Certified WSET Educator Matthew Gaughan interviews Andreya Nightingale of Mortar Pestle Cooking for this podcast. They discuss the concepts behind food and wine pairings, what to pair with Chardonnay from different climates, and a specific dish that Andreya has prepared to match with Beaujolais.
Publish Date: Jan 15, 2021
In today's episode, I have a good friend of mine. Andrea. Knighting Girl, who's also a chef on her company, is called Mortar Pestle Cooking. Hello, Andrea. Hello, Matthew. Welcome to my podcast. I'm so thrilled to be here. Good. I'm glad you're thrilled. I'm thrilled to have you as well. Andrea Andi. I have known each other for quite a while. We work together on we share a passion for food and for wine, and especially when the two are together. And that's why Andrea is here today to talk about food, comparing with wine. And so we'll start by talking about some of the concepts of food and wine pairing. So that's two different approaches. I think contrasting and complementing flavors and texture and profile. So complementing could be red wine with meets kind of classic dishes and classic parents. White wine with fish. Hang acid food with high acid wine, whereas contrasting, could be putting together different flavors or having a high acid food with low acid wine like viognier with fish, for instance. What's your approach, Andre. So I I think both approaches are, you know, are appropriate, and generally if I have the opportunity to taste the wine first. I'm looking for the structure of the wine, um, in terms of acid and tannin, and I let that really be the guiding factor for me to decide. Um, what kind of food to pair with it. And generally, I would like, you know, if it's a high acid wine I'm looking for t make a dish that has, um, that's going to match that, but be a little bit lower so that the wine itself doesn't end up tasting flat. But something else that I always, um, I'm looking for is the different sort of characteristics in the wine that jump out to me. So those might come from some of the fruit or the maybe the non fruit characteristics. And I'll often incorporate different spices and herbs in order to speak to those elements on Ben, also for the tannin structure. If the wine is particularly astringent, I'll think about adding some fat, salt and protein to that in order to really soften those tannins. S 01 of the things you're really emphasizing there is the structure off the wine e think a lot of people when pairing food and wine, I think about flavors that the flavors of the wine was much the flavors of the food. But really, that's going to be impossible A lot of the time. We're really talking about tannins and acidity on what kind of foods have high acidity. What you say. Well, Citrus, particularly in California, is Citrus is an ingredient that I use, um, as close to year round as possible, either in a preserved format, more in the summertime or fresh in the winter. Um, vinegars are a great ingredient. If, if I have a dish and I feel like it's just lacking a little bit of of glimmer and it needs to brighten up, then I can always add that to it as well. And often that will help speak to the wine in a way, if if the acidity is too low in the dish, Um, I'll look, I'll look to bring it up to match the wine a little bit better so that neither one gets lost. What about wines with high talent? What kind of food would you pair with? I always look for protein, salt and fat. So even for vegetarian, I'll typically go to beans on bond. Rancho Gordo makes Oh, are they grow a lot of different kinds of beans that I like to use, and you can braise those eso. Even your vegetarian and vegan friends can have delicious, hearty meals that go with their big cabernets and high tannic wines. But otherwise, you know, I think the classic would be like steak. And then I always think about again, sort of going back to the structure of the tannins if there rough or silky the way that I prepare that meat so I might opt to grill it or do a pan sear on it in a cast iron skillet. Or maybe I want it to be a little bit more gentle, and I might do a better basting or something. So I don't want a really intense crest on that meat to go with a softer wine. I would prefer to sort of match the rest of city of a of a more intensely tannic wine. Yeah, so you're talking about obviously, when you prepare food, what about when you're in a restaurant? What do you look at first, the menu or the wine list? Hmm? I think it depends on if I go in thinking I want a glass of Beaujolais tonight, or or you know, if I know exactly what I want to drink that night or not. If if there's a wine that I really am in the mood for, then I'll look through the menu and then I'll pair my dish according to that. And and again I'll be thinking about you know, what's the weight of this wine? What's the acidity? Is it going to be able thio to match the dish that I have? So, for example, if I if I felt like drinking a cru Beaujolais and there was a lovely one on the um on the on the wine list, then I would look through the menu and I would look for maybe, maybe duck, maybe salmon, um, something that's not really heavy or intensely spiced, but not something that's very delicate, either. So kind of like in the middle ground would match the acidity and tannin structure for that wine. If I wanted, like, ah, malbec or a cabernet sauvignon, I probably go down more into the steak section, and if I was looking for a more delicate fish or something more spicy, then I would go more into the higher acid or the sparkling wines. Yeah, I'm I always look at the wine list first. And if the waiter doesn't bring the wine list, I get very strong. Yeah, I can see that, but maybe different ways that they look at the wine list, maybe a specific wine room like, Yes, I have to have this wine And then I go to the menu and see what there is. I compare with it, or maybe three or four wines that look interesting. And then I look at the menus. They are. There's a fish I want. Let's go back to the wine list. Pick which of those wines works, but it's really, really important for me and for you. I think that the food and the wine go well together, that they enhance each other because food on its own is great. Winding up on its own is great, but the two together really enhance the experience, and that's what we're here to discuss. Eso. Let's talk about chardonnay. So Shannon is planted all around the world. It's very versatile that can grow in different climates, so it's a good great to focus on on different food pairings with different types of chardonnay. It's also quite a neutral grape variety, which means that in the winery or winemaker can work with Charlie Nate Smith's style that they like. It also means that in the kitchen we could work with chardonnay and have lots of different options. So let's look at chardonnay grown in cool, moderate and warm climates in different foods that we might pair with those types of wine. So, for instance, sharply that's the classic cool climate Chardonnay. High acidity, not aromatic, maybe some green apples, Citrus aromas, but really sharp and lean on, taught on linear. What do you pay with sharply to me? Always get a little bit of lime off of Shibly. So I love to throw in some lime zest or something that has that that sort of linear level of acidity to it. I think like a ceviche A or a crudo. Fish is really lovely. Maybe with a little green apple and some Citrus and maybe some fresh mint or oregano, Um, something are gone over Britishness. Pardon? Excuse me, Oregano, but I find that when you have such a intense lee high acid wine like that pairing a dish with more delicate aromatics on more delicate sort of aromatic characteristics. Um works really nicely together because there's not a fight between what the wine is bringing to the table on what the food is bringing to the table, so that sharply with the high acid, really lean profile. Then we go slightly further south to the Burgundy, where the wine is going to be richer. So it's a warmer climate, moderate climate still gonna have fresh acidity, but you're going to have The malolactic fermentation of Rome is very clear, so dairy aromas and also the use of oak is quite common, especially for the higher end wines. So richer, fuller bodied style of chardonnay. What would you pair with, let's say, missile or Pollini mantra shape, I think bringing a little bit of spice element. I'm not a heat spice, but one like a baking spice into the mix. One till you get to these regions is appropriate. I love stone fruit as well. I would think Shibly maybe more for apricot in the early spring type of stone fruit, and then I'm going more into summertime when I hit Um, like Marceau, even just like a simple, um, you know, like peach and burrata salad, where you marinate the peaches with a little bit of cardamom on maybe some lemon olive oil to bring a richness to the dish. I really like very simple flavors and simple foods, but I think, um, if you wanted also, fish is really nice. Like a hell of it would be lovely in a brown butter sauce. Be a little bit more rich, but I think would pair really nicely. One thing I learned when I was a winery chef was, and I was pairing. I was tasting the wines and then creating menus to go and showcase those wines. Um, I really learned that different baking spices in your foods can speak thio any wine as long as there's been an oak treatment on it. And so it's a little trick that I use, and it always sends to bring out really interesting characters in the wine and the food. And it's a great way to sort of bridge the gap between the two of them. So things like nutmeg, even pink peppercorn cinnamon cardamom is a favorite of mine. Yeah, so you're talking about a lot of complementary flavors there. Baking spices come from the oak, having those in the food as well to really marry together as it were. So you work a winery chef here in California. So let's talk about California chardonnay, where the climate is generally going to be warmer than Burgundy on, so you have less acidity on even richer flavors. What do you pair with California? Shouted. How would that differ from E? I think the acidity is the is the primary thing that I'm thinking about as being different from a chardonnay from California than from Burgundy or shebli. And then also, the oak treatment is often a lot more intense in chard in California. So I'm I'm looking toe lower the acidity on my dishes, or at least be very careful. I might prepare them with a bit of a lower acidity if I haven't had the opportunity to taste the wine and then bringing a little, um, like a sherry vinegar or something that's a bit of a softer vinegar, or even just a little lemon juice with me so that I can put that on at the last minute. If I feel like the dish needs toe come up in its acidity to match with the wine a little bit better