Do you consider yourself a big fan of wine and food pairings? more. kitchen & bar in Raleigh, North Carolina recently invited Swig to take part in their newest offering, a “Chef Experience” dinner featuring chef-driven food paired with wine. During this special dinner, we had the opportunity to ask the sommelier one-on-one questions about the food and wine pairings, which are great to keep in mind as you create your own pairings at home and shop for wine.
What makes the “Chef Experience” dinner so unique at more. kitchen & bar is that the dinner is based on your personal preferences and includes pairings by their sommelier. One week before the Chef Experience dinner, more. kitchen & bar asks attendees to fill out a survey, which includes questions about your past travel experiences, food preferences and more. Executive Chef Scott Phillips builds a special menu for each person based on their answers.
For the first course, Chef Scott served adobo brined cashew chicken with a black pepper gastrique, white BBQ sauce and a celery-chili relish. The wine pairing included a Charles Bove Vouvray 2015. This dish was divine! It was fried chicken with what amounted to a spicy, sweet and sour garnish. The Vouvray was an excellent pairing because of the lovely tropical and citrus fruits. Vouvray is also a great pairing with many Asian cuisines, a region that inspires Chef Scott at more. kitchen & bar. Keep this wine and food pairing in mind as you prepare Asian cuisine at home.
The second course of the evening included yolk butter raviolo with a lemon-chive glaze paired with Zocker Gruner Veltliner 2014. Raviolo (singular of ravioli) is one of my favorite dishes and Chef Scott created a stunning version. It was made with an egg yolk instead of cheese and was bathed in a citrus glaze, which was perfect to balance the big creaminess of the egg. The high acid Gruner was a perfect counterbalance to this creamy dish, keeping the palate clean and making the dish not feel so heavy. Another excellent dish with a great pairing!
Next was a beef slider with tomato, onion, pickle, mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup on a pretzel bun paired with Chateau De Pizay Morgon 2015. Hello, Beaujolais and cheeseburgers! Chef Scott and his sommelier Ryan definitely know how to operate a tasting menu. Beaujolais is great with cheeseburgers because it’s fruity, light and not too tannic. With the summer months ahead, we highly recommend trying this unique pairing at home when you’re grilling.
When you think steak and wine, your mind probably runs straight to a Cabernet Sauvignon, and with good reason because Cabernets and steak go together like bread and butter. However, there are much more interesting pairings out there like the Pinha Dao 2014 from Portugal that paired with the hanger steak at more. kitchen & bar. Dao wines are big and funky wines made with a blend of Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz. These can be pretty tannic wines but the one featured during the “Chef Experience” dinner had tannic showing without going overboard, and paired nicely with Chef Scott’s hanger steak cooked medium rare with chimichurri and smoked carrot puree.
Finally, dessert! I always love dessert pairings because sweet wine is fun to play around with, and one rule of thumb is that the wine has to be sweeter than the dessert. Simple, right? Not quite all the time because super sweet wine can be really expensive. Take Sauternes for instance, the top house of the region, Chateau d’Yquem, is usually one the most expensive wines of Bordeaux. How do you get around that? You find excellent wines from similar regions. This wine from Loupiac, one of the dessert wine villages around Sauternes, is a great example. Made with the same grapes and the same method as Sauternes, it was a good choice. Chef Scott’s dessert included a black sesame doughnut with a black sesame and espresso custard, which was on the savory side making it a great choice overall for a wine pairing. Definitely one of my favorite pairings of the night!
The experienced and knowledgeable staff at more. kitchen & bar created a wonderful “Chef Experience” dinner, and the best part is that you can do it too. This great dinner experience is only $65 and worth every penny. Or just go have a glass of wine and chill out. Check it out if you are in the Raleigh area and would like excellent food along with an incredibly flexible wine list. Or try to create similar pairings at home!