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Eat! Wine With Food, Food With Wine

Wine is better with food and food is better with wine. The sum is greater than the parts.


Drinking wine with food slows down the rate at which alcohol is absorbed

When you drink on an empty stomach, liquid slides down the flatter side of the stomach, straight to the small intestine to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Drink with a meal and the alcohol stays longer in the stomach; going into the small intestine at a slower rate, giving the liver time to work its magic.

Fat slows gastric emptying more than  carbohydrates, it also slows alcohol absorption.

Drinking with food also means you drink more slowly, in between mouthfuls, increasing the pleasure, giving you time to think about the wine a little more, as the flavours of the food and the wine change with different pairings. Anything that calls for a little introspection and even discussion is going to slow down consumption.

“Is my glass of wine one of my
five a day?”

Why we need more veg in our life.

Plants are jam-packed with important nutrients, some of which we find  in wine, wine is plant-based after all. The greater diversity of plants we eat, the more of these nutrients we will absorb.

“Is my glass of wine one of my five a day?”

Wine comes from fruit and alcohol helps extract polyphenols from grape skins and seeds during fermentation. Tannins, anthocyanins, procyanidins, flavanols, quercetin, and resveratrol are all polyphenols found in wine. It still doesn’t count as one of your five a day, a glass or two of red wine a day will not give you enough resveratrol to do the job. Sorry.

Fear not, polyphenols are everywhere in the plant kingdom - kale, beans, tea, spinach, and broccoli, tomatoes, apples, oranges, pears, olive oil and many more.


Steak with wine?

Why does everyone automatically suggest red meat when they are looking to pair with red wine? Fats soften tannic red wine, the fats and proteins in a steak interact with the tannins on the palate. So the suggestion makes sense if you are a meat-eater.

A bitter pill

Bitter foods stimulate your taste buds - think bitter aperitifs that make the juices flow and whet your appetite.

Bitterness can also stop you overeating, it makes you pucker up. That’s why it’s easier to stop after one square of dark chocolate, but you tend to munch your way through a whole bar of milk chocolate. And it’s why an espresso closes your appetite at the end of a meal.

Bitter vegetables are the ones that have the most polyphenols, but can be the hardest to pair with wine, they bring out the tannins in the wine. We have some ideas to help with that.

'Bitterness can stop you overeating, it makes you pucker up.'

Les Artichauts De Macau

One vegetable that always gets bad press, when matching with wine, is the artichoke, especially with red wines, it makes them taste metallic and tannic—not in a good way. So, imagine my surprise when I first came to the Medoc, a region of Bordeaux known for some of the most famous Cabernet-driven wines, to discover it is known for its “ Artichauts de Macau,”

Strange, I thought, until someone explained to me that artichokes are considered a liver tonic, which goes a long way to explaining their local popularity! 

Steamed and served covered in melted butter or cheese really helps them match with a glass of wine!



Sulphites. Friend or foe?

Sulphites are both naturally occurring (produced by yeast during fermentation) and added to wine and many other foods. They are antimicrobial, preserving freshness, protecting the wine from oxidizing and unwanted bacteria and yeast growth and keeping the colour bright. The amount used is strictly controlled and labels must say “contains sulphites”.

A lot of foods contain more sulphites than wine. Most wines have around 80 PPM (parts per million) of sulphite, and dried fruits often up to 1000 PPM. Red wine typically has lower sulphites than white wine. The polyphenols in red wine act as antimicrobial agents. There is a definite trend to lower levels of sulphites in wine, as cellar hygiene and wine making is now so much more precise. For example, Château George 7 Blanc 2022 is only 65mg/l compared to the legal maximum for organic wines at 150 mg/l.

Sulphite intolerance is rare. In most cases, the headache we have the morning after the night before is due to dehydration. Any reaction to wine might well be another ingredient, alcohol (of course) but also histamines. Sulphites can keep histamines at bay so those natural wines might actually be more of a problem than you think. You can’t blame your hangover on sulphites, sorry.

So now we know we have to put more plants on our plates – how do we match them with wine? Bitter veg with tannic wine doesn’t sound great does it? 
We have some ideas. 

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