Pairing Wines with Classic Filipino Dishes

Adding a touch of elegance to regular dinners

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Of course, even though wine is made to be enjoyed and drunk, understanding it is a totally different matter.  AskMen.com actually puts it succinctly into words with “Aside from public speaking and bad turbulence during a flight, few things cause more fear in a wide range of men than wine tasting.” People are often worried that they might be doing something wrong, or that their opinions don’t agree with the general consensus. This is a common problem, especially among Filipinos.

Filipinos aren’t really big wine drinkers, and most would just settle for a cold glass of coke or beer at the dinner table, and bottles of wine were reserved for special occasions and holidays. As wines grew cheaper, however, more Filipinos gained access to them, and many began to explore the delicate, intricate flavors of the many kinds of wine available. Last year, M&S held free wine tasting events in some of their branches in Metro Manila, allowing lucky customers to learn from wine expert Chris Murphy himself. This marked the beginning of a renewed fervor for wine in the country, and now, many people have begun experimenting with food and wine pairings.

It’s fairly easy to figure out which wines go with which dishes when you’re working with a western menu, as there are so many guides out there. But Filipino cuisine, as extensive and undocumented as it is, is a different story. Not to worry though, as Pinakbet.net says, “in pairing wine, there aren’t rules at all. If you love the way it tastes, pair it with whatever you want.”
If you want to try pairing your favorite dishes with wine and don’t know where to start, however, here are a few pointers:

  • Red wine usually goes with dark meat, as the flavors of the two meld together and you don’t run the risk of one overpowering the other. Try sipping a decadent red wine with pork adobo, beef steak, binagoongang baboy or sisig.
  • White wine will go great with lighter dishes and white meat. Drink some white wines when you’re having fried fish, rellenong bangus, or sinampalukan and pininyahang manok.
    As for desserts, heavier wines go with desserts that are thicker in consistency and denser in flavor. Reds will go with chocolate cakes and puddings, and whites will go with tarts and pies.

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Once you’ve gotten a feel for the many different wine pairings and have tasted some wines, you can then begin to experiment — not just with food and wine pairings, but also with using wine in your cooking!


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