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Wine Hack: 7 Food and Wine Pairing Tips to Take You from Novice to Pro

Wine Hack: 7 Food and Wine Pairing Tips to Take You from Novice to Pro

white wine glass in bistro

    Do you find yourself intimidated when it comes to ordering wine?

    I remember when I was first getting into wine, the whole food and wine pairing thing used to make me nervous. What if I got it wrong?

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    But after a few misspent years working as a wine maker and many pleasurable years as a wine lover, I’ve come to realize there’s nothing to be afraid of.

    I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a food and wine pairing disaster. It’s one of those things that seems scary but is actually pretty easy to get right.

    So here are 7 tips to give you the confidence to think of yourself as a food and wine pairing pro.

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    1. Remember there are no rules.

    This may sound a little counter-intuitive but there are no rules that work for every situation and every person. So relax and don’t waste your time worrying about getting it wrong. At the end of the day, as long as you and your guests are enjoying yourselves then your food and wine matching has been a success, regardless of what the experts would have us believe.

    2. The food and wine must both taste great on their own.

    While duck and pinot noir have been known to make a little magic on the taste buds when the two are united, it’s not necessarily always the case. A watery, insipid, cheap pinot is still going to taste sad and bland even if it is teamed with the most succulent duck dish. And the same goes for the food. If it doesn’t taste good on its own, it’s not going to magically improve alongside even the most wonderful wine.

    3. Weight is important.

    Lighter, more delicately flavored food generally works best with lighter style wines. Heavy, tannic reds tend to be best hooked up with more robust meaty dishes. But of course, there will always be times when a light wine could team marvelously with a heavy rich dish.

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    4. Wine and food can contrast one another.

    Contrast is something that I personally love to play with. For example, using a light, acidic wine like a dry Riesling to cut through the oiliness of fried fish and chips is always a winner.

    5. Wine and food can compliment each other.

    Sometimes finding flavor similarities can result in a harmonious food and wine pairing experience. For example, matching the earthiness of mushrooms in a mushroom risotto can work a treat with a funky, earthy Pinot Noir. Or a fresh, minty Cabernet Sauvignon to compliment your classic roast lamb with mint sauce can be a flavor explosion.

    6. Trust your instincts.

    Like most things in life, if it feels like it isn’t going to work, then you’re probably on the right track. Of course it isn’t the end of the world if the food and wine are more at the divorce end of the relationship spectrum. You’ll still be able to enjoy each on their own. A sip of palate cleansing water in between mouthfuls can make all the difference.

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    7. Don’t be afraid to ask the experts.

    Most people who love their wine, are always happy to help out. So have a chat to the guy in your local wine shop or if you’re eating out, ask to talk to the wine waiter or somellier. It’s their job to help guide your wine decisions and if they’re good at their job they won’t be just trying to sell you the most expensive bottle on the list.

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    Last Updated on January 25, 2021

    What Should I Do Today? 30 New Things To Do Today

    What Should I Do Today? 30 New Things To Do Today

    It’s always fun to do something new, but often we fall into the trap of spending our weekends the same way.

    If you’re stuck in the same old routine, it might be time to try something new.

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    What should I do today? No ideas?

    Everything listed here is something you can easily do no matter where you live, and even on a tight budget! Try out one of these 30 new things today, you’ll be happy you did.

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    Try Out These 30 New Things To Do Today

    1. Visit a suburb in your city that you’ve never been to before, or somewhere you haven’t explored much.
    2. Learn ten phrases in a new language–what about Japanese, Italian or Portuguese?
    3. Listen to a genre of music you haven’t tried before–perhaps Jazz, Punk or Blues?
    4. Have a picnic in your local park complete with a packed lunch and your animal friends.
    5. Start a daily journal to write your thoughts in.
    6. Try a new cuisine–what about French, Lebanese or Korean?
    7. Visit your local library and borrow some books for the weekend.
    8. Plant some flowers in your garden. If you don’t have one, try an indoor potted plant.
    9. Visit a local museum or art gallery and view their latest exhibition.
    10. Learn a new skill–what about sewing, gardening or cooking? You’ll be surprised what you can learn in an afternoon.
    11. Say hello to a neighbor you don’t usually talk to.
    12. Make a card for a friend and send it to them with a handwritten note.
    13. Learn how to cook a new dish for dinner. We all get tired of eating the same thing, why not try making something new?
    14. Re-read an old favorite book. Don’t leave it gathering dust on your book shelf; get it out and read it all over again.
    15. Research the culture of a different country online–what about India, Guatemala or Sweden?
    16. Go for a walk or bicycle ride around your neighborhood.
    17. Watch a classic film like Casablanca, The Godfather or The Wizard of Oz.
    18. Make a photo album of a recent holiday you took. Don’t let your memories get lost on your computer hard drive; make a special keepsake album of your trip.
    19. Visit your local farmers markets and pick out some fresh produce. Farmers markets are full of delicious fresh fruit, veggies and more. Find your local market and take a visit.
    20. Plan a day trip to somewhere outside your city–it might be the seaside, mountains or another city!
    21. Check out what community events are running in your area and attend one.
    22. Make a birthday present for a friend. Handmade gifts are personal and much more special than anything you could buy from a store.
    23. Attend a play at your local theater. Support your local theater and have a fun night out at the same time.
    24. Volunteer with your local nature conservation society to plant some trees. Conservation societies are always looking for helping hands; do your bit and plant some trees.
    25. Be a tourist in your own city and visit all the popular tourist sites you’ve likely never been to (don’t forget your camera!)
    26. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to recently and have a good long chat.
    27. Put on your favorite song and dance your heart out. You might be surprised at how much fun you have!
    28. Invite some friends over for a BBQ. There’s nothing better than an afternoon spent with good friends and good food.
    29. Try out a new form of exercise like Pilates, tennis or swimming.
    30. Organize a clothing swap with your friends. You’ll have a great time, and save some cash and the environment all at the same time!

    Now that you’ve read my list of 30 new things to try today, my question for you is, “what new things will you try today?”

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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