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Pairings: What should I drink with pecan pie?

Pairings: What should I drink with pecan pie?

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A NUTTY SWEET WINEDessert wines with hints of nuts, spice, and dried fruits naturally complement the brown sugar and pecans. Sporting bright acidity to keep the pairing lively, Pedro Ximénez—a grape used in very sweet sherry— has syrupy notes of molasses, spice, and raisins that mesh beautifully with pecan pie's toasty richness. Lustau Solera Reserva Pedro Ximénez "San Emilio," Spain ($25)

A DARK AND CREAMY BEERYup, this works. In dark beer, heavily roasted malts provide toasty, coffee-like flavors that beautifully offset the sweet caramel taste of pecan pie. Try milk stout—creamy, with a smooth finish. Its robust nuttiness and warm vanilla flavor are great with the pie's sugariness, while its pillowy texture contrasts the crunch of pecans and crust. Milk Stout Nitro, Left Hand Brewing Company, Colorado ($10.50/6-pack) -- by Jordan Mackay

OOPS! Avoid dark beers with bitter hops, which will sour the pairing. Likewise, dry table wines will conflict with the pie's unctuous sweetness.

Cheese And Dessert Pairings That Will Blow Your Mind

Choosing between dessert and cheese at the end of a meal is one of life's most difficult dilemmas. Sweet or savory? Sugary or salty? There's never a wrong move, because you can't go wrong with cheese or dessert. But what if there were a better option? What if you didn't have to choose between the two at all? What if you could have them both -- at the same time? But of course! From now on, do the right thing and order cheese with your dessert.

Cheese and dessert pairings are almost better than cheese and wine pairings. If you have the right cheese and the right dessert, the contrasting flavors complement each other so well you'll never want to eat one without the other again. You've probably heard of apple pie and cheddar cheese, but that's just the beginning of cheese and dessert pairings.

We reached out to the experts -- cheesemongers and owners of some of our favorite cheese shops -- to hear the different cheese and dessert combinations they suggest. We heard from Andrew Torren, one of the cheesemakers at Beecher's Handmade Cheese. Torren also leads Beecher's cheese pairing classes in New York, so he knows a thing or two about the subject. We also heard from Charlotte Kamin, owner of Bedford Cheese Shop, and Katie Falconer, the cheese buyer at Stinky Bklyn.

Take it from them: some desserts are practically meant to be eaten with cheese, and vice versa. Here are 12 winning cheese and dessert pairings, recommended by the the pros:

FruitHerbs and SpicesNutsSpiritsMiscellaneous
AppleApricot, blackberry, cherry, cranberry, currant, date, lychee, mango, orange, pear, pineapple, plum, pomegranate, pumpkin, quinceAllspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, rosemary, star anise, thymeAlmond, chestnut, hazelnut, pecan, pine nut, pistachio, walnutArmagnac, bourbon, brandy, calvados, cognac, Cointreau, Kirsch, Madeira, rum, sherry, vermouthCaramel, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla
ApricotApple, banana, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, coconut, cranberry, lemon, orange, peach, pineapple, plum, prune, raspberry, strawberryCardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, coriander, ginger, nutmeg, rosemary, saffronAlmond, hazelnut, pine nut, pistachio, walnutAmaretto, brandy, cognac, Kirsch, orange liqueur, rumCaramel, honey, maple syrup, mascarpone, vanilla
BananaApricot, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, coconut, date, guava, lemon, lime, mango, orange, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, pomegranate, raspberry, strawberryAllspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, macadamia, nutmegCashew, hazelnut, peanut, pecan, pistachio, walnutArmagnac, banana liqueur, brandy, calvados, cognac, Kirsch, Madeira, rumCaramel, chocolate, coffee, crème fraîche, honey, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla
BlackberryApple, apricot, banana, blueberry, lemon, mango, melon, nectarine, orange, peach, plum, raspberry, strawberry, watermelonCinnamon, cloves, ginger, mintAlmond, hazelnutBrandy, champagne, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Kirsch, orange liqueur Caramel, crème fraîche, honey, mascarpone, vanilla
BlueberryApple, apricot, banana, blackberry, fig, lemon, mango, melon, nectarine, orange, peach, pear, pineapple, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry, watermelonAllspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, lavender, mint, nutmegAlmond, hazelnut, pecan, pine nut, walnutCognac, Kirsch, orange liqueur, port, rum, triple secCrème fraîche, honey, maple syrup, mascarpone, molasses, ricotta, vanilla
CantaloupeGrapefruit, melon, raspberryBasil, cilantro, ginger, mint, star anise, tarragon Port
CherryApricot, coconut, lemon, melon, nectarine, orange, peach, plum, quince, raspberryAllspice, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, sage, thymeAlmond, hazelnut, pecan, pistachio, walnutAmaretto, Armagnac, bourbon, brandy, cassis, Grand Marnier, kirsch, red wine, rum, vodkaCaramel, chocolate, coffee, crème fraîche, honey, mascarpone, vanilla
CoconutApricot, banana, blackberry, cherry, date, grapefruit, guava, kiwi, kumquat, lemon, lime, lychee, mango, orange, papaya, passion fruit, pineappleAllspice, basil, cardamom, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, ginger, Kaffir leaf, lemongrass, mint, nutmegAlmond, brazil nut, cashew, macadamia, peanut, pistachio RumCaramel, chocolate, crème fraîche, honey, mascarpone, rose water, vanilla
CranberryApple, apricot, lemon, lime, orange, peach, pear, pumpkin, quince, tangerineAllspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, star anise, thymeAlmond, hazelnut, pistachio, walnutCognac, Grand Marnier, white wineHoney, maple syrup, vanilla
DateApple, apricot, banana, coconut, lemon, lime, orange, prune, quinceCinnamon, ginger, rosemary, thymeAlmond, hazelnut, macadamia, pecan, pistachio, walnutArmagnac, brandy, red wine, rumCaramel, chocolate, coffee, crème fraîche, maple syrup, mascarpone, orange blossom water, vanilla
GrapeApple, lemon, pear, raspberry, strawberryCayenne, cumin, ginger, mint, paprika, rosemaryAlmond, hazelnut, pecan, pistachio, walnutBrandy, cognac, rumHoney, white chocolate
GrapefruitAvocado, banana, coconut, lemon, lime, melon, orange, papaya, pineapple, pomegranate, raspberry, strawberry, tomatoBasil, ginger, mint, rosemary, star anise, tarragon, thymeCashew, hazelnut, macadamia, pecan, walnutCampari, champagne, gin, Grand Marnier, port, rum, tequila, vodkaCaramel, crème fraîche, grenadine, honey, vanilla
GuavaBanana, coconut, lemon, lime, orange, passion fruit, pineapple, strawberryGingerCashew, macadamiaRumWhite chocolate, honey, mascarpone
HoneydewBlackberry, cantaloupe, grapefruit, lemon, lime, nectarine, peach, strawberryBasil, cardamom, coriander, cumin, ginger, mint, tarragon ChampagneCoconut milk, honey
KiwiBanana, cherry, coconut, grapefruit, lemon, lime, lychee, mango, orange, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, strawberry Hazelnut, macadamiaKirsch, rumChocolate, honey
KumquatCoconut, cranberry, date, lemon, lime, mango, orange, papaya, persimmon, pineapple, pomegranate, pumpkin, quince, strawberryCayenne, cinnamon, ginger, mace, mint, nutmegHazelnut, pecan, pistachio, walnutBrandy, rum, white wineCaramel, chocolate, honey, vanilla
LemonApple, apricot, banana, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, coconut, cranberry, date, gooseberry, grapefruit, grape, guava, kiwi, lime, mango, nectarine, orange, papaya, passion fruit, peach, pear, persimmon, plum, prune, quince, raspberry, rhubarb, tangerineBasil, bay leaf, cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, ginger, mint, oregano, parsley, poppy seed, rosemary, sage, thymeAlmond, chestnut, hazelnut, pecan, pine nut, pistachio, walnutGin, orange liqueur, red wine, rum, vodkaCaramel, chocolate, coffee, crème fraîche, honey, maple syrup, mascarpone, vanilla
LimeApple, apricot, avocado, coconut, date, gooseberry, grapefruit, guava, honeydew, kiwi, lemon, mango, orange, papaya, passion fruit, plum, raspberry, strawberry, tomatoCilantro, ginger, mintHazelnut, macadamia, peanut, pecanRum, tequila, vodkaCaramel, coconut milk, crème fraîche, honey, maple syrup, mascarpone, vanilla, white chocolate
LycheeBlackberry, coconut, honeydew, kiwi, lemon, lime, mango, orange, passion fruit, pear, pineapple, plum, raspberry Ginger RumHoney
MangoApple, avocado, banana, blackberry, blueberry, coconut, grapefruit, kiwi, kumquat, lemon, lime, orange, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, raspberry, strawberryBasil, cayenne, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mint, nutmeg, star aniseAlmond, cashew, macadamiaAmaretto, champagne, Kirsch, orange liqueur, rum, sake, vodkaCaramel, coconut milk, coffee, crème fraîche, honey, mascarpone, vanilla, white chocolate
NectarineApricot, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, cranberry, lemon, orange, peach, plum, raspberry, strawberryAllspice, cinnamon, ginger, mint, nutmegAlmond, hazelnut, pecan, pistachioBrandy, champagne, Kirsch, orange liqueur, peach liqueur, red wine, white wineCaramel, chocolate, honey, maple syrup, mascarpone, vanilla
OrangeApple, apricot, avocado, banana, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, coconut, cranberry, date, grape, grapefruit, guava, grapefruit, kumquat, lemon, lime, mango, nectarine, papaya, passion fruit, peach, pear, persimmon, pineapple, plum, pomegranate, prune, pumpkin, quince, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry, tomatoBasil, cardamom, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, ginger, mint, nutmeg, paprika, parsley, poppy seed, rosemary, saffron, star anise, thymeAlmond, chestnut, hazelnut, macadamia, pecan, pine nut, pistachio, walnutAlmond liqueur, Amaretto, Armagnac, brandy, cognac, Kirsch, orange liqueur, red wine, rum, tequila, vodka, white wineCaramel, chocolate, coffee, grenadine, honey, maple syrup, mascarpone, vanilla
PapayaBanana, coconut, grapefruit, kiwi, kumquat, lemon, lime, mango, nectarine, orange, passion fruit, peach, pineapple, raspberry, strawberryCilantro, cinnamon, ginger, mintCashew, macadamia, peanutPortCaramel, honey, vanilla, white chocolate
Passion fruitBanana, coconut, kiwi, lemon, lime, mango, orange, papaya, peach, pear, pineapple, strawberryCilantro, gingerAlmond, cashew, macadamiaChampagne, Cointreau, ice wine, rum, tequilaCaramel, chocolate, vanilla
PeachApple, apricot, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, coconut, lemon, lime, nectarines, orange, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, plum, raspberry, strawberryAllspice, basil, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, mint, nutmeg, saffron, star anise, tarragon, thymeAlmond, hazelnut, pecan, pistachio, walnutBourbon, brandy, Calvados, Cassis, champagne, cognac, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Kirsch, Madeira, port, red wine, rum, Vin Santo, whiskey, white wineBrown sugar, caramel, chocolate, crème fraîche, grenadine, honey, maple syrup, mascarpone, molasses, vanilla
PearApple, apricot, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, cranberry, date, lemon, orange, passion fruit, prune, quince, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberryAllspice, basil, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, mint, nutmeg, parsley, rosemary, star aniseAlmond, chestnut, hazelnut, macadamia, peanut, pecan, pine nut, pistachio, walnutBourbon, brandy, Calvados, crème de cassis, champagne, Grand Marnier, kirsch, pear brandy, port, red wine, rum, whiskeyCaramel, chocolate, crème fraîche, honey, maple syrup, mascarpone, vanilla
PersimmonApple, avocado, grape, kiwi, kumquat, lemon, orange, pear, pomegranateCinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, nutmegAlmond, cashew, hazelnut, pecan, walnutBourbon, brandy, cognac, Kirsch, sweet wineCaramel, coffee, honey, maple syrup, vanilla, white chocolate
PineappleApricot, avocado, banana, coconut, grapefruit, kiwi, kumquat, lemon, lime, mango, orange, papaya, passion fruit, pomegranate, raspberry, strawberryAllspice, basil, cardamom, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mint, rosemary, saffron, star aniseCashew, macadamia, pistachio, walnutBrandy, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Kirsch, orange liqueur, rum, sweet wineCaramel, chocolate, honey, maple syrup, vanilla
PlumApricot, cherry, lemon, nectarine, orange, peach, raspberry, strawberryAllspice, almond, bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, mace, mint, nutmeg, sage, thymeHazelnut, pecan, walnutBrandy, gin, Kirsch, rum, whiskey, red wine, sweet wineCaramel, crème fraîche, honey, maple syrup, vanilla
PomegranateApple, avocado, banana, coconut, grapefruit, kumquat, lemon, lime, orangeAllspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, ginger, mint, nutmeg, parsley, turmericAlmond, hazelnut, pine nut, walnutPort, tequila, vodkaHoney, white chocolate
PumpkinApple, coconut, cranberry, kumquat, lemon, lime, orangeAllspice, bay leaf, cayenne, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, ginger, mace, nutmeg, rosemary, sage, thymeHazelnut, pecan, pine nut, walnutBrandy, cognac, orange liqueur, rum, white wineCaramel, crème fraîche, honey, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla, white chocolate
QuinceApple, cherry, cranberry, date, kumquat, lemon, orange, pear, raspberryBay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, star aniseAlmond, hazelnut, pecan, pistachio, walnutArmagnac, brandy, Calvados, red wine, whiskey, white wineCaramel, honey, maple syrup, mascarpone, vanilla
RaspberryApricot, blackberry, blueberry, grapefruit, grape, lemon, lime, mango, nectarine, orange, peach, pear, pineapple, plum, quince, rhubarb, strawberryCinnamon, cloves, ginger, mint, star anise, thymeAlmond, hazelnut, macadamia, peanut, pecan, pine nut, pistachioBrandy, champagne, cognac, Cointreau, Framboise, Grand Marnier, Kirsch, orange liqueur, red wine, rum, tequilaCaramel, chocolate, crème fraîche, honey, maple syrup, mascarpone, vanilla
RhubarbApple, apricot, blood orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, nectarine, peach, plum, raspberry, strawberryBay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mint, nutmegAlmond, hazelnut, pecanBrandy, Grand Marnier, Kirsch, port, white wineCaramel, crème fraîche, grenadine, honey, maple syrup, mascarpone, vanilla, white chocolate
StrawberryApple, apricot, banana, blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry, gooseberry, grape, grapefruit, guava, kumquat, lemon, lime, mango, melon, orange, papaya, passion fruit, peach, pineapple, plum, pomegranate, raspberry, rhubarbCardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, mint, nutmegAlmond, hazelnut, peanut, pecan, pine nut, pistachio, walnutAmaretto, brandy, champagne, cognac, elderflower liqueur, Grand Marnier, Kirsch, port, red wine, rosé, rum, sake, sherry, white wineCaramel, chocolate, crème fraîche, honey, vanilla

I'd love to know—what flavor combinations do you like to use in your recipes? Let me know in the comments below!

The Problem with Some Wine & Food Pairings

Whether you&rsquore a seasoned dinner party pro or a nervous first-time host, you&rsquore probably well aware that drinks deserve as much consideration as food itself. The right cocktail choices and wine pairings are, after all, a dinner party 101. But what happens if you&rsquore starting to wonder why drinks hold such high standing? The fun is in the cooking, after all, and drinks can often be an added consideration many of us could do without. Have you not already got enough on your plate!?

Sadly, as anyone who&rsquos attempted to go against the drink quo can tell you, there are pretty valid reasons for taking time over drink choices. To make sure you don&rsquot destroy a dinner party testing that theory, we&rsquore going to look at just what can happen when you throw caution to your cocktail selection.

Terrible taste

Drink pairings are often about complimenting flavors. Choosing Chardonnay for a chicken dish, for instance, can bring out every subtle taste you&rsquove packed into your recipe. Equally, options like the Climax Red Blend wine found on Naked Winery could take the taste of your muscle dish to new levels. It should go without saying, then, that not thinking about drink pairings can also do damage to a dish. Aside from just not complimenting flavour notes, an ill-fitting selection could trash taste buds altogether. Pairing a deep red with a chocolate dessert, for instance, is always disastrous. Equally, pairing white wine with strong tastes like blue cheese will never go down well. If you want your food to taste good, then, you could say that the right drink is vital.

Drunken dinner guests

Dinner parties should, of course, be about having a good time with your mates. But, it&rsquos vital to remember that this isn&rsquot a piss up. It&rsquos a respectable adult party. As such, drinks should be chosen for enjoyment rather than intoxication. This is all about sipping a drink gently rather than downing it in one, and the drinks on offer make sure that&rsquos the case. No one can down wine, after all, and cocktails are more about taste than alcohol content. If you skipped the drink research and put spirits out instead, though, you could soon end up with drunk guests on your hands. That&rsquos something you want to avoid considering that one drunk incident could easily ruin things for everyone. And, the best way to ensure that is to do your drink-related research.

Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash

A bad memory

We all want our guests to remember our dinner parties, but for flattering reasons rather than bad ones. While it may seem extreme to say, then, it&rsquos worth noting that the wrong drink pairings could end up leaving a bad memory in guest minds. Whether people get drunk, don&rsquot enjoy their food, or go without hydration altogether the wrong choice can be catastrophic in this sense. One thing&rsquos sure taking time over the perfect drink pairings is the best way to guarantee that your big night goes off without a hitch.

This post was written by a contributing writer and features sponsored links.

Beer and Pie Pairing for Thanksgiving

Fall is the best season for craft beer. You get all the smokey, chocolatey and spicy flavors, aging in harmony. So why wouldn’t you incorporate it into your Thanksgiving meal plan? Instead of only cracking open a few during the game, bring these amazing flavors to your dessert table instead. Pie and beer should, after all, be a thing for obvious reasons. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Pilsner Beer Glasses, 4 for $12.99 at Target

Because good beer deserves the right glass!

Pumpkin Pie With Pumpkin Ale

Try Southern Tier Pumking imperial ale for this no-brainer, meeting of the greats. It is spice-forward on the nose ( think clove, vanilla, allspice, roasted pecans) and so decadent you could easily forgo the pie and just have two of these. Also try Southern Tier’s Warlock imperial pumpkin stout. There’s a hit of chocolate with this one.

Pecan Pie With Caramel Stout or Brown Ale

Pecans and caramel are a medley made in food heaven. We like the Left Hand Salted Caramel stout especially because you can’t go wrong with the nutty flavor from the pie, matched with caramel notes from the beer. If you’re up for the adventure, mix Lazy Mongolia’s Southern Pecan American brown ale with the caramel stout (half and half) to lighten it a bit, and have the best of both worlds in a glass.

Sweet Potato Pie With Milk Stout

Whether you call it a casserole, pie, or soufflé, a sweet potato pie begs for a beer. Double down on the sweetness and opt for a milk stout like New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk bourbon barrel-aged stout. This is velvety oak and malt in a glass, basically.

Lemon Meringue Pie With Triple Ale or IPA

Canada’s Unibroue is an impressive brewery with very consistent and reliable brews. One of their crown jewels is the Le Fin du Mond triple ale. The lemony pour is blonde and creamy, so it pairs perfectly with something just as velvety as a meringue. The bubbles are fine, so they cut through the strong lemon flavor, making the whole experience light and refreshing—as a lemon meringue should be.

For all those hop-heads, Creature Comforts’ Tropicália IPA is also sure to do the trick. The big hop profile and bitterness will pair well with lemon. It’s a soft, fruit-forward, citrus-y beer. In other words, it goes down easy.

Chocolate Pie With Bourbon-Barrel Ale

Lexington’s Kentucky bourbon-barrel aged ale is one of our favorite beers of all time. It tastes buttery and is rich with caramel and vanilla notes. It’s aged in charred bourbon barrels, so you get the peaty taste of bourbon and oak, too. Warning: A slice of chocolate pie is decadent with this pairing. Use a snifter glass for this beer and make sure to get a good whiff before sipping.

Crème Brûlée With Belgian Ale

A classic crème brûlée is rich in vanilla flavors with a burnt sugar crust on top—that gives the dessert a delightful sweet and bitter combination. Pair this with what we like to call the real “champagne of beer,” Brooklyn Brewery’s Local #2 Belgian dark ale. It’s brewed with European malt and hops. The sweetness of the malts complements the bitterness of the sugar crust, and the hops cut through the sweetness of the custard. There are also hints of spice, dark fruit and honey in this one.

However, if you just want a beer form of this French dessert, consider Southern Tier’s Crème Brûlée imperial milk stout. Yes, it exists, and yes, it is delicious. This is a bold and heavy finish—but one you won’t be sorry about.

Blueberry Pie With Sour

Sours beers all the rage these days. Go for a sweet-and-sour combo with something like a blueberry pie and Creature Comforts’ Athena Berliner weisse. It’s a German-style wheat beer and isn’t overly tart—it’s a subtle and balanced sour. (Hot tip: when Athena is mixed with a splash of orange juice, it is the perfect brunch beer cocktail. You must try it. Maybe the morning after all this beer and pie experimenting.)

Top pairings

if you're planning to make a pumpkin pie for Hallowe'en or Thanksgiving here are some great wine and other pairings to serve with it.

Pumpkin pie tends to be very sweet and often a little bit spicy which means that it will overwhelm a lot of lighter dessert wines so you might as well go for broke and serve something equally luscious.

Australian Liqueur muscat

So what could be better than a treacley Australian liqueur muscat otherwise known as a sticky? Stanton & Killeen do a great Rutherglen Muscat or try De Bortoli&rsquos Show Liqueur Muscat.

Aussie &lsquoport&rsquo

The Aussies also make great tawny-port style wines which are a sweeter and less woody than the traditional Portuguese versions. Try the utterly delicious Grant Burge 10 year old tawny (also a great match for Stilton if you&rsquore thinking ahead to Christmas) or here you could go for the contrasting acidity of a late harvest riesling. Or try a French muscat like St Jean de Minervois.

Barley wine

. . .which is not wine but a strong sweet beer - absolutely brilliant with pumpkin pie. Try J W Lees Harvest Ale.

and finally . . . a tot of rich, sweet dark rum

In fact one of the new spiced rums would work pretty well - The Kraken Black Spiced rum would be a great colour contrast for Hallowe'en. Serve in small shot or liqueur glasses.

Here&rsquos my own recipe for a roast pumpkin and pecan pie together with some other suggestions for Hallowe&rsquoen entertaining if you&rsquore not having to trick or treat!

Photo ©leekris -

If you found this post useful and were happy to get the advice for free perhaps you'd think about donating towards the running costs of the site? You can find out how to do it here or to subscribe to our regular newsletter click here.

Sherry Wine Pairing: What desserts go well with sweet sherry?

Sweetened sherries are made from a mixture of dry wine with a sweeter one, like Moscatel or Jimenez. Because these sweeter wines tend to have deep caramelized, date, raisin or figgy notes, sweet sherries tend to pair especially well with rich chocolate desserts, especially ones that include fruit or caramel flavors. Create a perfectly-balanced course by pairing sweet sherry with raspberry chocolate molten cakes, a rich chocolate pecan pie, or a spicy chocolate fondue (with dates and figs for dipping, of course!).

Expert Wine Picks for Classic New Orleans Dishes

It doesn’t have to be Carnival time to enjoy the signature dishes of New Orleans. From jambalaya to bananas Foster, we asked three Big Easy sommeliers to sound off on 10 favorite Louisiana foods and the wines to best match with them.

Celebrating Mardi Gras at home? We have recipes for Chicken Andouille Jambalaya and Bananas Foster Bread Pudding to make for your Fat Tuesday festivities on February 28.

Meet the Wine Experts

Chris Oakley is sommelier at Meril in New Orleans, the newest concept in celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse’s restaurant empire.

Ryan Plas serves as “wine guy” at Coquette in New Orleans’ historic Garden District, where modern Southern cuisine meets an international wine list.

Bill Burkhart is sommelier at the swanky Grill Room at the Windsor Court Hotel, renowned for its extensive wine cellar, high tea service and luxurious spa (and included in Wine Enthusiast’s America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants 2015).

Pairing Wine with Jambalaya

“With chicken and sausage jambalaya, I would go with a light-bodied French Burgundy like Michel Gay et Fils 2011 Vieilles Vignes Chorey-lès-Beaune, because the high acid, lower alcohol and great earthiness will complement the dish perfectly by not compounding the spiciness,” says Oakley.

“My go-to would be a Reserva Rioja like R. López de Heredia 2009 Viña Tondonia Reserva,” says Plas. “ A wine with more age ought to meld seamlessly with the smoked, meaty flavors of the dish. Plus, the tannins become soft and stewed down with time and would match the texture.”

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“Hearty jambalaya calls for a wine with a bit of sweetness and acidity like Selbach-Oster’s 2014 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett from Mosel, Germany, which cuts the spicy nature of the dish,” says Burkhart.

Pairing Wine with Étouffée

“I love a German Riesling with étouffée, preferably an Auslese or Spätlese that has balanced acidity and sweetness,” says Oakley. “The rich sweetness and fruity characteristics of Fritz Zimmer 2015 [Piesporter Michelsberg] Auslese from Mosel will be great with a spicy étouffée.”

“For most kinds of étouffée, I would suggest a Chardonnay with a little lees contact or one that was aged in a neutral oak barrel, as too much oak would distract from the dish,” says Plas. “The initial acidity of Lioco Estero 2013 Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley cuts through the creamy texture of étouffée, while the lees contact will add a weight to the wine that would match the richness.”

“Étouffée is traditionally creamy and rich, so the high acid content in Château d’Epiré’s 2010 Cuveé Spéciale Chenin Blanc from Savennières, France, will refresh the palate,” says Burkhart. “The apple flavors in this particular wine are also delicious with the dish.”

Pairing Wine with Crawfish Boil

“There is nothing better than a nice sparkling rosé on a hot spring day in Louisiana with some spicy crawfish,” says Oakley. “The crisp bubbles in Bodega Cruzat Cuvée Réserve Extra Brut Rosé from Argentina wipe the spice off of your palate and get you ready for the next dozen crawfish.”

“I usually like beer with a crawfish boil, so I would go for something bubbly like Sommariva Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Superiore Brut,” says Plas. “It has a nice subtle sweetness and stone fruit backbone that would tone down the spice, while still being dry and minerally enough to match the intense saltiness of the crawfish boil.”

“Crawfish boil flavors can be subtle and the powerful profile of a Riesling like Robert Weil 2009 Kiedrich Turmberg Riesling Trocken contrasts nicely,” says Burkhart. “This wine shows Old World mineral characteristics that play nicely off the crawfish.”

Pairing Wine with Red Beans and Rice

“Because of the meatiness of red beans and rice, go with a medium-bodied Pinot Noir from California like Goldeneye 2012 Pinot Noir out of the Anderson Valley,” says Oakley. “You need something with a little bit of body, but [with] soft fruit expression.”

“For red beans and rice, opt for a light-bodied, old-vine Beaujolais like Domaine du Vissoux 2014 Cuvée Traditionnelle Vieilles Vignes,” says Plas. “Older vines give the wine length and complexity. Red beans can be spicy and have a fair amount of sausage in them, so something on the fruitier side would be nice with the heat.”

“The starchiness of the beans and rice will complement [a] fresh, fruit-forward, oak-influenced California Chardonnay like Hanzell 2014 Sebella Chardonnay from Sonoma Valley,” says Burkhart.

Pairing Wine with Seafood Gumbo

“A Portuguese Alvarinho would go great with seafood gumbo,” says Oakley. “My favorite is Obrigado 2015 Nortico Alvarinho, because of the crisp acidity, minerality and flavors reminiscent of coastal seafood.”

“Gumbo is a lot of fun to pair with because of its intensity,” says Plas. “I usually like doing what I call ‘gumbo wines’, which ideally are field blends…One of my favorite blends is Weingut Wieninger 2015 Wiener Gemischter Satz from Vienna, Austria. This local white is a blend of Chardonnay, Grüner Veltliner, Weissburgunder and Welschriesling.”

“We currently serve Piccini Prosecco Extra Dry from Valdobbiadene, Italy by the glass, and find the pairing to be delicious,” says Burkhart. “It’s a classic matchup of rich and spicy with bubbly and sweet.”

Pairing Wine with a Fried Oyster Po’ boy

“A good Champagne goes fantastically well with a fried oyster po’ boy,” says Oakley. “GH Mumm Cuvée R. Lalou Prestige Brut Millesime is a great representation from a classic house, due to its brioche notes that match with the French bread as well as the batter on the oysters.”

“Assuming it’s fully dressed, you would need something acidic enough to stand up to the pickles while also being salty enough to match the oysters,” says Plas. “I would love to have a slightly spritzy white wine like Ameztoi 2016 Txacolí de Getaria from northern Spain. Simply put, it reminds me of a salted lemon, which seems like an ideal flavor match for oysters, while the gulpability of this wine also matches the style of the po’ boy. I don’t eat a po’ boy slowly or gracefully, so you need something you can have a good swig of that is also palate cleansing, giving you a great first bite every time.”

“Assuming the po’ boy is dressed with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise, a Godello like Rafael Palacios 2012 As Sortes Godello from Valdeorras, Spain is a multifaceted wine that mixes citrus, Old World acidity and a round, soft finish, and complements this traditional New Orleans favorite nicely,” says Burkhart.

Cajun muffaletta sandwich with meat, olives and cheese / Getty

Pairing Wine with Muffaletta

“With a muffaletta, I would go with a nice earthy Rioja because of the strong flavors found in the meats and olives,” says Oakley. “Look for a medium- to full-bodied wine like R. López de Heredia 2004 Viña Tondonia Reserva.”

“Playing on its Italian roots and offering relief from the salt in the dish, I would reach for a light-bodied, delicious red from northern Italy like Elena Walch 2015 Schiava [Alto Adige].”

“Imagine having a muffaletta, then enjoying a dessert with cherries, strawberries and peaches right afterwards,” says Burkhart. “Dopff & Irion NV Brut Rosé Pinot Noir from Alsace offers refreshing fruit that serves to round out the hearty, salty flavors of the muffaletta.”

Pairing Wine with Bread Pudding

“With a sweet bread pudding, a Canadian ice wine like Inniskillin 2007 Icewine Cabernet Franc is still going to hold up, due to its high sweetness level and tangy fruit flavors,” says Oakley.

“To play up the raisins and sweetness, I would pick a cream Sherry and one of my favorites comes from Lustau—their East India Solera Sherry is unlike most Pedro Ximénez-dominated Sherries,” says Plas. “It offers beautiful dried fruit flavors, shows notes of cinnamon and still has just a tinge of acidity to cut through the density of the bread pudding.”

“Sauternes famously pushes the window of sweetness in wine without seeming sticky or cloying,” says Burkhart. “Bread pudding does the same in the world of desserts, which makes the two a perfect match. Try Château Haut-Mayne 2011 Sauternes.”

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding

Pairing Wine with Bananas Foster

“One of my favorite pairings with bananas Foster is Vin Santo. With balanced acidity, sweetness, and nuttiness, it’s an absolute hit and plays well off of the caramelized bananas,” says Oakley. “Badia a Coltibuono 2003 Vin Santo Chianti Classico is one I always enjoy with this dessert.”

“‘Rainwater’ style Madeiras remind me of brûléed bananas, so to mimic that flavor, I would pair this dish with Rare Wine Co.’s Historic Series Baltimore Rainwater Madeira,” says Plas. “The lightness of the wine itself would be a nice contrast to the heavy sweetness of the dish. Madeira also always has a pleasant nutty finish that would be a great accent to the vanilla.”

“The rare and delicious Vilmart et Cie Ratafia de Champagne dessert wine from France mixes hearty Pinot Noir flavors with unctuous sweetness and bracing acidity, which makes it a great match with bananas Foster,” says Burkhart.

Pairing Wine with Pecan Pie

“Warre’s Otima 10 Year Tawny Port is a fantastic pairing with pecan pie, due to the dark molasses flavors found in both the pecan pie and the Port,” says Oakley.

“For pecan pie, I would go with a J. Dumangin Ratafia de Champagne, a rather unsung fortified wine from the Champagne region made with grape juice of secondary pressings and brandy that has been barrel aged,” says Plas. “It is rare to see it outside of France, and J. Dumangin does a fine example with [its] prolonged barrel-aging. The prominent flavors of burnt sugar and dates plus a nutty finish allow it to mimic the caramelized nutty flavors of the pecan pie.”

“The bold, nutty, sweet characteristics in a late-harvest Pinot Gris from Alsace like Rolly Gassmann Vendanges Tardives is a perfect marriage with a traditional, Southern-style pecan pie,” says Burkhart.

6 Wine Pairing Tips

  1. Rosé is delightful with almost any food pairing. If you’re stressing out and don’t know what to do, get a dry rosé.
  2. Pinot Noir is an earthy, light red wine that pairs great with other earthy vegan foods. When you’re eating a Portobello burger or pasta with tahini sauce, you can confidently reach for a glass of Pinot Noir.
  3. Champagne (and other sparkling wines) aren’t just for special occasions. They’re exceptional palate cleaners which means they pair well with fatty dishes where you need to wake up your tongue.
  4. When dealing with extremely vegetal culprits (asparagus, artichokes, avocado), lean into the vegetal, crisp profile of white wines like Sauvignon Blanc to complement and highlight the greenness of the dish.
  5. If you have a heavily spiced or peppery dish, go light and sweet so you don’t increase the mouth burn. Try a crisp, sweet Riesling or Gewürztraminer.
  6. Wines should be more acidic and sweeter than the food. Otherwise, you risk the wine tasting flabby or bitter.

Pairing Beer with Food

You can’t pick up a food magazine (Edible Finger Lakes included) without reading a food and wine pairing or some suggestion on what wine to drink with what you eat. But what about brews? Don’t they deserve some special treatment when it comes to adding them to your meals? Seneca lake-based Wagner Valley Brewing is building a reputation and a following as an expert in making suggestions to help add beer to the dinner or lunch or even if you want to make a meal out of a simple glass of the cold stuff. We picked their brain for help on how to treat beer and food as solid culinary companions.

EFL: How do you approach pairing beer and food?

Wagner Valley Brewing: We have a great appreciation for both, and ideally we want to pair them to be an experience. We like finding subtleties in the food that really bring out subtleties in the beer and vice versa. In terms of its flexibility and ability to be paired with a variety of foods, beer stands up well against wine. Similar rules apply: Typically, bold flavors are going to accompany bold flavors, and something that’s more subtle is going to go with a more subtle beer. For example, a beer that’s got a really spicy floral character will pair well with spicy foods such as Thai curries. A sweet and savory brisket with barbecue sauce, on the other hand, goes well with a bold lager, such as our Sled Dog. While that beer is really nice as a stand-alone product, you’re going to bring out its rich, malty character by having it with the brisket.

EFL: How do pairings change through the seasons?

WVB: There seems to be a trend with craft breweries to release seasonal beers, and they usually are in keeping with what is appropriate for that season’s food. Springs beers are often not quite IPAs but pretty crisp and on the bitter side. In the summer, you want something that’s refreshing—lighter beers with lighter foods. Hefeweizens are great, and many saisons are released in the spring and summer. In the fall, the market gets flooded with pumpkin ales and Oktoberfests, which pair nicely with typical fall foods like apples or the obvious choice, pumpkin pie. Winter is the perfect time to get Russian imperial stouts that can seem fairly unappealing in the summer because they’re so strong and have so much weight. They go well with anything that’s sweet and sticky, great for hibernation mode. Plus, there are a lot of Christmas ales with cookie spices for the holidays.

Watch the video: Φώτα, Κάμερα, Λέξι! - Το Μεγάλο Μυστήριο της Πίτα Πεκάν. The Great Pecan Pie Mystery (May 2022).