Tue 14 Jun 2016

Food and Wine… or Wine and Food?


Which came first: the wine and the food, or the food and the wine?

A question not quite as old as the chicken or the egg, but one that, in some households, may be even more hotly contested!

Do you cook up your signature dish then look under the stairs to see what’s in the wine rack? Or do you trawl through the latest List to see which bottle gets the palate tingling and salivating, and then find the perfect food to make it shine?

There certainly are strong arguments for both approaches.

When we asked members through a poll on our homepage whether the food or the bottle was the first ingredient for a meal, 59% said they chose the food first, 16% the wine and 25% opted for a noncommittal approach.

Food and wine

What I’d be really interested to know is what the pre-meal-prep thought processes are; and how far in advance does the planning start?

One thing most parties will agree on is that the better the dish, the better the wine to match.

Personally on a week night, whatever dish can be cobbled together from what’s in the fridge (a throwback to Ready Steady Cook?), gets thrown with whatever cork has already been pulled or looks like it will wash down pretty well. For a weekend meal, though, or eating with friends, my wine choice tends to come first.

The great thing about being passionate about either food or wine, it’s going to lead to a more adventurous outlook on the other. Imagine a set of scales with a glass of wine on one side and a plate on the other, and when the flavours balance and work off each other to enhance the sensory experience, it can be a magical moment!

There are of course a few principles to take into consideration, which can be really handy and found in the Tastebud Terrors section of our website.

To add to that, we have our popular Society’s Food & Wine Matcher tool, which can be used to get ideas to match to a dish; and each wine we sell is match on its product page to a number of dishes which will enhance it.

The Society's Food & Wine Matcher offers wine matches for your dish.

The Society’s Food & Wine Matcher offers wine matches for your dish.

However, these are only guidelines, and half the fun is in the personal experience and the little surprises.

If you enjoy the paring, that’s the right one. I’ve witnessed people drinking youthful claret with delicate fish, and getting more enjoyment out of putting their two favourite things together than any sommelier or expert in the world could (probably) recommend to them!

Thom Buzzard
Member Services

If there are any weird and wonderful pairing experiences you’ve accidentally come across, please share them in the comments below so we can give them a go!

Categories : Miscellaneous


  1. David Smith says:

    One exception (there may well be others) to the ‘better the dish, better the wine to match’ mantra is, to me, chip shop battered fish and chips (preferably, but these day, regrettably rarely, wrapped in newspaper) with a really good Champagne – the best you can afford!

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