Food & Wine Pairing

Working towards the perfect marriage of savours and aromas

With Australia as this year’s official partner country, food lovers at Vinexpo Hong Kong can discover how well Australian Grenache pairs with Asian cuisine in a Grenache and Pork Bun tasting hosted by Yang Lu, China’s first and only Master Sommelier. There will also be a session on emerging alternative varieties in Australia and a ‘coast to coast’ tour of Cabernet Sauvignon winemaking.

WHY DOES FOOD & WINE PAIRING WORK?
In its masterclasses on culinary arts, the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) underlines the fact that restaurant patrons are often looking for more than an excellent menu and an eclectic atmosphere: they are hoping to thoroughly enjoy a dining experience.

FOOD AND WINE PAIRING IS ALL ABOUT BALANCE. THE WINE MUST NOT HIDE THE FOOD, THE FOOD MUST NOT HIDE THE WINE

For this reason, more and more restaurants are moving toward an experience-first approach, which aims to improve the entire process for the restaurant patrons.
In many cases, restaurant owners, managers and chefs turn to food and wine pairing to impress their guests.

Food and wine pairings allow chefs and sommeliers to pair individual dishes with different wines in hopes of enhancing the flavour of both the food and the beverage. It is more of a subjective process than an exact science, leaving plenty of creative space to use to impress customers.

“Food and wine pairing is all about balance. The wine must not hide the food, the food must not hide the wine”, explains Gildas L’Hostis, EHL’s Senior Lecturer – Oenology.

WHY SHOULD RESTAURANT MANAGERS AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY EXPERTS PRIORITISE THESE PAIRINGS?
As experts have noted, drinking alcohol has become a pivotal part of the restaurant experience. Food and wine pairings allow consumers to feel like they are making an informed selection when they are perusing the menu.

According to Bloomberg, more people than ever (in the US and UK especially) are drinking more expensive bottles. This showcases the willingness of customers to spend more in order to enjoy more flavourful wines, particularly those that complement their meal and their surroundings. “In addition to offering different varieties of wine, restaurant operators also will want to offer pairings at various price points in order to include all customers”, continues Gildas L’Hostis.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF FOOD AND WINE PAIRINGS?
For Proprietors — It just makes good business sense to include food and wine pairings. According to Nightclub & Bar, pairing alcoholic beverages with food menu items makes a restaurant not only seem more cosmopolitan and interesting, but it also will help drive up profits and increase sales.

For Patrons — Generally, food and wine pairings will improve the experience. The people will feel more connected to the restaurant, and ultimately feel as if they atmosphere is enhanced because they can trust the selection they have made. It gives them an opportunity to be adventurous, without being worried that they have made the wrong choices. Food and wine pairings can be incorporated into a menu in a variety of ways. Restaurant owners may consider creating a food and wine pairing event, in which patrons sit down for a severalcourse meal. Each course would include an expertly crafted food and wine pairing aimed at improving atmosphere and pleasing the palate. Another option would be to list each appetiser, entree and dessert on the menu with one or two selections for a delicious wine that pairs well with it. This allows customers to make a choice that fits their own unique tastes and desires.

PAIRING COCKTAILS WITH FOOD
In another report on pairing – this time with cocktails, Nightclub & Bar suggests that “Carefully crafted cocktails can lend themselves to being paired with food. In fact, unlike with beer and wine, cocktails can be created at your bar with ingredients specifically designed to pair with your menu. Your consumers are ready; they are characterised as adventurous and always looking for the next thing”.