(You ever eat Époisses after a huge meal? Run out a pound of the stuff, some big, bad supersomething red wine and plenty of bread as the candles on your table sputter, and everyone deconstructs what just happened, what was served and why and how it made everyone feel? Life gets strange and fast. Époisses is like a drug. It’s the tequila of cheese.)
So writes Sam Sifton, NYT restaurant critic, in a blog post about David Chang’s new restaurant, Ma Peche.
Epoisses, of course, is a deliciously stinky, gooey cheese from Burgundy with a rind washed in marc de Bourgogne, a local brandy. A little wooden box tries its best–mostly with futility, as I have noticed when transporting it on a crowded train–to trap the aromas that emit from these little 250g wheels. On the palate, the intense, earthy, barn-yardy ripeness can be lingering and dominating, almost too much to pair with wine. Which would you choose? Or is it…impossible?!?
Personally, the last thing I’d want with Epoisses is “some big, bad supersomething red wine.” In general, I find white wine and cheese produce successful, if underrated, pairings with cheese courses. Oh, and I’ve never had one of those apparent stoner moments with Epoisses that Sifton describes. Maybe his was a little too ripe?
Granted, I was in college backpacking through Europe at the time and I admit that having scarfed down platters of sushi in the interim, the herring now sounds intriguing. Now is the time to find out if it is: New Catch Holland Herring, a short-lived seasonal treat, arrives in NYC June 9th. The epicenter of these fresh, briefly cured fishes seems to be Russ & Daughters (but they are available at other restaurants throughout the city). Joshua Russ Tupper recommends the traditional method of enjoying the herrings: dredging the fillets in freshly chopped onion, holding them by the tail and devouring without utensils.
Mixologists in the city are suggesting spirits pairings for this delicacy. But certainly wine should be on the table (assuming it’s not eaten while standing up). Help the Dutch and those around the world able to try the herrings: Which would you choose? Or is it…impossible?!?
The image here is a reduced size image from a NY mag post on the topic.
Who would ever think about pairing wine with tzatziki? Why, the good folks at Trader Joe’s! (Or should I say, Trader Iosif, as is their wont.) They put it right there on the packaging–a platter of tzatziki and pita, a view of a bay, and some red wine…
Is that what you would go for pairing wine with this “creamy cucumber garlic dip”? Or is it…impossible?!? Hit the comments!
I recently met Doug Crowell, owner of Buttermilk Channel, a restaurant in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, that has an all-American wine list and emphasizes local food sources. He told me about an immensely popular dish on the menu: fried chicken and waffles.
I wondered how he pulls off this unlikely combination so I asked him to describe the preparation. He said that the chicken is soaked overnight in buttermilk, then floured and fried. The waffle batter is spiked with cheddar. The cole slaw is traditional; the sauce blends balsamic vinegar and maple syrup.
Sweet, savory, fat–the grand slam of flavor! Apparently so, given the popularity of the dish. As to the wine pairing, which way would you go for this dish? Or do all those flavors make it…impossible?!? Raise the degree of difficulty, if you so desire, by going with an American wine in honor of the spirit of their list.
All the chatter in the NY dining scene is about cheese made from breast milk. At Klee Brasserie, Chef Daniel Angerer blogged about making cheese from his own lactating wife, blogged about it, and the requests to try it came pouring in. So he started giving it away as a canapé with figs and Hungarian pepper. Sadly, the story doesn’t describe the flavor profile of the cheese (looks like a chevre ball). Nonetheless, for a wine pairing, the chef recommends…Riesling.
What do you think? Impossible?!?
Not intimidated by the Herculean challenge of pairing wine and Korean food, I selected a range of wines for a Korean new year feast last week.
The “impossibility” of the pairing centers on two things: 1) kimchi and spices and 2) a culture clash that came up in our previous discussion about whether wine (and alcohol) should be seen as a complement to the food or as a “palate cleanser,” a role that the high-octane soju often performs at Korean feasts.
Playing sommelier for the evening, I selected a range of wines Read more…
Chicken yakitori [japanese inspiration]
Beef skewers (do you know bulgoki?)
A variety of “jun” (pictured, right) which is something like potato pancakes but with fish, beef, vegetables, or seafood
California roll or ”kimbap” which is rolled “maki” with veggies/beef
Side vegetables – pickled, salad-like
Apparently it is impossible to pair Korean food with wine! And I’m not just saying that. Consider this comment from sommelier-to-the-max, Rajat Parr (from What to Drink with What you Eat): “I love Korean food, but it’s hard to have any kind of wine with it unless you have a Vinho Verde or something that’s really high in acid…the acidity in kimchee just kills wine and it’s all over.”
What do you think: do you buy the high acidity suggestion? Or do you prefer something aromatic and off-dry? How about bubbles? Or something slightly oxidative? Do reds work? Or is pairing Korean food with wine impossible!?!
Related: “Kimchi: impossible food-wine pairing?“
Consider this exchange. Paul Grieco, owner of Hearth restaurant and Terroir wine bar in NYC, tweeted that he was going on the TODAY show to talk wine and chocolate. (See segment here: both regular and sparkling shiraz feature.) Eric Asimov tweets back “chocolate and wine? what are you thinking, man? Who cares about what to drink with chocolate? Food mag nonsense.”
Oooh, snap! Wine and chocolate are two fine things. But this is one of those “impossible” pairings that has yet to convince me. My rule of thumb: Have wine before dinner. Have wine with dinner. But let chocolate dessert stand alone! Then resume drinking, if necessary. (Or try a Banyuls with the chocolate dessert if it’s a question of life or date.)
Have your say about the great chocofight 2010 in the comments–or with the latest poll!