There are rules about eating and drinking. And for those who do follow them, they can be really beneficial, and elevate the experience. Are you wondering how to learn about food and wine pairing? A lot of you may not want to go by the rule book! If you love the idea of drinking simply, but nicely, you can consider a few things that matter when you choose what to pair with food. These are simple and universal. 

Photo: Félix Girault

 We understand that sticking to the book can be daunting and overwhelming. So, here’s the solution - trust your instincts. Instead of reading that big book which is giving you the sweats, you can start with basic red wines and white, you can cook the food yourself at home and play with the internet results which come up when you google 'which wine goes with dash', or you can ask a friend for a recommendation.  

Naturally, there are two instances you are bound to encounter in food and wine pairing. 

Complementary Pairings 

On many occasions, you’ll often wonder why people pair a heavily spiced anise dish with an anise-flavored wine or an apple pie with vanilla and apple-flavored wine. Their way is based on the rule that two tasting compounds that mimic each other’s flavor can go well together. This rule is very commonly applied at dinner parties.  

Contrasting Pairings 

On the other hand, some folks love making contrasting pairings. For example, a salmon dish with soy sauce is paired with high-acid wines. So saltiness and acidity are the two flavor profiles here. Generally, making contrasting pairings is a lot more fun! Imagine sitting in your pajamas on the couch and thinking about making a plate of nachos, not worrying about which wine will 'complement' your food. All you need to do is remember that if the food is salty, then the wine can be citrusy or sweet, and vice versa. Making contrasting pairings can be more fun because it is easier. However, many people say it's tricky, too. 

The truth is that it doesn’t have to be an exam you must pass. Since you are new to wine (we think), you probably shouldn’t be thinking if this or that is the ‘right’ wine to complement or contrast with the food. We repeat- go with your instincts! People say there’s nothing better than washing down a fried fish sandwich with prosecco or sauvignon blanc. We agree. And of course, who hasn't had a pizza and wine night?

Photo: Jordan Nix