One of the basic rules to consider when doing food and wine pairing is to do a regional pair. French wine with French food (you can even go so far as to recommend wines from Burgundy with their food), American wine with American food, and so on.
I’ve been missing Chile for a while now, and I decided to prepare a pseudo-Chilean fare for a dinner with a friend.
OK, so the food didn’t go with the guest (Oli is French)… But to be fair, she has spent some time in South America, so I thought the food would still be interesting to her.
I prepared some jalapeños with feta cheese (an appetizer I learned from my hosts in Uva Dulce), grilled salmon with merkén (a recipe I learned from the funny gentleman who drove me to the airport), some quinoa, and a first attempt at gumbo (ok that one’s American, but we saw The Princess and The Frog over the weekend and I was hankering for some New Orleans food).
Since most of the food was (almost) Chilean, I decided to pair it with Carmenere (click here for a closer look at the grape).
After getting a tip from a chef friend on how to make roux, Schrumpf decided to startle me, making me nearly screw up the gumbo by dropping an unnecessarily large amount of flour (thank goodness the broth saved the day). After momentarily (roughly an hour) having a panic attack because it coagulated, got rescued, then took FOREVER to turn brown, I ended up making a pretty decent (and Chileanized with merkén) gumbo.
The salmon turned out fine (phew), and the jalapeños pleasantly surprised both Chad and Oli.
I would normally pair a predominantly seafood menu with white wine (not to mention something needed to compliment all the spice), but the Carmenere pairing went well. The cherry-strawberry notes cloaked by a subtle touch of black peppers went nice with the food… Made me think of all my adventures in Chile, which we discussed over dinner, along with Oli’s stay in Colombia.
Makes me think of what regional pairing to do next… Salud!