Pout It On!: Produce Pairings
Options for pairing drinks with produce-based food abounds
More chefs continue to add plant-based options from a variety of global cuisines to their menus, and that means you need to start getting more creative with how you pair drinks with those beautiful dishes. To get to the root of the matter, we tapped two experts—Davy Butterworth, beverage manager at Louisville’s Decca and Sean Burgess, beverage director at Pittsburgh’s Alta Via Ristorante—to help enlighten us to the possibilities.
Kimchi dumplings with red cabbage and ginger foam
I went with albariño from Rias Baixas in northwest Spain. It has salinity, minerality and tropical fruit notes from the ocean air. It complements the sweet and sour note of kimchi and the tropical fruit profile goes with the unique flavors of kimchi.
This could be a perfect Moscow Mule to reinforce the ginger and add a little spiciness, but it’s still really a refreshing cocktail.
Grain bowl with quinoa, black lentils, charred root vegetables, marinated kale, avocado, piquillo romesco and preserved lemon tahini
A Willamette Valley pinot noir. It’s a light and delicate grape that’s very versatile. It takes on black tea aromatic notes that will go nicely with charred vegetables and the toast note of barrel aging and aromatics will also tie in nicely with the lighter grains.
Maybe a California chardonnay that’s creamy and a little buttery—a nice rich wine for something that’s fresh and maybe a little tart and some strong flavors. The lemon tahini could cut through the oakiness of the chardonnay.
Spicy udon with tempeh, shiitake mushroom, toasted cashew and togarashi
I went with torrontes from Argentina with salinity and tropical fruit notes that will tie in well with the lighter broth and make the whole experience unique. It doesn’t have too much sweetness and a bit of acid to help enjoy the dish more.
With the spiciness, I went traditional with a German riesling so the residual sugar will help with the spiciness. If someone doesn’t like sweet wine, you can go with a drier Alsatian wine. I went pure contrast on this one.
Heirloom tomato and zucchini lasagna with sun-dried tomato marinara, macadamia ricotta and basil pistachio pesto
My ideal pairing for marinara is Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. It has nice, red fruit notes with cherry and cranberry, but it’s an earthy red Italian wine.
I went with Lambrusco, a nice, slightly dry, slightly sparkling fruity red with a chill on it that’s not sweet. It pairs nicely with a tomato marinara, and you don’t have to take it too seriously.