Pasta with a creamy sauce, or a grilled steak – how do they taste? The answer to this question is obvious to anyone who has ever tried either of these dishes. However, when combined with proper alcohol, the very same dishes can provide an entirely different, sometimes quite surprising, palette of flavours. This is what the magic of food pairing is all about.
The principle of food pairing, which means combining foods and drinks, is becoming more and more popular.
-A classic definition of food pairing encompasses pairing food with wine, in order to make dining experience even more pleasurable – says Przemysław Antoni Bogdański, sommelier at Piwna 47 restaurant in Gdańsk. – Any decent restaurant, aside from a food menu that stands out from the crowd, will have a good wine card – he adds.
In fine-dining restaurants, where guests order the so-called “set menus”, wines are paired arbitrarily. This gives a particular composition of flavours, the effect of collaboration between the head chef and sommelier. Sometimes, restaurants will allow for some degree of frivolity, and pair beverages on demand. In Piwna 47 restaurants, wine is paired with particular dishes, depending on guest’s preferences.
-Sometimes, you need to minimise losses. From a sommelier’s point of view, this usually means a situation in which guests at one table order a variety of dishes, but with one type of wine to go with them. Although I always try to convince my guests that wine is a natural complement for food, and it should be selected as carefully as what we eat, I do not always manage to succeed – says Przemysław Antoni Bogdański.
The basics of food pairing? Dishes with more fat than protein content should be served with sour wines, preferably white. – This makes the food seem tastier. The wine clears your palate every time you take a sip – explains Przemysław Antoni Bogdański.
If food is high in protein, like a steak, then it should be paired with red wines rich in tannins.
The Gdynia-based restaurant Krew i Woda lets their guests choose from a selection of 100 wines. – And our selection will continue to grow – says Marta Pieterwas, owner of the restaurant. – We are continuously expanding our wine list with new products that we search for ourselves. From our trip to the Balkans, we brought Slovenian and Croatian wines. Currently, we are introducing Hungarian wines, Furmint Kakasok from Abraham Pince, and Bikaver from Heimann Family. You could tell that we’re introducing food pairing during our trips – she says.
Krew i Woda restaurant puts guests’ tastes first. – Wines are selected according to our guests’ preferences. We are aiming at providing interesting, unusual wines. We would like to surprise and give more than others. Guests often praise us and point out that many of the wines that we suggest are new to them. This gives us motivation to search further – says Marta Pieterwas.
Although food pairing is mostly associated with combining wine with a dish, this rule applies to combining any existing beverages to any particular item in a menu. Among the classics, there are such pairs as herring and vodka or prosecco, or porter beer with demi-glace meat.
PG4 brewery, located in Central Hotel Gdańsk, meat, side dishes, and cheese are paired with beer.
Meat is paired with beers such as schwarzbier, March beer, and pils. Fish go with wheat or lager beers. Desserts are best when served with dark, rye beers. The owners say that the restaurant menu is made with beers made in the brewery in mind.
-Each brewer has their own style, and prefers different flavours. This is why each type of beer will taste differently, even if the name remains the same. Our brewer, Johannes Herberg, constantly consults the brewery offer with head chef, Przemysław Formela. They discuss the joint offer of the brewery and restaurant, so that beverage matches food. During the brewing process, both the brewer and the head chef control the beverage. This allows them to keep an eye on the quality of the beer – says Ewa Siuda from Central Hotel Gdańsk.
Although food pairing seems pretty simple and straightforward, it’s good to listen to experts who work in restaurants that we visit. They will show us the best pairings of food and drinks. This will guarantee a complete experience, and will give us a chance to discover new flavours within familiar ones.
Piwna 47 Food&Wine Bar
Piwna 47, Gdańsk
phone.: +48 58 380 88 80
Pieterwas Krew i Woda
Antoniego Abrahama 41, Gdynia
phone.: +48 570 282 282
Podwale Grodzkie 4, Gdańsk
phone.: +48 668 215 608