There are those classic wine pairings: Champagne and caviar, Cabernet and black pepper steak, Riesling and duck à l’orange… Then there are those days when you’ve just had a long day at work and you realize you’re going home to PB&J and a packet of Tic-Tacs. That was me last week. What did I do? I considered skipping the wine altogether and buying myself a proper dinner.
Instead, I thought of the popular new Bubbledogs restaurant in London. They serve hotdogs with Champagne. “Some people think that Champagne is only for special occasions and therefore should always be drunk with fine food. Bubbledogs restaurant has proved this wrong and showed that by pairing this delicious drink with a hotdog is a genius combination” says Roberson Wine expert Anna von Bertele.
With Anna’s advice, I was able to find more peculiar pairings that would keep my belly full and my taste buds happy. No more lonely Friday nights watching CSI and choking down crap wine and an even worse dinner.
We’ll start with my go-to meal:
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
Pair it with: French Muscat
Why it works: Let’s be honest, this sandwich is essentially a dessert. Muscat wines are a dessert wine, and it works well to pair with sweet foods. The notes of grape will enhance the rich fruity flavours of the jelly, while the balanced acidity softens the richness of the peanut butter.
Pair it with: Riesling
Why it works: The last thing you want is to combine a salty food with high tannin red wines. Riesling is light, with a hint of sweetness and acidity to balance the saltiness of the crackers.
Pair it with: Champagne
Why it works: While I hope you aren’t eating days-old sushi, combining fresh fish like sushi and sashimi with a crisp, dry bubbly is very refreshing. Anna says, “Some people think that Champagne is only for special occasions and therefore should always be drunk with fine food. But it doesn’t have to be. The acidity of a low-sweetness Champagne cleanses the palate for your next bite.”
Swanson TV Dinner
Pair it with: Barolo
Why it works: Barolo is a highly tannic wine, so it can make foods taste bitter if they don’t have a strong enough flavour. Meat, gravy, and potatoes won’t compromise the wine and vice versa – as long as you skip the ketchup!
Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Pair it with: Tawny Port
Why it works: Tawny port is aged in an oak cask and is typically a dessert wine. The mellow sweetness doesn’t compete with the Ben & Jerry’s, but the nutty flavour with complement the chocolate well. It’s also a nice combination of textures with the chewy cookie dough pieces.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Pair it with: Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Why it works: Chicken noodle soup is very salty so the strong acidity of the Sauvignon plays its part in balancing this sensation. It also has a light body with lemon and herb aromas, contributing to the flavours of the soup.
Big Mac with Fries
Pair it with: Merlot
Why it works: The heaviness of the starchy fried potatoes is rounded out by the easy tannins of the Merlot, but it’s rich and fruity so it pairs nicely with the beef burger and slightly sweet Mac sauce.
Alyssa James is a Canadian expat that loves writing about wine, food and travel. She is addicted to the internet and loves strange stuff she stumbles across online and inspirational quotes. Follow her blog Alyssa Writes.