Great Tastes Made Simple: Extraordinary Food and Wine Pairing for Every Palate

March 31, 2019 - Comment

The author of Great Wine Made Simple now adds great eating to her repertoire, showing how to enhance the flavor of even the most casual meals with winning wine selections. Most wine experts’ advice on wine and food pairings consists of rigid rules that apply largely to haute cuisine and luxury wines. But, in her

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The author of Great Wine Made Simple now adds great eating to her repertoire, showing how to enhance the flavor of even the most casual meals with winning wine selections.

Most wine experts’ advice on wine and food pairings consists of rigid rules that apply largely to haute cuisine and luxury wines. But, in her trademark accessible style, Andrea Immer now takes the mystery out of choosing wine for food–and vice versa. Great Tastes Made Simple unlocks the secrets of basic food tastes–sweet, earthy, savory, buttery, tart, and spicy–and their particular wine affinities.

Giving even ordinary meals extraordinary flavor, Immer shows readers how to bring the flavor alchemy of wine to everyday fare from burgers (with Zinfandel) to macaroni and cheese (with Rioja Crianza). She calls Pinot Grigio her “tuna helper” and likes barbecued brisket with Valpolicella. There’s also plenty of more sophisticated eating, including smoked salmon and Riesling; asparagus hollandaise and Champagne; wild mushroom risotto and California Pinot Noir, to name a few upscale matches. In fact, there isn’t a food or category of food–including a panoply of cheeses, ethnic foods, and desserts–for which Immer doesn’t provide a match and the reasons why they work so well. Chart of mouthwatering pairings and an easy-to-use index make finding wonderful wine and food combinations a snap.

Zeroing in on “wine-loving food”–those flavors, textures, and cooking techniques that truly dazzle when paired with wine–Immer demonstrates how to get the maximum enjoyment out of every food and wine encounter. A selection of twenty recipes–Low Country Shrimp and Grits (think Chardonnay), Beet Risotto (Pinot Noir), Short Rib Ragù (brawny reds), and Warm Chocolate Torte (Madeira)–provides delicious examples of wine-loving dishes and cooking techniques that will become part of every wine-loving cook’s repertoire.

Invaluable in restaurant settings and at home, this innovative guide can make every meal a cause for celebration.Great Tastes Made Simple sets out to teach regular people how to pair food and wine by doing just that: pairing food and wine. Andrea Immer asks her readers to cook and uncork and sample flavors, suggesting that a tasting group of friends and fellow food lovers can be invaluable. Fans of Immer’s excellent Great Wine Made Simple note that her wine tastings can seem daunting, but they are in fact simple to execute and really do develop a palate. In Great Tastes Made Simple, Immer offers similar tests to help you think about food and wine. The initial exercise is irresistibly simple. She suggests opening a Sauvignon Blanc, a Chianti, and an Australian Shiraz. With that trio, you serve fresh goat cheese, prosciutto, and hummus. Then you try each wine in combination with each food, and see the emergence of flavors: sweet, earthy, smoky, fatty, tart, and hot.

Rather than organizing the rest of the book around certain wines or certain foods, Immer groups her recipes by these six flavors. The elegant recipes are intriguing and usually quite simple (for instance, beet risotto paired with Pinot Noir) and are usually adapted from chefs Immer has worked with in her wine career. The book is larded with tips and surprises: there’s a peak-of-summer tasting menu organized around tomatoes; Immer calls pumpkinseed oil “the most wine-loving oil I have ever tasted in my life.” Andrea Immer’s tastes can be haute, (for her, a good cheese isn’t the best Brie at the supermarket, it’s Coach Farm goat cheese via mail order), but the great thing about her writing is that she always makes the attainment of these high standards seem utterly manageable. –Claire Dederer

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