Carrie Kalscheuer
 
April 13, 2015 | Carrie Kalscheuer

Top 5 Unexpected Food & Wine Pairings

I think just about everything pairs with Pinot Noir, with one awful exception. Pinot is light enough not to overpower food, but flavorful enough to add depth and nuance. Perhaps not every dish can have the impact that the perfect Pinot Noir pairing can have (lamb chops, Chantrelle mushrooms, pan-fried salmon - wow!), but the overwhelming result is at least pleasant, easy, and doesn't leave me with a massive headache the next morning. (The awful exception: frosted animal cookies. Don't ever try this. Ever.)

Transcendent pairings don't come around often. When this rare and wonderful event happens, it's important to give pause and relish the moment, then tell everyone you know so that they can share in the joy. And if you find something truly bizarre, unexpected and inspirational, well, you write a blog post.
 

My top 5 surprisingly transcendent pairings:

 

  1.  Mezcal and Chocolate. I have a strong affinity for both of these things. It was only a matter of time before I made the happy discovery that they are wildly perfect together.
     
  2. Aussie Shiraz and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Trust me on this. An old friend stumbled upon this gem and we have since tested the pairing on multiple occasions. It works. I'm not sure why, but it works.
     
  3. Chablis and Kettle Chips. Yes, everyone knows about all things fried with Champagne, but to me this is the superior pairing. Chablis' fresh acid and high minerality, yet round, rich palate is the perfect accompaniement to my ultimate guilty pleasure.
     
  4. Oregon Pinot Gris and Salsa. A great alternative to lager for Mexican feasts, especially if gluten is not your friend.
     
  5. Australian Stickies and Gazpacho Soup. Stickies are Aussie-speak for dessert wines. Paired with the high acid of hte gazpacho, this is an unexpected treat.

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