Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 22nd 2013 Contents | FOOD AND WINE |
IT'S CHRISTMAS WEEK and I am super excited for more
than one reason, as all my children will be home for Christ-
mas, all together for the first time in about five years. I'm
also looking forward to my daughter Chef Racquel's culi-
nary prowess. Like in so many homes there will be lots of
culinary activities, as we can certainly cook up a storm for
special occasions like Christmas. I can smell ham with
pineapple, homemade bread, which is my children Racquel
and Rolando 's favourite meal as soon as they arrive at
home, pastelles, roast pork, pigeon peas, callaloo, the
favourite Christmas rice, and the menu goes on --- and let's
not forget the ponche a crème and black cake...yum.yum.
Our very own celebrity chef, Jason Peru, joins in to give us
his favourite Christmas recipe. Now what are the wines we
can have with this Christmas dish? I now take you through
some basics in wine and food pairing.
This subject is very complex and has its roots in science
both for the wine and food. Wine is considered very much
a science, as it is an art. So is cuisine, with its various cook-
ing techniques used to bring out the flavours and textures
in food. Wine is paired to what we call "centre of the plate,"
which is normally the protein, and if there is a sauce that
changes the pairing dynamics.
Wine and food pairing goes back to over 250 years. Our
perception of food and the wine to go with it has changed
considerably in recent times Wine has been a major part
of cuisine and culture since its invention. It is very easy to
understand that traditional wine and food pairing concepts
are a combination of cuisine and culture, i.e. local cuisine
with local wine. In Medieval France one would not have
lived in Burgundy and drunk wines from Bordeaux, much
less Spain or Italy. Modern wine and food pairing is prima-
rily an invention in the last three decades or so. Changes in
our eating habits have resulted in renewed consideration
for how wine and food work, or do not work, together.
The food comes first and the wine follows. The experience
is initiated and directed by the food and not the wine, that
is, you pair wine to food, not food to wine.
You must have an understanding and knowledge of the
many types and styles of wines.
Wine and food pairing is an in-mouth experience: it does
not rely on either the colour of the food and wine, or the
smell. Serving wine by colour convention (white before red
etc.) is not a good approach to making wine and food pair-
There is no such thing as a single correct wine for a partic-
ular dish or food.
Not every component of the dish needs to be considered,
just the dominant characteristic and chemistry, therefore,
the starting point for making any wine and food pairing de-
cisions is breaking down the dish into its components parts.
A well designed wine and food pairing means you can taste
the food, taste the wine and the two together create a third
set of flavours that are better than the flavours of the two
The three basic principles of pairing wine and food:
Marry the wine with the food: this means wine is an ingre-
dient in your recipe, either in the cooking or preparation e.g.
Complement the food to the wine: this occurs when the
food is accentuated by using something with similar char-
acter or chemistry in the wine to bring out that component
in the food.
Contrast the food with the wine: this occurs when some
tension between attributes or chemistry of the food and
wine is created. Then there is extreme contrast, which
delves far too much in science and can be too complicated.
Cross-cultural pairings: this occurs when a wine is paired
with food from countries without a wine-making tradition
As you can see wine and food pairing can be very compli-
cated and requires some basic knowledge of wines and
food. This is the reason some fine dining restaurants have
on staff a qualified sommelier; this person should have had
some basic training in the culinary field. As a wine profes-
sional, I was also a chemistry and culinary student; it was
the only way to fully understand the impact the different
production and cooking techniques have on the final prod-
uct. In the coming months I will expand on this topic, so
that you can comfortably and confidently make pairings
that can give you an out of this world "in- mouth" experi-
Chef Jason Peru has shared a Christmas recipe with us:
Aniseed and Cumin Scented Pork Loin Stuffed with
caramelized plantain, walnuts, raisins and apples, and driz-
zled with a sorrel reduction.
1 Medium Pork Tenderloin
Dry Rub for Pork
¾ tbsp freshly ground black peppercorns
½ tbsp salt
1 tbsp ground aniseed
1 tbsp cumin (geera)
½ tbsp paprika
1 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
3 oz small plantains, diced
2 oz small apples, diced
1 oz chopped walnuts
1 oz raisins
2 oz goat cheese
1 cup sorrel juice
¼ cup honey
1. Add the oil to a small sauté pan, over medium heat,
2. Sauté the plantains for two minutes, allowing them to be-
3. Add the rest of the other ingredients with the exception
of the goat cheese and cook for an additional two minutes.
4. Remove from the pot and mix in the goat cheese and set
Place all the spices into a small bowl and mix thoroughly to
1. Cut the pork loin down the centre but not all the way
through, so as to "butterfly" it.
2. Season the loin with the spice mix, rubbing inside out.
3. Place plantain filling in the crevice of the pork. With three
pieces of butchers twine, tie the pork as to prevent the
stuffing from spilling out.
4. In hot sauté pan, place the vegetable oil and sear the loin
for one minute each side.
5. Place pork in a sheet pan lined with foil.
6. Put into the oven at 350˚F/180˚C for 18 minutes.
1. In a small sauce place, add the sorrel juice and reduce to
half its volume.
2. Add the honey and reduce to one third its volume, until it
is slightly thick and viscous.
3. Serve atop sliced pork loin.
Pork Loin: challenge the sorrel sauce and its honey to a duo
with a Vouvray, from the Loire region of France or a Cali-
fornian Riesling or a Beaujolais. Now you can see how a pair-
ing can take on both a white and red wine effectively
dismissing (in part) the fallacy of red with red meats and
white with white meats.
Fruit/Black Cake: be different and daring --- try a Canadian
Pastelles: German Riesling, or be adventurous and try a
Merry Christmas to our readers and families, and special
greetings to my first grandchild: Brazil-born Luca Gabriel.
Merry Christmas --- his first and also first trip to Trinidad.
Next week, as we bid farewell to the old and welcome the
New Year, 2014 with the world's most alluring, sophisticated
and irresistible drink, let's talk Champagne. Pop!!!
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