Hey, would anyone like some Potato Chips with their Champagne? No, I’m not kidding.
See, Natalie MacLean, the author of Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass, whose book I reviewed last Friday, has offered to send a free, autographed copy of her book to the person who comes up with the most interesting or unusual food and wine pairing. Natalie loves the pairing game and has created an interactive matching tool with thousands of matches right here. You must check it out, but I’m warning you it’s addicting. Here’s a picture of what it looks like on her site…it’s so easy to use.
Zinfandel with your Tex Mex? Not a problem. A little Chardonnay with your fried chicken take-out? Delicious. Pinot Noir and wild boar? Why not, Natalie says. “The old rules about white wine with white meat and red wine with red meat just don’t give enough guidance anymore.”
Here are Natalie’s top 10 fun food and wine matches:
1. Popcorn with Chilean Chardonnay
2. Nachos with California Zinfandel
3. Potato chips with French Champagne
4. Pizza with Italian Chianti
5. Fish and chips with German Riesling
6. Hamburgers with Australian Shiraz
7. Smoked Salmon with Canadian or Oregon Pinot Noir
8. Quiche with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
9. Canned brown beans with tawny Port
10. TV Steak Dinner with French or Washington Cabernet Sauvignon
Natalie’s amazing matching tool pairs wines with any dish: meat, pasta, seafood, vegetarian fare, pizza, eggs, cheese and even dessert, including Jell-O and fudge (for those who like to layer their vices). You simply choose the food or wine from the drop-down menu to get the pairing suggestions. There are also lots of recipes for those planning a meal. The matcher is updated regularly with new dishes and wines from the 90,000-plus readers who subscribe to Natalie’s free, award-winning-e-newsletter, which offers tips on how to buy, cellar and serve wine.
So what do you have to lose? Think of something you love to eat and pick a wine you think it will go with.
Here are some out of the ordinary wine and food pairings I have unexpectedly come across but worked well.
One night when I faced a kitchen lacking any type of dessert, a horror I can barely deal with, I fished out a box of Oreo cookies from the pantry and paired them with a Late Harvest Zinfandel. It was actually good.
Then I discovered Vermentino with asparagus, a match made in heaven.
And on one very long car trip with my family we stopped at a diner for our evening meal. I had pancakes. I paired them with Merlot and surprisingly they went together well.
So you see, this is not hard. You do not have to be a wine connoisseur to suggest something; there are no wrong answers. Think of one food and pick a wine to go with it. It could be a main dish, side dish, dessert, appetizer or anything. It could also be a very specific pairing or very generic.
This is such a wonderful book and I am so excited I am able to offer another opportunity to have one! You all deserve it.
And thanks for doing this Natalie!
So leave a comment here with your best food and wine match by tonight (Wednesday) at 10:00 PM Pacific Time. Natalie will be picking the winner to be announced Thursday or Friday!
Good luck! Again, you can do this.