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Culinary Design Associates: Classic Food and Wine Pairing

Food and wine go hand in hand, and when you achieve the perfect pairing between the two, you can elevate both to sublimity. When the right drink is chosen for the meal, the flavors come alive in both the food and the wine. Glenn Pitt of Culinary Design Associates, a Philadelphia catering company, understands the synergy between quality ingredients and flavorful wines. There are no hard and fast rules for pairing food and wine. If a combination sounds good to you, then try it out. Some general rules of thumb may help achieve delicious pairings, however. Mr. Pitt offers the following tips deciding which wine should accompany a certain type of dinner.

1.  In general, red meat such as beef and lamb work well with well-structured red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or other Bordeaux blends.

2.  Heavy reds may overwhelm delicate white fish and shellfish, and many people prefer drinking either a toasty white like Chardonnay or a brighter white like Pinot Grigio with fish such as halibut and shellfish like crab or shrimp. Lobster and an oaked Chardonnay or champagne is a classic pairing.

3.  Earthy Pinot Noir, which is the main component of wines from the Burgundy region of France, as well as many other wine growing regions around the world, pair well with game meats, salmon, duck, lamb, and mushrooms.

4.  Spicy foods go nicely with a dry, acidic wine. For instance, pair a dry German Riesling with Mexican or Moroccan food.

5.  Poultry pairs with both red and white wines. Grenache based wines such as Priorat from Spain or Chateauneuf du Pape are especially nice with chicken or turkey.

6.  For a classic pairing, try a sweet Sauternes from France and combine it with pan-seared foie gras.

7.  Artichokes cause chemical changes in the mouth that vastly enhance sweet flavors, imparting an off taste to most wines. If you’d like to try wine with an artichoke, consider a Chenin Blanc, which is highly acidic.

8.  Spicy, powerful red wines such as Zinfandel or Barolo pair beautifully with tomato-based Italian pasta.

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