Very often the authoritative voice on food cannot have the same level of authority on drink. And this is a pity. I often wish that Nigel Slater’s sumptuous recipes will be accompanied by the perfect drink suggestion - alcoholic or not. The absence of direction is odd when the flavours of the drink will be taken at the same time as the flavours of the meal.
I have a few cookbooks - Le Gavroche Cookbook for one, which have wine suggestions, but they are too expensive for low-key occasions. The book which I think matches food and drink well is How to drink, by The Guardian's Victoria Moore, which has a great emphasis on food and gives context to most of her drinks ideas.
So I’ve asked close friend Ruth Ford - a self-confessed 'Mancunian wine-botherer' - whose palate I am in awe of, to tie in wine and drink recommendations. Every now and then she will be giving a guide on how to match the wine to the food under the section she quite rightly titles with an urgent imperative:
She is the Olly Smith to my Saturday Kitchen - blonde and talented, but curiously prettier.
One area we’re both interested in is exploring how Asian food can work with wine. Whilst the Asian restaurant scene in UK has readily improved over the last 20 years, my own experience of wine in Chinese restaurants has been confined to either late-night tart whites sloshed illicitly from teapots, or obscure breeds served quaintly in Michelin starred hangouts.
The middle ground is - yes, there is a wine list, and no the waiter has no idea if the Sauvignon Blanc will go with the braised goose web. And of course, there is the question of whether wine is even the best thing to drink with such dishes of savoury and spice.
Please give Ruth a warm welcome and soak up the advice. And I can’t wait to learn gems from her so I can say things like - ‘you just can’t go wrong with a gavi di gavi’.
How to Drink by Victoria Moore, £15.99 is published by Granta
Le Gavroche Cookbook by Michel Roux Jr, £14.99 is published by W&N