The Fundamentals of Food and Wine Pairings

First of all, there is no such thing as a Universally Perfect Pairing. Everyone’s palate is different and what might taste like Ambrosia to me, might taste like cat piss to you. Therefore, when we talk about food and wine pairings, we can only talk in generalisations. To find your own perfect pairing, you will first have to understand your own palate.

As for all sensory experiences, it is hard to find a shared vocabulary and a common scale, since everyone’s experience will vary vastly. Generally, experts tend to talk about Three different Categories when they discuss food and wine pairings. Certain experiences will unfortunately overlap between the categories, but overall, they are a good way of breaking down the general sensory experience.

Three Categories

  • Taste: Better known as the five basic sensations we experience on our tongue; Sweet, Salt, Bitter, Sour and Umami
  • Texture: The overall mouthfeel of the separate components and the complete experience
  • Flavour: The combination of the taste components and aromas (see The Difference Between Flavour and Taste)

These Three Categories together describe the sensory experience of consumption and they can be found in all wine and food components. And it is by learning how to combine them, we can learn how to create magic.

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