how to marry food and wine

unnamed 45

Being French, it is assumed that I must be a wine connoisseur. I am not.

Like a lot of people: “I don’t know much about wine, but I know what I like.”

I think wine appreciation is often a load of pretentious twaddle. Sure, it does help to know the basic rules. I learned some of them as part of my French culture but, like food, it’s a matter of personal taste.

And there are no rules or regulations for pairing food and wine. The secret is to match like with like.

So, just relax and enjoy!

Here are some of my tips:

unnamed 11 2
unnamed 15
unnamed 12 1

3. Forget what you heard. A powerful red wine will swamp the flavour of some cheeses. Therefore, you should choose the wine according to the strength of the cheese.


Beer can also be appreciated with some cheeses , like Wensleydale for example, and Cider with Pont L’Évêque.

unnamed 17

4. Ideally, one should cook with the same wine, but that might be somewhat extravagant!

5. Like clothes, which should not overwhelm the wearer, nor should the food and the wine overwhelm each other.

pink circle 2 3


1. Think about flavours, acidity, saltiness or sweetness in the recipe, and try to find a wine with similar characteristics. Meaty stews are best matched with big Reds.

unnamed 13 1


2. If you use wine in a sauce, it makes sense to serve it with a wine of the same colour – white meat or fish with a delicate flavoured wine like Chardonnay, Chablis or Riesling , red meat and game with a full bodied red wine such as Merlot, Cabernet or Syrah.

unnamed 18
unnamed 16
unnamed 19 1

6. If you are eating spicy food, bear in mind that a high alcohol wine will make the dish taste even hotter.

7. Guests arrive unexpectedly. No time to bring a bottle of red wine to room temperature. Take off the metal ring around the neck, keep the cork on, and put the bottle in the microwave for 15 seconds. Et Voilà!

unnamed 9 5

8. On the other hand, modern homes are often overheated. In such cases, even red wine would benefit from a brief chilling.

How to Marry Food and Wine
unnamed 22

10. I love a very pale coloured Rosé. It reminds me of my beloved Provence. Rosés are light and a good accompaniment to most dishes. 

In the past, people returning from Mediterranean holidays with bottles of Rosé used to complain it didn’t travel well. Not true today. The quality has improved and production has increased. You can now find a large selection on the shelves of most of our supermarkets.

9. Contrary to public opinion, Champagne is best served at room temperature rather than chilled but that is a matter of taste.

pink circle copy 5
unnamed 24
unnamed 23

photo by Grant Sainsbury

unnamed 31



For every glass of wine you drink, take one of water. That way you won’t get dehydrated, or headachy the next morning.