ANCX just released an article I wrote, talking about the 10 drinks that I drank during quarantine.
The thing is, so many winos like me were not just feeling the boredom, frustration, and lack of drink options… We also felt the effects of having very a limited food selection.
Let’s face it: Not everyone is a gourmet chef, and much as we wanted to broaden our culinary horizons, there wasn’t much to cook beyond what our local supermarket could provide in terms of ingredients. Besides, it’s quite difficult to cook foodie-pleasing dishes every. Single. Meal.
God, I miss restaurants.
Anyway. During one conversation with one of my favourite people on Earth, Judd Anthony Labarda (check out his article here!), he came up with such a brilliant idea for an article: Quarantine Food and Drink Pairings.
I know I’m releasing this way beyond the ECQ, but what can I say. Our livers could only process so much… ehrm… research.
Anyway, here are our lockdown food pairing discoveries:
One of the most entertaining things that happened during the lockdown was when a local sardine brand nonchalantly called out horrible situations at the height of the ECQ. I told myself I would talk about them in an article and… the time is now! We discovered that tomato-based sardines were yummy with a New World Sauvignon Blanc. Upon further research, other recommendations include Vinho Verde and a Rosé (preferably a Provence style).
One of my favourite “alone in a bar” experiences happened in Chile. I was in the Hotel Kennedy bar and had drink stubs to burn so naturally, I had some of Chile’s famous, rich red wine (then moved on to Pisco Sour because, Chile). They did not scrimp on the bar chow, which contained green raisins, almonds, and the usual salty peanuts. Fast forward to 2020 and I discovered… I wasn’t alone in enjoying the tannic red wine – nuts combo. My friend, wino extraordinaire Chie Gatchalian, posted a photo of said pairing in her IG account. Theoretically, salty nuts (hoo boy, my filthy friends would have a blast with the phrase… Mind out of the gutter, guys!) reduce the tannins of red wine, which makes it a fantastic combo. Another recommendation I found was for sweet sherry, but I’ll try that next time.
This is the Philippines. With soy sauce, garlic, and vinegar, we can adobo anything in the freezer or fridge (if anyone’s done an adobo with something from their pantry, let me know!). As I’ve mentioned in the ANCX article, there’s nothing like elevating lutong bahay classics. So, instead of my usual San Miguel beer (which I ran out of), I paired it with Engkanto, a craft pale ale. Here’s the thing though: Adobo (depending on what was, well… adobo-ed) actually works well with Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, and light-bodied Zinfandel.
The comedian Rex Navarette describes the Filipino hotdog as being of a colour that is not found in nature, containing “red dye number five”… but, really. People who grew up in the Philippines traded their veggie-rich baon (why would anyone do that to their child in the first place? #badinfluence) for one of these babies at one point. I mean, it’s definitely sinful but yummy (colourful marshmallows optional) and so easy to store and prepare. While in a pinoy party, one could easily imagine them with a local “brandy” (with their very tipsy Tito Boy singing My Way on the karaoke), they actually work with Riesling and Spanish Rosé.
The easiest – and the hardest – to cook from one’s fridge. No matter how they’re cooked – sunny side up, over easy, hard boiled, scrambled or poached (someone’s feeling fancy!)… Universally, eggs go so well with Chardonnay or Champagne. For a truly fancy brunch experience, I highly recommend a Blanc de Blancs for best of both worlds. After all, Blanc de Blancs means that the Champagne is made entirely out of Chardonnay. Technically, any sparkling wine (because, budget) would work, too.
Yep, I’m talking about the orange-coloured slices that people use to add a touch of dimension to their food. I see them in sandwiches, burgers… I’ve even put some on my homemade tteokbokki after a kdrama marathon (I was bored). Generally, I’d recommend a pilsner for cheddar cheese.
My name is Gail, and I’ve discovered that cookies can be paired with
milk wine. There is a general food and wine pairing effect that states, “sweetness in food brings out the bitterness of wine.” This means that people who don’t like bitterness shouldn’t pair desserts with dry wine. Now, cookies… They’re sweet, and could easily be stored in the pantry. Muscat goes well with them, but further research led me to an Oreo-port pairing.
Otherwise known as a super easy protein source for anyone handy with a can opener, this pantry staple is something one could easily imagine with rice and a beer. In the interest of elevating the canned beef experience, however, I highly recommend pairing it with a Beaujolais.
Yes, Doritos. The chips that oddly resemble Chris Evans’ physique during his Captain America days? Those chips (trivia: He likes Cool Ranch). There are many corn chips available on the market, but I zeroed in on this particular brand after seeing a recommended pairing from my version of the “bible”: What to Drink with What You Eat (Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page… Yep, we actually do research the stuff that goes into this site). Anyway, they recommended sparkling wine or Zinfandel but personally, I wouldn’t crack open a pricey Champagne for this… I was quite happy with a Cava. My sister would have been even happier with Evans on the side too, LOL.
Whether it’s the dry style (like an instant pancit canton or a yakisoba) or the ones with soup, one thing’s for sure: There’s a lot of MSG in each one. The thing about MSG and wine interaction is, MSG brings out the bitterness and reduces the pleasant fruit characteristics of the wine… which is why I find that pairing it with a Gewürztraminer – with its fruity/floral characteristics and typically off-dry style – is perfect.
C’mon. Who didn’t fry anything during lockdown? I am all about eating healthier and breaking out the crockpot for lovely stews, but I have to admit… Lazy days means frying food. Whether it’s fried chicken, fried fish, or French fries, sparkling wine or beer are the perfect pairs. I think there’s something about the effervescence of the drinks cutting through the grease which I like.
Speaking of pairings, I personally love recreating the movie theater experience at home (like there’s much of a choice these days, duh) by having a little popcorn to go with *insert streaming service here, we’re not paid for this*. I dug up an old article I wrote praising the merits of heavily buttered popcorn and “buttery” Chardonnay (wine fact: the “buttery” flavours in a Chard come from subjecting the wine in Malolactic Fermentation*, or MLF for short).
I generally find that toast goes well with sparkling wines that have gone through Bottle Fermentation (when the secondary fermentation, which is needed to introduce “bubbles” to the wine, is done in the bottle) because there’s always a bready smell to them brought about by exposure to yeast twice in its production. Considering what people put on their toast, I decided to look at two things one could have easily found at home during quarantine: Butter, and peanut butter. IMHO, butter makes everything better, and goes well with buttery Chardonnay (see previous explanation on MLF), while PB goes with Gewürztraminer. Much as I’d love to write about jam pairings, there’s just way too many flavours that would likely have their own complimentary drink… Maybe I should get people to nominate a few for another article?
I could NOT believe canned tuna went with a Pinot Noir from New Zealand. #nomnoms
Confession: I wasn’t able to do an experiment on this because of the darned alcohol lockdown (read: I ran out). Theoretically, a Muscat or a PX Sherry would go famously with ice cream… In fact, one of my favourite desserts involves vanilla ice cream drizzled with PX.
Bonus Round: Deliveries
I find that a classic, brick-oven, Italian style pizza goes well with a Chianti or a Barbera, while the pizza delivery staples (such as Pizza Hut or Domino’s) goes better with a Malbec. The secret is in the sauce: The Italian style tends to be more acidic (or as an Italian wino friend defines “Italian” flavours, “balsamic”), while Pizza Hut’s sauce tastes sweeter.
In the spirit of innovation, one of the best things we had delivered during the lockdown was sushi bake. I love, love, LOVED it with a little sake.
Shoutout to our friends Paulette, Leica, Gerry, and Nick for coming up with college dorm-worthy food ideas!
*MLF – The conversion of stronger malic acid naturally present in new wine into lactic acid, which has lower acidity.