Thursday, August 25, 2016

Food and Wine Pairing with Oz Clarke: Finding the right Balance at Taste of London 2016

Food and wine pairing has always been one of my passions. As the Ais (Italian Association of Sommelier) tells us, pairing can be done by concordance (ie. wines and food with similar aromas and characteristics usually work well together) or by opposition, like having a sweet wine (port) with a salty cheese like Stilton or gorgonzola.

Now, what if the famous wine expert Oz Clarke would create a food and wine pairing menu? Well, this is what happened at Taste of London 2016 in June at the stand of Celebrity Cruises, one of largest cruises in the world which actually offers an extensive wine list on board and a strong team of sommeliers.



Oz, along with the executive chef of Celebrity Cruises, selected 3 wines that really paired well with the food. We started with a celeriac veloute with black truffle and toasted flower seeds, which was paired with a Viognier from Languedoc. This is a quite rich, pungent and aromatic wine, which could stand the body and compexity of the veloute. The food and the wine gave rise to a good balance.The second course featured a Corvina Seabass with sage, brown butter, cavolo nero and asparagus. It was paired with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, which had the classic hints of lychee, asparagus and green pepper. So the wines and the fish- fresh from the Galapagos - had similar aromas and thus matched by concordance. The freshness of the wine actually helped us to enjoy even more the complex condiment of the dish.





The third course - my favourite - was the succulent pistachio crusted lamb with juniper rhubarb jam. Rich and mouthwatering, it was matched with an impressing full-bodied Carmenere from Chile that had herbaceous notes, along with black pepper and ripe black fruits aromas.






In short, this was great food and wine matching tasting that lasted half hour and was explained with clarity and good humour by Oz and the chef. I hope to see more of these events organized. As the late Italian wine writer Veronelli would say, there are pairings that are like marriages of love in which the partners just find a perfect and unique balance.

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