Wine & Food Pairing with Berkeley Catering

by in Blog 24th October 2019


Pairing food with a complementary wine makes it taste even more delicious. But is there more to it than matching white wines with fish and red wines with steak? Of course!

Show sophisticated guests you mean business by matching your menu with carefully selected wines. From corporate catering to private weddings and parties, there’s no excuse.

Here’s how to enhance every course of your meal with a matching wine – alongside some of our favourite food and wine combinations from the Berkeley Catering menu. 

Wine & Food Pairing Basics

Here are a few basic tips for matching meal courses with the perfect wine:

  • Pair intense wines with heavy dishes, such as beef and lamb

  • Pair lighter wines with light dishes, such as salad or chicken

  • Desserts pair well with sweet wines or dessert wines

  • Consider whether flavours are bitter, acidic, sweet, salty or spicy

  • Focus on sauces and cooking methods, not just the main ingredient

You can either ‘complement’ or ‘contrast’ when pairing food and wine. For example, choose an earthy red wine to complement a rich mushroom dish, or contrast an acidic white wine with a creamy fish sauce. Neither the food nor the wine should overwhelm each other. 

Top Tip: Read the back of the bottle for any wine and food pairing recommendations!

Now you know a few basics, here are some recommendations from our menu. Take a look at our latest wine selection, or call 020 7837 6853 for a catering recommendation. 

What wine goes with steak or beef? 

Serving a rich, meaty dish like the Beef Bourguignon from our Hot Food menu? We’d recommend our Pinot Noir – a Burgundy wine with notes of ripe raspberries. This classic French dish is made with red wine from this region of France, so this is a gorgeous match.

Look at our full wine list for an amazing German Pinot Noir. Mark, our Events Director, recommends this out of all our red wines – “It’s hard to find red wines from Germany, they keep it for themselves.”

What wine goes with lamb? 

If you’re wowed by the Braised Lamb Shank with zesty Gremolata on our Three Course Menu, it pairs beautifully with our Chateau Maledan. This Bordeau bargain could easily be mistaken for the more expensive St Emilion; its blackcurrant, cedar and leafy characters fill the palate. 

Alternatively, our slow-cooked Lamb Tagine with Moroccan spices goes well with a similarly spicy red wine – try our nice Chianti. With this wine, you’ll taste ripe black cherries and forest fruit with light perfumed fragrant spices.

What wine goes with pork? 

Versatile pork can pair with white, red, or even rose wine. This sweet and delicate meat needs subtle flavours that won’t overpower it. 

Our Cumberland Pork Sausages, served with roasted onion gravy, match perfectly with a moreish wine like our Greek Moschofilero. This wine has everything from stone fruit aromas to vibrant acidity and a great finish. It is so good it is even called ‘Feast’ – what better name for a wine to go with food.

What wine goes with duck? 

Pinot Noir with Peking Duck is a classic combination, with the duck’s sweetness enhanced by the cherry tones of the wine. Our Duck Pancake Rolls with Chinese plum dipping sauce are ideal for this pairing, or try a spicy Chateau Neuf de Pape with our Red Curry of Crisp-Skinned Duck

While not on our wine list, but still available if you talk to our team, a chilled Gewurztraminer is one of very few wines in the world that can claim the epithet “once tried, never forgotten” with quite the same conviction. 

This wine explodes in the mouth and event director Mark, our go-to wine expert, says this is his favourite drinking wine. There‘s always at least a bottle in his fridge at home, although it is just about always open.

What wine goes with chicken? 

We serve a range of chicken dishes, but they don’t all need the same wine! Our creamy Chicken with Mushroom sauce pairs nicely with our Sauvignon de Touraine. Chicken Makkine, Thai Chicken and Indonesian Chicken Curry all use different spices – see below!

What wine goes with curry? 

We deliver and serve a wide range of flavoursome curries, and each one has the perfect wine. The savoury oyster sauce and peanut butter in our Indonesian Curry pairs well with Blanquette de Limoux, a delicious French fizz, made with a mix of Chardonnay and Chenin blanc grapes, while the creamy yoghurt in our Makkine makes it more suited to enjoy with a New world favourite like the Wyebrook Estate Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

What wine goes with salmon or fish? 

Salmon is a ‘meaty’ fish, so it pairs well with robust whites, and even some lighter red wines. Be brave – pop a Pinot Noir in the fridge and drink it chilled! 

Our Poached Salmon Fillet is served with a white wine sauce. This goes perfectly with everyone’s go-to white wine Pinot Grigio, this has a lovely balance of ripe rounded citrus fruits. Or, if you fancy our Deep Fried Haddock and Chips, try the Villa Saint-Jean Blanc.

What goes with seafood?

Tempted by seafood options like our Mango and Dorset Crab Canapés? Nobody can resist the luxurious combination of fresh seafood and champagne!  

Our Prawn Risotto – topped with crisp sea bass and lobster – pairs beautifully with our very own Berkeley French Sparkling wine. This amazing bottle of fizz has our own label; it tastes like Champagne, but costs a fraction of the price. Try it, you’ll love it.

What wine goes with vegetarian food? 

Pay extra attention to sauces and seasoning if pairing wine with veggie options. Creamy morsels like our Goats Cheese Canapés go nicely with Sauvignon de Touraine, while warming vegetarian mains like our Rigatoni Arrabiata go well with a medium-bodied Malbec.

What wine goes with desserts? 

Your wine should always be sweeter than the food you’re serving, so some desserts need a wine of their own. Our fruity Berkeley Cheesecake Slice in our dessert menu is scrumptious with Botrytis Semillon from Australia – another wine not on our list but still available through our team. This really is amber nectar! 

Rich chocolatey sweets pair beautifully with red wine, try it with Rioja, the woody structure and velvety fruit marry fantastically well together.

What wine goes with cheese?

Books have been written about pairing wine with cheese – you may need to order a whole cellar! We deliver delicious cheese board platters, including the Berkeley British Isles board with Cornish Brie, Kentish Blue and Winterdale Cheddar. What goes best with them all is none other than Port. 

How do I serve Port properly?

We end many of our city dinners and directors lunches with this spectacular offer from Portugal. If tradition calls for it, we can present Port in a decanter. Our staff will inform guests to pass to the left. It is imperative to pass the port to the left, pouring a glass for your neighbour on your right before you do so. Ideally, the decanter should never stop its clockwise progress around the table until it is finished. 

Now, If the decanter should ever stall, it is considered very bad form to ask for it. Instead, you ask the person hogging the decanter, “Do you know the Bishop of Norwich?” If they are au fait with port etiquette, they will immediately realise their faux pas and pass along the decanter with an apology. If not, and they answer in the negative, you should say, “He’s a terribly good chap, but he always forgets to pass the port.”

Get a wine and food pairing recommendation from us

Ensure your lunch, dinner or event is a culinary success. Our team of catering experts are on hand to help you impress your guests. If you’re unsure about the wine and food combinations you’ve picked from our menu, just give us a call on 020 7837 6853. 

Our tutored wine and food pairing sessions

We also are able to offer tutored wine and food pairings. Our Events Director leads an enjoyable tasting of wines, alongside a table of delectable bites. This enables you to see exactly how these wines mentioned taste with an array of different flavours. 

Also available is a fun session, where a wine supplier joins Mark and they debate and banter about new and old worlds and how they match up! This allows you to taste wines from both areas and see which you prefer. Listening to these two old friends spar and talk about wine is nearly as much fun as drinking the wine.

Browse our range of alcoholic drinks at Berkeley Catering

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