Better living through nature
If you’re lucky, or have the right connections, you might see the 15,872 square feet of red carpet at the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center in person this weekend. You’ll marvel at the five-foot crystal empire chandelier over the stage and maybe even drink from a gold-rimmed glass of your preferred beverage. The rest of us, however, will be watching the 17th annual Screen Actor’s Guild Awards on television, at home or perhaps at a friends’ place. But that doesn’t mean we have to miss out on the glamour of the occasion, or the delectable, herb-rich food and wine.
Use our guide to pair wine with your favorite herbs for a flavor-packed meal.
Photo by Marc Roberts/Courtesy Flickr
According to the Screen Actor’s Guild website, guests at the event will be served a menu created by James Beard Award-winning chef Suzanne Goin. It will consist of:
• Blood oranges with dates, arugula and parmesan
• Beluga lentils with carrots, pinenuts and feta
• Slow-roasted King salmon with cucumbers, yogurt and ginger-mint chutney
• Slow-roasted lamb with chickpeas, black olives and feta salsa verde
• Fresh baked herbed crostini with parmesan, chopped thyme and parsley
And they’ll be drinking specially picked, exclusive wine, perfect for enhancing the best flavors of the dish and cleaning the guest’s palate for the next bite.
You could, of course, recreate these dishes yourself, just to be that much more in the moment. There’s dinner planned, but can you recreate the wine?
Whether you want get as close to the experience as possible or just relax with a more familiar dish, the right wine can make a difference to your experience of a dish’s flavors. And to help you make up your mind as you stare into your liquor cabinet or at the shelves of options at the store, we have optimal wine and herb pairing highlights fresh from our February/March 2011 issue for your perusal:
• If you’re cooking with bitter herbs like arugula and dill, drink light or medium white wines such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. These also go well with basil.
• Do you like spicy flavors? Pair your favorite foods with a Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling wine but avoid high-alcohol, tannic wines so that the flavors don’t overpower each other.
• Dining on something rich and creamy? Try a sparkling wine to help cleanse your palate between bites and maximize flavor enjoyment.
• Consider a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Shiraz with savory mint or oregano dishes.
• Ever tried an ice wine? Try a sweet dessert wine like late harvest or ice wines with dessert. The intention is that the wine is sweeter than the dessert.
This is only a beginning to herb and wine pairings. Confused by a mix of herbs or flavors? Experiment! What dominates? How does that change when you try a different wine? Don’t like white wine? Add sage to a more traditionally white-wine dish to make it more red-wine friendly, or use a Pinot Noir in the place of that Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc. Whatever you do, enjoy yourself and don’t get too hung up on the details—eat, drink, have fun and cheer madly for your favorite movie star.
Enjoy your weekend, whether you’re watching the SAG Awards or not, and be sure to check out our February/March issue for the complete three-page wine-and-herb chart, a guide to the many flavors of wine and a recommendation of our favorite, herb-friendly wines.