The Quench Ultimate Food and Drink Matching Guide

By / Magazine / October 15th, 2013 / 5

So, Heidi Klum and Seal’s seven-year marriage has skidded to a nasty end. Did you see that one coming? Finding the perfect match seems nearly impossible! If you’re anything like me, the ups and downs of celebrity love leave you hungering for something more real, like a tasty meal and a good drink.

Though not without its trials, properly paired flavours will always be blissful. And yes, like love, rules apply. Sarah Hoodspith-Carone of Carone Wines in Quebec puts it this way: “Classic matches for us are [those] that your parents taught you … white wine [with] white meat, red wine [with] red meat. Although traditional, you really can’t go wrong there.” True. But what do you pull from the cellar when dining on Chinese food? I don’t want to get anyone into trouble, least of all myself. But, maybe those old food-and-drink-pairing rules ought to be broken. Maybe we should just call them guidelines instead. Every drink (wine, beer or spirits) and food has personality — so experiment. Your own palate will tell you whether or not a match is made in heaven. At the end of the day, neither hearts nor picture frames will be strewn in shattered pieces on the floor. Tell me: what are your own memorable or most regretful pairings?

This food-and-drink-pairing list is by no means exhaustive. There are hundreds of grape varieties, beer styles, spirits and cocktails all over the world, and many more possible pairing combinations. Get out there and try some!

pairing tips

If it grows together, it goes together. This little tidbit will work well for you as long as you have a choice of drinks. James Oliver Cury of suggests, “Many people think if you’re having Mexican food, it’s a safe bet that a Mexican beer will pair well. The truth is most restaurants offer only a small selection of beers, and mostly because … [those are the brands that] people are used to seeing on a menu.” That is, the one Mexican beer on the menu can’t possibly go with all Mexican food.

Check the weight. Is the dish light and delicate or rich and creamy? A basic green salad will collapse under a robust red wine. Try pairing it with a chilled glass of Grüner Veltliner instead.

Complement and contrast. If you know the ingredients that make up the dish, then you’re already ahead of the game. Focus on the most pronounced flavour. For instance, Sauvignon Blanc or India Pale Ale will stand up well to a creamy pasta sauce. They’re also scrumptious with citrus-zest-encrusted fish.

Sparkling darlings and sweet treats. Sparkling wine — Champagne, Cava, Prosecco and the like — make easy matches to pretty much any kind of food. Sparklers aren’t overbearing sorts because they possess just the right amount of acidity to enhance the flavour of most dishes. Icewines are equally forgiving. Just remember one imperative: the Icewine should always be sweeter than the food.


white grapes

Albariño – Spanish tapas; Chilean empanadas
Albillo – oysters; plantain chips
Catarratto – smoked fish; grilled octopus
Chardonnay (Champagne) – grilled seafood; cocktail sausages; oysters
Chardonnay (oaked) – toasted nuts; mixed olives
Chardonnay (unoaked) – crab cakes; zucchini salad; scallops carpaccio
Chenin Blanc – butternut squash soup; grilled calamari
Galestro – grilled shrimp; vegetable platter
Gewürztraminer – smoked salmon; foie gras
Glera (Prosecco) – stuffed mushrooms; tomato bruschetta
Godello – grilled scallops; chef’s salad
Greco di Tufo – fried calamari; Caprese salad
Macabeo – bouillabaisse; grilled shrimp
Melon de Bourgogne (Muscadet) – artichokes in vinaigrette; oysters
Palomino (Fino sherry) – lobster bisque; consommé
Parellada (Cava) – cheese tart; shrimp salad
Pinot Grigio – prosciutto; Greek salad
Sauvignon Blanc – oysters; seafood salad
Seyval Blanc – steamed mussels; charcuterie
Verdejo – crudité of vegetables; mixed olives
Verdicchio – crab cakes; sushi
Vermentino – tomato bruschetta; mixed fried seafood

red grapes

Agiorgitiko – grilled octopus; olives; roast beef tapas
Alicante – chicken liver–stuffed mushroom caps
Cabernet Franc (rosé) – Niçoise salad; grilled octopus
Dolcetto – charcuterie; Spanish tapas
Gamay (rosé) – cheese fondue; charcuterie plate
Grenache (rosé) – smoked salmon; antipasto plate
Touriga Nacional – aged cheese and crackers


Brown Ale – smoked salmon canapés; French onion soup; leafy green salad dressed with oil and vinegar dressing
Imperial Stout – oysters on the half shell; cocktail onions on crackers
Pilsner – potato soup; Caesar salad


Absinthe – green leaf salad with Gorgonzola dressing; oysters Rockefeller
Arak – hummus and pita chips
Grappa – oysters; chestnut soup
Scotch – smoked salmon; tuna tartare
Vodka – prosciutto-wrapped scallops; caviar; oysters; cured-meat trays


white grapes

Aidini – spicy chicken satay; pork sausage
Albana – pasta in alfredo sauce; frittata
Albariño – chicken tikka masala; penne with vodka
Albillo – roast chicken; grilled salmon
Aligoté – raclette; Dungeness crab
Amigne – chicken terrine; foie gras
Assyrtiko – herb-crusted fish; grilled lamb
Bianco di Custoza – steamed fresh halibut; pasta in a light cream sauce
Cabernet Franc (rosé) – chicken stir-fry; roast duck with maple sauce
Chardonnay (oaked) – seafood with butter sauce; chicken à la king; veal piccata
Chardonnay (unoaked) – braised pork and onions; spaghetti with shrimp
Cortese (Gavi) – orecchiette pasta with pistachio pesto; lemon and shrimp risotto
Erbaluce – lemon risotto; pasta in marinara sauce
Falerio – sautéed shrimp; pasta alfredo
Fiano – grilled chicken; salt cod with sautéed leeks
Frascati – lobster pasta; tuna sandwich
French Colombard – duck confit; roast beef; sushi
Friulano – veal roast; grilled veal chops
Gamay (rosé) – chicken Kiev; grilled lamb chops
Garganega (Soave) – ricotta-filled ravioli; British fish pie
Gewürztraminer – roasted ham with sauerkraut; chicken and coconut milk curry
Grecanico Dorato – macaroni and cheese; chicken alfredo
Grechetto – Thai chicken stir-fry; chicken cacciatore
Grenache (rosé) – grilled seafood; hamburgers; spicy barbecued ribs
Grüner Veltliner – cold tofu noodles in peanut sauce; pickled herring
Inzolia – grilled sea bass; lemon risotto
Kerner – pad thai; spaghetti with clam sauce
Lambrusco (rosé) – mushroom risotto; grilled chicken
Pecorino – fish tacos; veal scaloppine
Pigato – spaghetti with pesto; coconut-curried shrimp
Pinot Blanc – frittata; blackened red fish
Pinot Gris – grilled quail; mu shu pork
Pinot Noir (rosé) – ham-topped pizza; grilled steak; veal roast
Riesling – smoked fish; pork; clams, mussels; sashimi; baked ham; roast pork
Ribolla – pasta with roasted eggplant and goat cheese; grilled grouper
Rolle – mixed fried fish; grilled sea bass
Sauvignon Blanc – baked ham; falafels
Savagnin – chicken curry; tripe sausage
Sémillon – grilled trout; pork spareribs
Torbato – roast chicken; roast chicken sandwich
Torrontés –herb-encrusted salmon; Thai shrimp and rice
Trebbiano (Orvieto) – grilled chicken; fish and chips
Verdicchio – fish tacos; pasta with garlic and oil
Vernaccia – tuna carpaccio; gnocchi with olive oil, Swiss chard and garlic
Vidal – veal piccata; lobster thermidor
Viognier – chicken satay; pumpkin pasta

red grapes

Aglianico – grilled wild boar; veal stew
Baga (sparkling) – roast suckling pig; grilled sardines
Barbarossa – hamburgers; grilled spareribs
Barbera – roast duck with plum sauce; osso buco; shaved-truffle risotto
Bardolino – ham and vegetable omelette; mushroom pizza
Bonarda – beef pot roast; macaroni and cheese
Brunello (Sangiovese) – grilled lamb chops; beef carpaccio
Cabernet Franc – beef tartare; Cornish game hen
Cabernet Sauvignon – steak au poivre; sautéed kidneys
Cabernet Severny – grilled ribeye; baked salmon
Carignan – beef stew; braised veal tongue
Carmenère – Chilean corn and meat pie; grilled duck breasts
Charbono – grilled Italian sausage; rack of lamb
Corvina (Amarone) – risotto; grilled shrimp
Dolcetto – roasted game birds; anchovies in green sauce
Freisa – pork tenderloin with orange sauce; pasta in tomato-cream sauce
Gaglioppo – roast beef; beef lasagna
Gamay (Beaujolais) – pork belly and lentils; bison burger
Grenache – pizza topped with black olives; baked sausages
Grignolino – pizza Margherita; rabbit meat–filled ravioli
Limnio – roast lamb; fish and chips
Lledoner Pelut – osso buco; Spanish tapas
Kadarka – Hungarian goulash; roast boar
Malbec – grilled sausages; beef teriyaki
Mencía – roast venison; spaghetti alla carbonara
Merlot – braised chicken; roast duck; liver; venison
Monica – grilled tuna steaks; pasta in Bolognese sauce
Montepulciano – meat lasagna; tandoori chicken
Mourvèdre – venison stew; pork roast
Nebbiolo (Barolo/Barbaresco) – pasta with shaved truffles; duck confit; sautéed calf liver; grilled beef ribs
Nero d’Avola – grilled lamb; pizza topped with black olives
Petite Sirah – hamburgers; steak and kidney pie
Petit Verdot – grilled pork spareribs; roast duck
Pinot Noir – roast rabbit and partridge; charcuterie; roast beef; grilled duck
Rossese – seafood, chicken, meat
Sangiovese (Chianti) – tomato-based pasta sauce; beef lasagna; grilled pork
Saperavi – roasted pork ribs; shepherd’s pie
Shiraz/Syrah – braised chicken; chili; goose; peppercorn steak
Tannat – Hungarian meatballs; curried goat
Tarrango – grilled beef tenderloin; roast pork sandwich
Tempranillo – grilled lamb; moussaka
Zinfandel – grilled hamburgers; cioppino
Zweigelt – veal schnitzel; Hungarian goulash


Amber Ale – beef enchilada; barbecued ribs
Belgian Dubbel – slow-roasted pork; beef stew
Bitter – fish and chips; lamb curry
Brown Ale – roast pork; hamburgers
Cider – sautéed pork belly; venison chili
Cream or Blonde Ale – roast chicken; slow-baked salmon
India Pale Ale – grilled salmon; fried chicken
Lager – Japanese sushi; spicy blackened fish
Märzen – chicken cordon bleu; pork rouladen
Pilsner – onion quesadilla; fish and chips
Porter – beef stew; shepherd’s pie
Schwarzbier – hamburgers; cheese fondue
Scotch Ale – pork tenderloin; herb-marinated chicken breast


Pisco – ceviche
Rye – roast turkey
Scotch – apricot chicken
Tennessee whisky – pork chops
Tequila – chicken in red chili sauce


white grapes

Chardonnay (Champagne) – Chinese fried rice; sautéed mushrooms
Garganega – eggplant fritters; roasted vegetables
Pinot Noir (rosé) – grilled asparagus; sweet-potato purée
Roussette – cheese soufflé; steamed crab
Sauvignon Blanc – asparagus quiche; stir-fried egg noodles
Sylvaner – sautéed sweet peas; braised carrots
Trebbiano – Brussels sprouts sautéed in pancetta and olive oil; fennel-stuffed tomatoes

red grapes

Charbono – roasted fennel; crispy baked potatoes
Cinsault – artichoke hearts gratin; grilled vegetables
Dolcetto – grilled asparagus and mushrooms; herb-scented rice
Lagrein – braised cabbage with speck; prosciutto dumplings
Pinot Noir – sautéed mushrooms; green lentils in quinoa
Shiraz/Syrah – ratatouille; red beans and rice


Amber Ale – garlic baked potatoes; sautéed baby vegetables
Brown Ale – grilled mushrooms; sautéed spinach and garlic
Porter – creamy mashed potatoes; grilled vegetables
Stout – grilled asparagus; french fries


white grapes

Azsú (Tokaji) – apricot tart; blue cheese
Gewürztraminer – Muenster cheese; cherry cheesecake
Late Harvest Riesling – custard tarts; chocolate mousse cake
Moscato – fruit-topped cheesecake; mille feuille pastry
Pedro Ximénez (sherry) – vanilla ice cream; salty cheese and dried figs
Sauternes – blue cheese; crème brûlée
Vidal (Icewine) – bittersweet chocolate truffle cake; apple and custard tart

red grapes

Grenache (fortified) – chocolate-covered cherries; blue cheese
Malvasia (Madeira) – hazelnut torte; blue cheese
Mammolo – pecorino cheese; Taleggio cheese
Mavrodaphne – mincemeat pies; vanilla ice cream
Nebbiolo (Barolo/Barbaresco) – aged cheese; fontina cheese
Port – Stilton cheese; dark chocolate truffles


Ale – blue cheese; cheddar
Barleywine – fruitcake; gingerbread
Lambic – lemon soufflé; fruit salad
Porter – cheesecake; chocolate cake
Wheat Beer – Gruyère; goat cheese


Armagnac – flourless chocolate cake; dulce de leche
Bourbon – dark chocolate cake; pecan pie
Cognac – aged Gouda; dark chocolate
Gin – blue cheese; butter tarts
Irish whiskey – goat cheese; chocolate mousse
Rum – mascarpone cheese; pear cake
Scotch – vanilla ice cream and black pepper; fresh fruit


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

3 responses to “The Quench Ultimate Food and Drink Matching Guide”

  1. Lisa Hoekstra says:

    I’m definitely bookmarking this and will probably be consulting it a lot!

  2. Bryan Willey says:

    Wow….what an extension list. I eat alot of Asian food and a little surprised it wasn’t under the Gewurtz. Always thoguht they matched ebautifully togther

  3. quenchbytidings says:

    This is amazing.

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