Impossible food wine pairings: falafel sandwich!

Continuing our fine, week-long tradition of “impossible food-wine pairings” (see chips n salsa), we pick a food that we eat here in Amurrica and you decide what to pair with it. And today’s contestant is:

Falafel sandwich!

Two reasons. First, I had a such a terrific falafel in Paris a short time ago at L’As du Falafel in the marais. Great street food. So great that I thought (in one of those delusional traveling daydreams) about opening a chain of falafel shops back home.

Second, it turns out I was not the only one having such daydreams. In the Financial Times last week, James Altucher threw out a business idea of his, which is to open a national chain of falafel shops to capitalize on the phenomenal demand for good falafel seen in NYC. So we’re clearly on the front end of this food trend. Which means…we have to know which wine to pair with it!

Comments are open for your suggestions (and which falafel joint is your fave?). Please note this is not a meaty shwarma but the fried chick pea, hummus, lettuce or purple cabbage, chopped tomato, possibly eggplant, possibly onion, and white sauce version in a pita. Wow, after writing that description, I’m in need of lunch!


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19 Responses to “Impossible food wine pairings: falafel sandwich!”

  1. Ok Ok! This is exciting. I love a challenge. Let’s see…my favorite place in the city for these delicious chick pea concoctions is cafe Rakka on Ave.B btw 3rd and 4th street. The falafel is moist and not dried out like most joints in the city make them. I go white or even…dare i say…rose. Off the top of my head I would actually go with the picpoul de pinet or an albana from italy. But for a more common approach I’ll take a falafel sandwich with pita fries and a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to go please.


  2. Wow. EvWg took nearly all my suggestions–including the picpoul, which I kind of thought might be a bit much??

    So I’ll add an unoaked chardonnay, specifically the Four Vines Naked Chard if you can get it. I was thinking of the chickpeas and their oiliness rather than the toppings here, and felt a wine with more body would be better. Plus, then you can blog about if for WBW #36.

  3. That’s a yummy idea. I am going to pick up falafel from a place on the way home in Albany.
    Albany, NY

  4. I’ll be a lemming and say picpoul…or an Albarino. This needs loads of minerality, zing and fruit to work. Hummus is a nearly impossible food to pair wine with.

  5. nothin’ like an unoaked chard. They are a special treat especially coming from Cali. I will definitely look for the Four Vines Naked chard (even the name is cool) to pipe in on WBW#36. I had a great unoaked chard from the Santa Cruz Mts. back in April by a producer named Beauregard. Great stuff. Clean and fresh with depth and citrus. I don’t know if it makes over here on the east coast but if I can find it I’ll pick it up and bring it next time we see each other.


  6. chenin blanc from the loire valley or a super sharp gruner veltliner.

  7. a dry verdelho or albarino… it’s been so long since I’ve been anywhere within a hundred miles of a falafel joint I can’t help you there – but when you do open yours don’t forget to also serve a killer hummus!

  8. These sandwiches are delicious and a rarity to find someone who can really make them to perfection!

  9. I have to go two ways. If the falafel has lots of extra veggies in it like the one in the picture (which is making me sooooo hungry) I’d go with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. If, like most of the average falafels you can find out here with limp lettuce and tomato, I’d add some lemon on top to kick up the flavor and drink a cold crisp Riesling from Mosel-Saar-Ruwer (I know it sounds odd but the sweetness is minimized by the citrus and balances both out).

  10. How bout a chilled Beaujolais, like the 05 Vissoux Pierre-Marie Chermette?

  11. Oh – chilled Beaujolais might be my winner so far. I am going to have to try that pairing. Yum.

  12. Hmmm … Falafel sandwiches are so rich and fragrant, I think anything that is too fruity or aromatic (in a fruity way–herbal is OK since falafel is so herbalicious!) might just overwhelm it … so in my opinion, no sauvignon bland, chardonnay, viogneier, gruner, riesling, gewurtz … I think the rule is, when in doubt, go regional. Falafel is an Eastern Mediterranean dish, found in Greece and neighboring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, etc. Never heard of any great wines from Turkey and Lebanon is mostly red and Chard. I say go Greek? They’ve been making this stuff for a long time, and must have a nice crisp, minerally, but herbaceous white to match the refreshing, but heavy tang-and-mint tzatziki sauce or garlicky hummus … dare I say … (but I think they are fantastic) RETSINA!!! Or perhaps Assyrtiko, Moschofilero, Robola

  13. Love falafel, and pair it quite often with Hunter Valley Semillon. Works well.

    Dry Australian/Alsacian Riesling also works, and among reds, Southern Rhones or similar blends (like Torbreck’s Juveniles) also tend to pair well.

  14. I’m definitely gonna go with a Grüner Veltliner.

  15. Great food and wine pairing challenge, Dr. Vino. I especially appreciate this on behalf of my father’s side of the family, Persian. In any case, I have enjoyed a falafel before with a nice Gewurtztraminer. The exact name slips my memory, but I recall that the spice, as well as the sweet notes of the wine really held up well to the complexity of the falafel.

    In any case, hope everyone finds a great wine to go with this exciting sandwich!

  16. Are you kidding me? It would have to be a Chateau Musar!

  17. ummmm. how about a nice chilled vinho verde?

  18. i doubt this gets through, much less, that anyone reads it, but try an Arneis, Langhe, Roero…

  19. My fav … Falafel sandwich is made by me!(I’m a chef by the way) I serve it with my own roasted garlic & roasted red pepper sesame sauce which is a bit spicy, fresh tomatoes, green onions on warm pita bread from the oven. A side of tabbouleh and a glass of wine from my fathers vineyard (De Moura Winery Way- Ontario- Niagara on the Lake- Canada) His Shiraz which is named aptly after me his oldest daughter!


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