner of the St. Urbans-Hof estate in the Mosel wine region of Germany. It made me think about the magic that happens when you fall in love with a piece of land and the produce you bring forth from it. It is a magic that over thousands of years has transformed the land but it also transforms the people who work it. This is a story about how the Mosel transformed a man and how he in turn set out to transform his part of the Mosel - and about a little magic that happened when I spent an evening with him and his Riesling.

London Wine Merchants: Going Natural at Green & Blue Wines: Bar and Shop in East Dulwich

You don't go to South East London. At least that is what my friend Sarah thinks, and yesterday she told me so when the question of where to live in London came up. After having lived in the South West, North and West Sarah now contemplates the East - but the South East just seems too far away, like another world. This is a common view in the murky blend of London post codes and identities. It is opposed by a smaller group of those who have lost their hearts to SE London, and they tell me of vibrant local communities with quirky shops, excellent and authentic food offerings and a satisfying restaurant scene. The other day I followed an invitation to explore this world at the East Dulwich wine shop and bar Green & Blue Wines.

midnight approaching at Green & Blue Wines

It is no coincidence that I used the words "authentic" and "local", as Green & Blue champion wines from smaller producers, especially organic and natural wines.

Matching ready meals and wine? Dinner with Charlie Bigham and Berry Bros & Rudd

Unless someone else is doing it for me there is almost never a day in my life when you don't find me in the kitchen throwing around pans, pots and knives. I like to cook, I love to eat well, and whenever there is time I work my way through recipes or London restaurants. That I also love wine with my food cannot have been lost on you as you are reading this on the Wine Rambler. So you may think nothing when I tell you that last week I was invited to a food and wine pairing dinner. But how about it was matching wine with supermarket ready meals?

steak and mushroom pie

First of all I should say that Charlie Bigham, who lured me and a group of food and wine bloggers to a secret location near London Bridge, is not too happy having his food called "ready meals". I will do so nonetheless, because it takes me back to one of the darker secrets in my food life.

Matching food and wine: apple, sage and walnut risotto with Silvaner

Like many men who like to cook I have occasional delusions of grandeur. Unfortunately for you, these were made worse when at a Wine Rambler beer tasting an Italian friend (who is as obsessed with good food as any Italian) commented on my risotto: 'And that risotto was simply delicious! Mind you, I am Italian and have got some experience with risotto, very very good indeed! Recipe please?'

Easily charmed by such an appreciation of my cooking skills, I am happy to do as requested - and to make a wine pairing suggestion: Silvaner, the fantastically food friendly German white wine that deserves international attention.

Matching food and wine: Benita's chocolate mousse with Pinot Noir dessert wine

There are not many things I enjoy more than good food, and my sweet tooth is infamous. Despite having dined in quite a few outstanding restaurants, there are still not many desserts I'd prefer over the chocolate mousse made by my friend Benita. It is so damn tasty that I usually just have it on its own, although when Benita last made it for me she was more than happy to enjoy it with a wine I had saved for just this occasion: a sweet Austrian Pinot Noir.

ingredients

Sweet red wines can be a terrific match for chocolate desserts, and so I invite you to join us in our little indulgence. Just imagine Nigella Lawson presenting this, with lots of luscious language, licking of lips and sticky fingers.

Japanese food, sake and wine: tasting the new menu at Tsuru, London

Going out for Japanese food in London is not something I regularly do. This is not because I don't like it. Quite the opposite in fact. It is just that as far as sushi is concerned my heart is lost to a restaurant in Munich that serves high quality fish at very fair prices - and, perhaps more importantly, that I have a Japanese friend in my neighbourhood who treats me to all sorts of delicacies. Unfortunately she will be going back to Japan soon, so I was delighted when Emma from Japanese restaurant Tsuru invited me (and a bunch of other writers) to taste their new menu. So one night in late October I ventured east to the Bishopsgate branch of Tsuru (there is another one near the Tate Modern).

Winzerhof Burrlein, Mainstockheimer Hofstück, Silvaner Kabinett trocken, 2009

If I am not mistaken, our readers have had to go without Wine Rambler Silvaner coverage since August 31. That is clearly unacceptable and will be remedied as follows ("quickly and unbureaucratically", as german public officials are fond of saying): The Burrlein winery of Mainstockheim, which we have already featured as part of our Müller-Thurgau report, has consistently turned out over-achieving quality Silvaners to its large customer base these last few years. Has it delivered again?

The Sultans of Sweet. Learning about matching Residual Sugar in Mosel Riesling with food

Sweet wine is evil. Just mentioning it can make people's faces go grumpy bulldog on you. Even the faces of those who haven't tried any yet. Wine with residual sugar is often seen as nasty plonk, suitable for a cheap hangover or perhaps as a wine for the ladies, and that is usually not meant as a compliment either. In the UK, it is particularly associated with Germany 'thanks' to brands such as Liebfraumilch.

So I have to deal with a lot of bulldog faces in my mission to interest people in German wine. The most successful approach, I find, is to get them to taste the wines, especially with food, but that is a slow process if you are just one guy with a wardrobe full of Riesling in a nation of millions of wine drinkers.

So imagine my delight when I was recently invited to a lunch workshop designed to explore how off-dry and sweet Rieslings pair with food: Who is afraid of Residual Sugar? was organised by St. Urbans-Hof, one of the premier Mosel estates. What started as a very exciting and tasty experiment turned into a far-reaching discussion on the world of wine, customer perception, national (wine)stereotypes and wine marketing.