How to Pair Wine with (Almost) Anything
Recommending a specific wine to pair with a specific dish or recipe is one thing. But what about when you’re cooking at home? How do you decide what wine to pair depending on the ingredients you’re cooking with in your own kitchen?
We’ve rounded up 12 ingredients, from apples and cranberries to carrots, celery, scallops, sardines and even bacon, and tell you how best to pick wines that will pair well with whatever you prepare. Let’s get cooking. —Pairing text by Food Editor Nils Bernstein
Jump Straight to an Ingredient and Learn to Pair
A bracing bit of freshness in cooler months, the cranberry has much to offer beyond a cloying blob on the Thanksgiving table. This hard, sour fruit cooks well and lends complexity to desserts like crisps, galettes, sorbets, scones and upside-down cake. It also adds zest to meat dishes, especially pork, duck and, of course, turkey when made into relish, chutney, salsa or the traditional cranberry sauce. They can also be used in place of sour cherries, grapes and other berries in recipes, and their unsweetened juice can be substituted for vinegar, lemon juice or lime juice. Pair these powerhouse berries with a wine that shares their bright acidity, tart red fruit and even a bitter or floral edge: Think Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Beaujolais and red Burgundy. Rosé Champagnes and sparkling reds can also be terrific.
• This year marks the 200th anniversary of the first recorded farmed cranberry crop, in Dennis, Massachusetts. The state is the second-largest producer in the U.S., after Wisconsin.
• Whole, raw berries can be frozen and used interchangeably with fresh ones. If you’re cooking with frozen cranberries, you don’t need to thaw them first.
• Americans consume more than 400 million pounds of cranberries per year (about 90 percent of the crop goes to juices and canned sauces). Approximately 80 million pounds are enjoyed during Thanksgiving week.
• The fruits contain small pockets of air that make them bounce and float.
• Native Americans had several names for cranberries: sassamanash, ibimi and atoqua. They used them for medicine, dye and (when mixed with dried meat) a food called pemmican.
• European settlers named them “craneberries,” for their flowers’ resemblance to the bird.
In many parts of the country, strawberries are among the first fruits of summer. But thanks to their ability to grow in different conditions and travel well, they’re now a sweet treat year-round. The majority of commercially grown strawberries in the U.S. come from California. “[Strawberries] are great to utilize no matter what stage: underripe, perfectly ripe and overripe,” says Justin Walker, the executive chef at Earth at Hidden Pond, a seasonal restaurant in Kennebunkport, Maine that opens in May, just as strawberry runners start to blanket the onsite gardens. Green, or unripe, strawberries are increasingly popular in restaurants for their flexibility in savory applications. Ask around at your local farmer’s market, or grow them on a windowsill. Walker juices tart green strawberries to use in vinaigrettes and lets overripe berries macerate into marinades. Even when working with perfectly ripe strawberries, he looks to the savory side. “I love strawberries in a salad with blue cheese, or with lime zest and olive oil as a simple snack.”
• The word “strawberry” is believed to derive from “stray” or “strew,” for the fruit’s tendency to propagate promiscuously.
• Strawberries are the fifth most consumed fresh fruit in the U.S., after bananas, apples, oranges and grapes.
• Like raspberries and blackberries, strawberries are in the same subfamily as roses. None are true berries.
• The Guinness World Record for heaviest strawberry is 8.82 ounces. It was the size of an apple.
• Pat Benatar, Ryan Adams, My Bloody Valentine, The Band and country singer Deana Carter have all recorded songs called “Strawberry Wine.”
“A floral German or Austrian Riesling with sweet strawberries is beautiful—something that reflects those spring peach blossoms in the Wachau region—while a chilled Beaujolais, fruitful Pinot Noir or even Cinsault are great red options,” says Danielle Walker, wine director and general manager at Earth at Hidden Pond. “Green strawberries go well with a Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner or Albariño; you want plenty of acidity to balance the tart fruit. Champagne with perfectly ripe strawberries is a favorite, but try a demi-sec so the wine is sweeter than the berries; if you like a more subtle sweetness, a Lambic beer reflects the fruit flavor without tasting bitter.”
Apples, the country’s second-most-consumed fruit after bananas, hold a special place in our culture. They’re a symbol of Americana, everywhere from apple pie to the Big Apple. In the kitchen, there’s no end to their versatility. They show equal affinity with sweet, sour, spicy and meaty flavors, while apple cider and brandies (like applejack and Calvados) show the fruit’s appeal in the glass. Apples may not keep the doctor away, but they can’t hurt.
Fun Facts About Apples
• Le trou Normand (“the Normand hole”) is a French tradition where diners take a sip of Calvados during a long meal to restore appetite.
• The heaviest apple ever picked weighed more than four pounds.
• As Chinese as apple pie? China produces almost 10 times more apples than the U.S..
• Apples originated in Kazakhstan. The only variety native to North America is the crabapple.
• Steve Jobs took his inspiration from a visit to an orchard when he named Apple.
Dan McCaffrey is wine director at The Marc in Walla Walla, Washington, where both apples and grapes thrive. “With fresh-cut apples and cheese, I’d choose an earthy Pinot Noir from Oregon or Burgundy like the 2015 Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir, with a silky texture and red fruits that blend with both the crisp and rich flavors,” McCaffrey says. “For whites, the vanilla, caramel and apple notes of a buttery oak-aged Chardonnay like the 2014 Mer Soleil Chardonnay Reserve roll perfectly in. “For apples in salads with vinaigrette, I’d pair an unoaked Chardonnay, or one just lightly kissed with oak, like the 2015 L’Ecole No. 41 Chardonnay. And for traditional apple pie, I feel that botrytized wines, and sweeter Rieslings and Gewürztraminers, complement this American tradition.”
Fresh grapefruit delivers a burst of sunshine during the dead of winter. A bright, elegant addition to sweet and savory dishes year-round, it’s believed to be a hybrid of orange and pomelo. Its name comes from the fruit’s tendency to grow in tight clusters on the tree.
Don’t associate the fruit with the muddy, bitter taste of packaged grapefruit juice. If you cut away its bitter white pith, fresh grapefruit strikes the perfect balance between tangy lemon and honeyed orange. It’s a natural in cocktails (especially with gin, Tequila or Campari), but always use fresh-squeezed juice. Some of its culinary affinities include fish and shellfish, goat cheese, Brussels sprouts, almond, avocado, rosemary and honey. Try a grapefruit beurre blanc with fish, or a salsa of minced grapefruit, red onion, avocado, jalapeño and cilantro with grilled chicken or tacos.
How to Pair Grapefruit
Look for crisp, citrusy white wines with herbal, floral or stone-fruit elements. Fresh, fruity Verdejos from Rueda have a pleasing, bitter finish that plays well with grapefruit. Briny Greek Assyrtikos exploit grapefruit’s affinity for salt. With savory dishes that call for a red wine, like salmon with a grapefruit-shallot reduction, look for a high-acid variety like Barbera. Its herbal and savory notes can bring out grapefruit’s sweeter side.
However, “Sauvignon Blanc is usually the best choice with grapefruit, due to its natural grapefruit aromas and flavors,” says Juan Gomez, MS, wine director of The Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida. “In particular, Sauvignon Blancs from Marlborough, New Zealand, are the most expressive, exhibiting a sweet grapefruit quality as well as pungent herbal notes that complement grapefruit-based dishes.” Click through to the next page for recipes and pairings for a four-layer grapefruit cake and grapefruit, avocado and crab salad.
• In Southern France, grapefruit juice is mixed with dry rosé to make a summer refresher.
• For a delicious grapefruit cocktail, mix up a Paloma: equal parts blanco Tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, simple syrup and club soda.
• The tangelo is a cross between the grapefruit and tangerine.
• The Latin name for grapefruit is, appropriately, Citrus x paradisi.
• The U.S. is the world’s No. 2 grapefruit grower. No. 1? China, which produces almost four times the U.S. output.
• In 1964, Yoko Ono published a book titled Grapefruit (Wunternaum Press), which consists of drawings and “instructions” for the reader to create their own performance art (“step in all the puddles in the city”).
In the kitchen, the nuts of the hazel tree are among the most versatile of their kind. With an affinity for chocolate, caramel and coffee, they’re best known in sweet products like Frangelico liqueur and the Italian breakfast spread Nutella. But hazelnuts—also called filberts—shine in savory dishes, too. “I think it’s one of the quintessential Oregon ingredients,” says Greg Higgins, owner/chef of Higgins restaurant in Portland. “We use hazelnuts in almost any recipe that calls for walnuts or almonds: nettle or basil pestos, romesco and mole sauces, the Middle Eastern dip muhammara. We crust fish with them, garnish salads, make savory cheese tarts, use them in charcuterie—the list is pretty much endless.” At Deane House in Calgary, Alberta, owner Sal Howell offers dishes like salted cabbage and hazelnuts over chicken liver mousse, and a smoked lentil hummus with hazelnuts and goat feta. “Because of their buttery mouthfeel, I find hazelnuts a great pairing for bitter vegetables like broccoli rabe, radicchio, endives… as well as adding flavor and texture to green salads,” she says. “But another, less-explored use is braising them in soups and stews. It softens them slightly and draws out the flavorful oils into the dish.”
• Europeans consume almost 10 times more hazelnuts than Americans do.
• Approximately 75 percent of the world’s hazelnuts are grown in Turkey, followed by Italy and the U.S., where the vast majority comes from Oregon.
• The Greek physician Dioscorides used burnt hazelnut shells mashed with suet as a cure for baldness.
• Established in 1892, the Dorris Ranch Living History Filbert Farm in Springfield, Oregon, is the nation’s oldest commercial hazelnut farm in continuous operation.
“Hazelnuts are a very wine-friendly nut,” says Higgins. “They have a rich creamy flavor, but aren’t too tannic like walnuts, or too oily and pungent like pine nuts.” For recipes involving cheese or cream, Higgins recommends a lightly oaked white wine. Something vegetal, like a hazelnut pesto, pairs well with a fruity Pinot Noir. For an inspired pairing with any hazelnut dish, look to Fiano di Avellino DOCG, a white wine from Campania in southern Italy. It has a distinct toasted hazelnut quality, perhaps thanks to the hazelnut trees that grow alongside the vineyards.
As common as the carrot is, it’s also underappreciated. You know that they’re delicious raw, roasted, pickled and puréed into a soup, but don’t stop there. Carrots are also at home in croquettes, salsa, gnocchi, savory soufflés and even ice cream. Younger carrots are generally sweeter and more flavorful. When you can, buy smaller carrots with the tops attached. Young tops taste like a cross between parsley and carrot; they can be used in pesto and other herb sauces.
Fun Facts about Carrots
• You are what you eat: Eating just five carrots a day can cause carotenemia, a harmless orange coloration of the skin
• Pennsylvania’s Boardroom Spirits has a 92-proof spirit made from carrots called C.
• Bagged “baby carrots” are suspiciously uniform for a reason: They’re blemished carrots cut into that shape.
• The orange carrot is a 17th-century Dutch hybrid of red and yellow carrots.
• The longest carrot ever grown was more than 20 feet long, and the heaviest was nearly 20 pounds.
Caryn Benke, beverage director at Ava Gene’s in Portland, Oregon, says “With raw, I lean toward whites with a balance between fruit and minerality, like Ligurian Vermentino, Arneis from Piedmont or Grüner Veltliner from Alto Adige or Austria.” For carrots that are cooked a little but retain some crispness, “I like wines with a little more textural richness,” says Benke, “and a more robust fruit profile, such as Pecorino from Abruzzo or Catarratto from Sicily. For preparations with a slower roast, which creates a soft unctuous texture and a pronounced sweetness, I love richer style Barbera from Piedmont.”
Celery is often an unglamorous workhorse in crudité platters, vegetable soups and green juices, but it can take on a starring role, if only given the chance. Classics like celery gratin and Waldorf salad are back in fashion, and dishes like the Celery Victor (a chilled marinated-celery salad) at San Francisco’s Cockscomb have gained cult status.
“I’m afraid of losing my obscurity. Genuineness only thrives in the dark, like celery.” –Aldous Huxley
Some favorite celery snacks can be reinvented as terrific entrées. If you loved it with peanut butter as a kid, try stir-fried celery with Thai peanut sauce. Do you enjoy the celery sticks and blue cheese dip that come with Buffalo wings? A chopped celery salad topped with crumbled blue cheese and spicy grilled chicken breast offers similar taste and crunch. “We work with all different forms of celery,” says Kate Jacoby, co-owner of Philadelphia’s vegan restaurant Vedge. “We pickle crunchy wedges for garnishing cocktails, grill the hearts, fold chopped leaves into vinaigrettes, even cook the stalks down into a syrup to churn into a salty-sweet sorbet.”
• Ancient Romans used celery as an aphrodisiac.
• The Guinness World Record for the heaviest head of celery is 75 pounds.
• Celery Victor was invented at San Francisco’s St. Francis Hotel in 1910.
• Celery leaves were included in garlands found in King Tut’s tomb.
• Hippocrates described celery as a nerve soother, and in its 1897 catalog, Sears Roebuck Co. featured a celery nerve tonic.
Delicious raw or cooked, celery’s versatility means there’s no shortage of complementary wines. “For fresh, raw uses of celery, I would keep it classic, with a bright, snappy Grüner Veltliner or dry Riesling,” says Jacoby, who oversees Vedge’s extensive wine list. “If grilled or braised, coaxing out its deeper flavors, I would lean toward a high-acid Loire red like a funky Cabernet Franc or juicy Grolleau.”
Nothing screams “August farmers’ market” like the spicy-sweet scent of fresh basil. The name comes from the Greek basilikón, meaning “royal,” and, indeed, it’s often referred to as the royal herb or king of herbs. Basil is a member of the mint family and a good replacement in juleps and smashes. And stop arguing: Both BAYZ-uhl and BAZ-uhl are accepted pronunciations.
• Basil is considered an aphrodisiac in Romania; in Mexico it’s believed to attract money.
• The French phrase semer le basilic (“to sow basil”) means to slander or rant.
• Basilcello is a bright green, basil-infused liqueur found in some Italian homes.
• In the U.S., the name Basil—currently on a sharp upswing—reached its peak in 1911.
• In Hinduism, Tulsi, or “Holy Basil,” is a sacred plant associated with the god Vishnu.
• The tallest basil plant ever recorded was 11 feet tall and grown in Crete.
“Basil is truly one of the world’s most flexible herbs,” says Bruce Achtermann, head of the beverage program at The Herbfarm in Woodinville, Washington. The restaurant’s tasting menus often focus on herbs from its gardens, which include more than a dozen basil varieties. “Some basils are more citrus driven, others are more spicy in focus. If basil is your primary driver, look to play off of the sharp green aromatics with a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand or Chile’s Casablanca Valley. If it’s used more as a spice, your options are endless.” Achtermann recommends Champagne or a domestic blanc de blancs with spicy Thai basil–driven dishes. He suggests a buttery Chardonnay with sweet Genovese basil and pasta, while a rich, savory Bordeaux blend or Cabernet Franc pairs well with steak crusted in several types of basil. For dessert, he suggests tearing fresh cinnamon basil over ice cream and serving Vin Santo.
“A peppery, floral character balanced by sweet berry and plum fruit that exhibits notes of pine and citrus,” sounds like it could describe an elegant Saint-Joseph from France’s northern Rhône. But it also perfectly captures the essence of pink peppercorns. Their complex flavors make them a gorgeous addition to everything from ceviche and meat rub to chocolate and fresh fruit. If these don’t sound like the black, white and even green peppercorns you’re used to it’s because those three are all from the same plant, Piper nigrum. Pink peppercorns, on the other hand, are the fruit of the Peruvian peppertree, Schinus molle, which is related to the cashew (people with tree-nut allergies may be affected). After a short-lived moment in the early 1980s, pink peppercorns are again popping up everywhere. At Lilia in Brooklyn, New York, Chef-Owner Missy Robbins’s deceptively simple mafaldine pasta with pink peppercorns and Parmigiano-Reggiano has become one of the city’s most talked-about dishes. “I’ve seen them mostly in Venice, with marinated seafood like anchovies and sardines,” says Robbins. “They elevate pasta with butter and Parmigiano, but I also love them with white anchovies and orange juice, and they’re also great in braises, particularly with short ribs.”
Pink Peppercorn Facts
• In the U.S., they grow wild in California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, Hawaii, Louisiana and Nevada.
• Estée Lauder’s “Pleasures” was the first perfume to use pink peppercorns in its formula.
• The soft husks of pink peppercorns will clog a pepper grinder—instead, crush them with the back of a wooden spoon.
• Pink peppercorns have an aromatic quality that’s similar to but milder than juniper, making them a tasty addition to gin cocktails.
Find pink peppercorns at the country’s popular restaurants
• Langoustine with lime, pink peppercorn and caviar, at Bar Mezzana in Boston
• Fiocco (pork leg) cured with rosewater and pink peppercorns, at Gwen in Los Angeles
• Venison tartare with crispy bacon, puffed flatbread, wild mustard and pink peppercorn, at Canoe in Toronto
• Burger with smoked Gorgonzola, sugo and pink peppercorn aioli, at Steadfast in Chicago
• Outside skirt steak with pink peppercorn crust, cauliflower, radish and sugar snap peas, at Seven Beef in Seattle
• Oyster with kohlrabi mignonette, pine oil and pink peppercorn, at Petit Crenn in San Francisco
Look for wines with ripe fruit and floral or peppery qualities to help draw out pink peppercorns’ subtle flavors. The aforementioned Saint-Joseph—or any subtly spicy Old World Syrah—is perfect with meat dishes, as are brighter Grenaches (or Garnachas). For whites, Ryan Lotz, beverage director of Boston’s Bar Mezzana, likes Il Monticello’s Groppolo Vermentino from Colli di Luni. “Pink peppercorns are often used to offset richness, which is what this wine does as well, with ripe tropical fruit flavor but lots of acidity. Its distinct salty and savory quality pulls out the floral spiciness of pink peppercorns in almost any seafood dish.”
Considered sacred since before Biblical times, the olive tree remains treasured. The unique flavor of its fruit is surprisingly versatile. It pairs amicably with sweet flavors (oranges, dates, tomatoes, caramelized onions, fennel), salty foods (capers, feta cheese, anchovies, cured meats), and all kinds of nuts, dairy and fresh herbs. It can provide a punchy blast of contrasting flavor, or be the centerpiece of dishes like tapenade, muffuletta or puttanesca.
Green and black olives are the same fruit. Except for a few outliers, a green olive is simply an unripe black olive. All are bitter and inedible when picked, so they’re cured and fermented using brine, salt and/or lye. Like with wine, when you eat an olive, you’re tasting both the fruit and how it was handled.
• The average olive tree’s lifespan is between 300 and 600 years. Today, some fruit-producing olive trees are more than 2,000 years old and still going strong.
• Olives, like wine grapes, thrive in a wide range of soil conditions, which accounts in part for their complexity.
• An olive branch appears on the flags of five U.S. states, several countries and the United Nations, where it symbolizes peace.
• Jasmine and lilac are in same biological family as olives, Oleaceae.
• Spain produces nearly half of the world’s olive oil. Italy is the next largest producer.
“I like low-alcohol, high-acid wines with green or black olives,” says Joe Campanale, the wine director and partner at Celestine and owner of Fausto in Brooklyn, New York. “The high acidity cuts through the fat of the olive and stands up to the olive’s acidity. Even better if it’s a coastal wine that has some of its own natural saltiness. Wines from Santorini, Corsica, Liguria and coastal Croatia come to mind.”
Many wines that exhibit olive notes, like Sagrantino, Syrah from Côte-Rôtie and some Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, are best reserved for rich, cooked dishes like pastas and braises, says Campanale.
Ever since Botticelli painted “The Birth of Venus,” scallop shells have been a metaphor for beauty. But the real appeal of these mollusks is the sweet, meaty morsel inside. Scallops are found in every ocean and most cuisines throughout the world, from decadent gratinéed French coquilles St. Jacques to the intensely pungent, sweet dried scallops used in Cantonese dishes. They work well with most cooking methods and have special affinities with white wine, bacon, thyme, ginger, mushrooms, peanuts, lime and garlic. Live scallops in the shell are a rare treat and should be eaten raw or cooked simply. “There’s nothing better than scallops cooked whole on the grill,” says Chef José Andrés, who recently opened two seafood restaurants, Miami’s Bazaar Mar and Maryland’s Fish. “I also love to use raw bay scallops in a ceviche with lime and fresh or dried [chilies].”
How To Buy Scallops
Live scallops should be eaten the day they’re purchased. When buying shucked scallops, ask for “dry” scallops. “Wet” scallops have been soaked in a phosphate solution to preserve and whiten them, but it also dilutes flavor and detracts from the dense, meaty texture.
• Scallops have tiny eyes—sometimes more than 100— that line their shell edge.
• The scallop is the symbol of the Camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James in Spain.
• Scallops can produce pearls, but they lack the luster of those from oysters.
• A scallop shell is featured in the coat of arms of Winston Churchill and the Spencer family of Princess Diana.
• Because they are active swimmers, scallops are the only migratory bivalves.
Scallops have a natural richness that demands high-acid wines. “Grilled and seared scallops have awesome caramelization, and pairing with a just off-dry Chenin Blanc is incredible,” says Andy Myers, wine director for José Andrés’s Think Food Group. He recommends Domaine Huet’s 2009 Le Haut-Lieu Demi-Sec Vouvray from the Loire Valley. “It is a bit oxidized, which plays off the caramelized notes, a bit sweet to accentuate the sweetness of the scallop, and the acid cuts the richness perfectly.” For raw scallops, Myers looks to Galicia. “I love pairing raw scallops with a briny Albariño, like the 2015 Veiga Serantes [from Rías Baixas]. The hints of ocean spray capture the scallop’s natural flavor, and the high acid cuts through its rich texture.”
Most Americans know sardines in love-them-or-hate-them canned form, but coastal cultures around the world, from Italy, Spain and Portugal to India and Japan, eat them fresh. That way, this small fish—actually comprising several species in the Clupeidae family—is firmer and less fishy than the canned version, comparable to mackerel. If you find fresh sardines, have your fishmonger clean, gut and scale them. Then, season and char them on a hot grill for two minutes per side. They’re difficult to overcook, so they’re perfect for the grill.
“Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not-that-good lobster.” —Ferran Adrià
• The Guinness world record for “most seafood prepared at an outdoor event” was 14,000 pounds of sardines at a 2010 festival in Setúbal, Portugal.
• The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History has a 14-karat gold sardine can in its collection, enhanced with 55 Russian diamonds, by gemstone artist Sidney Mobell.
• In 1989, in Ipswich, Australia, about 800 sardines fell from the sky onto a couple’s lawn during a light rain.
• The expression “packed like sardines” was first recorded in 1911 in the letters of English poet Wilfred Owen.
To cut through the rich fish, try high-acid coastal white wines like Albariño from Rías Baixas, Muscadet, Vermentino from Southern Italy’s coast, Santorini Assyrtiko and Vinho Verde (the Portuguese are likely to drink equally crisp red Vinho Verde).
Our canned sardines pick:
Wild Planet’s Wild Sardines in Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Adam Petronzio, wine director at Oceana in New York City, says, “I’m a little old school and typically pair sardines with a white wine, but I also really like pairing it with still and sparkling rosés. For sparkling, the Camel Valley 2014 Pinot Noir Brut Rosé [Cornwall, England] features a fruit flavor not masked by the autolytic flavors that add to the complexity, giving an amazing contrast to the fish. For still, I like the Eugene Carrel 2016 Rosé de Savoie, [a blend of Gamay and Mondeuse]…. Its balanced acidity lifts the fish to elegant heights.”
It’s cliché to say everything’s better with bacon, but it’s true. Bacon lands a direct hit on the brain’s comfort center. The mania of a few years ago has reached a more reasonable stride—we’re seeing fewer desserts focused on the cured meat, and bacon cologne, thankfully, never caught on. Now’s a good time to rediscover its versatility and, yes, sophistication.
“I’d be a vegetarian if bacon grew on trees.”
Bacon can refer to cured pork from the belly, back or side. American bacon is cured pork belly that’s cold smoked and cooked before eating. While bacon-dominant dishes like BLTs and wedge salads are fantastic, treat it more as a supporting actor than the star.
How to Pair Wine with Bacon
Fahara Zamorano, sommelier at Gwen, a Los Angeles butcher shop and restaurant that makes its own charcuterie (and winner of Wine Enthusiast‘s 100 Best Wine Restaurants of 2017), advises pairing the whole dish, not just the bacon it employs. “When bacon is in salads or pastas, white wine is the way to go,” she says. “Rich whites like Châteauneuf-du-Pape blanc, German Riesling or Alsatian Pinot Blanc are all great options.” For more bacon-forward situations, “you want the wine to cut smoke and richness, but also to complement the food, not just cleanse your palate between bites,” she says. Her preferences are dark rosés and light reds. Here are two to try. Larmandier-Bernier Rosé de Saignée (Champagne). “A deep-colored, earthy and structured sparkling rosé.” Manincor Kalterersee Keil Schiava (Alto Adige). “Light color and tannin, yet intense aromas of bacon, mushroom and forest floor, with secondary fruit and floral notes. This wine smells like cured meat, so no surprise it goes so well with it.”
• Kevin Bacon, indeed, loves bacon. His favorite sandwich is the BLAST: bacon, lettuce, avocado, smoked salmon and tomato.
• The first bacon cheeseburger from a national chain was A&W’s Teen Burger, in 1963.
• During World War II, households were asked to donate bacon grease. Its glycerin was used in explosives.
• Molly Schuyler, at 5-foot-7, 125 pounds, set a Guinness world record when she ate five pounds of bacon in 5 minutes, 21 seconds.
• The formula for bacon cologne was created in 1920 by a Parisian butcher named John Fargginay.
- 1Pairing Wine with Cranberries
- 2Pairing Wine with Strawberries
- 3Pairing Wine with Apples
- 4Pairing Wine with Grapefruit
- 5Pairing Wine with Hazelnuts
- 6Pairing Wine with Carrots
- 7Pairing Wine with Celery
- 8Pairing Wine with Basil
- 9Pairing Wine with Pink Peppercorns
- 10Pairing Wine with Olives
- 11Pairing Wine with Scallops
- 12Pairing Wine with Sardines
- 13Pairing Wine with Bacon