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What drinks do you serve with a 5-7 course meal?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I cook myself multi-course lunches whenever possible but I never thought about how drinks could add to the experience. Any advice?


The courses generally flow as follows:


1. Soup

2. Pasta or risotto

3. A meat dish with a few cooked vegetables

4. Salad

5. Desert

6. Sweet milk coffee with a piece of chocolate

7. Citrus fruit.


Lunch generally lasts about 90-120 minutes. Perhaps 1-2 glasses of wine should accompany the whole lunch? I read the French ideally start a meal off with a glass of champagne? Some others have aperitifs to end the meal? I'm a bit lost and am enjoying delving a bit into gourmandism.

post #2 of 8

If you are going to be pairing wine or beer with food, you can get really detailed about it. Depending on the ingredients in the dish, a wine can enhance the experience or take away from it. Here are some general guidelines for pairing wine with food, and similar guidelines can be used to pair with various styles of beer:


-Pair to the dominant flavor (can be main ingredient, cooking method, seasoning, or sauce)

-Match weight of food with weight of wine

-Match to flavor intensity (or contrast also works)


With beer and wine, if you have a fatty/heavy food you can cut through that with an acidic wine, or a beer high in hops. Champagne is a good choice at restaurants for guests when they are still looking at the menu, because what they order usually determines what kind of wine they are going to want. If you know the specifics of what dishes you are making, you can use the internet to search for good pairings of wine with the dominant flavors. I hope that helps, I am not a wine expert but have heard these same guidelines more then once when it comes to pairing. 

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks, but what I'm specifically wondering is not which type of wine to drink, but the structure of the serving of drinks in the meal. Eg. would it be ideal to have a different glass of a different wine with each course? Should wine only be with certain courses and not others? etc.

post #4 of 8

Hi tiemu.


Let's see if I can help you out.


It is very common to serve different types of wine with multi course meals.  In fact, doing so provides great diversity and adds to the culinary experience for you or your customers.


However, you must be aware of a few things.  First, tannins in wine, especially red wine, tend to go nicely with foods that are higher in fat content.  The tannins will literally bind with the fat and protein and clean the pallet after each mouthful.  However, the same process can work against foods with less fat and leave a chalky sensation or a metallic after taste. 


Many confuse a wine's tannins with its alcohol content.  Alcohol content determines a the "dryness" of the wine.  The higher the alcohol content, the less residual sugar and therefore, the wine has a "drier" taste in the mouth. 


Tannin, on the other hand, is a substance found in the skins, seeds and stalks of grapes.  Tannins provide a wine's complexity and adds both bitterness and astringency to the wine.  Wine's with higher tannins, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, will pair nicely with well marbled red meat such as steaks and roasts.  Wines with high acidity also do well with fatty foods.  Point in fact, a white wine butter sauce. 


Where many people go wrong is when they confuse alcohol with acidity.  This is a very easy thing to do because many of the factors of the acidity + fat category overlap in the category of alcohol and fat.  A higher alcohol content wine should be generally avoided until the dessert course.  The common sense logic is you don't want your guests to get plastered while they are eating the main course or before.  (NOTE: when wine is made, 14% ABV is the most alcohol that is going to be made by the fermentation process.  Wine with an alcohol content above 14% is almost certainly fortified).


So, having said all this, the best way to approach wine pairing is knowing what DOES NOT go well with certain foods.  Once you know the "dont's," the "do's" are all that is left over.  Then, it becomes more of a personal preference and that is where the art of wine pairing lives and breathes (and the fun ;) )


Here are some don'ts.


-  High tannin wine and nuts such as Walnuts or nuts with skins;

-  Low acid wine and high acid food;

-  High tannin wine and high tannin food like dark chocolate, cinnamon, grapes and pomegranates;

-  Tannic wine with fatty or oily fish such as Cod, Salmon etc.;

-  Avoid "oaky" or tannic wines with spicy food;

-  Avoid high alcohol wine with spicy food


Generally speaking: acid + acid = good.  Tannin + tannin = bad.  Tannin + fat = good.  Tannin + low fat = bad.  Low tannin + low fat = good.  Alcohol + fat = good.  Tannin + sweet = bad.  


It is very important to remember that wine pairing is by definition a matter of opinion and preference.  What may be good for one person may not be good for another person.  There is no better example that I can think of than the pairing of red wine and chocolate.  For the life of me, I cannot understand why so many people like to pair these two.  All red wine has tannins and those tannins fight a bloody battle with the sweetness and tannins of chocolate in the mouth.  To me, its like playing death metal through broken speakers at ear bleeding volumes.  However, to others, its heaven on Earth. 


Once you understand the generalities of how wines interact with food, pairing the two will become easier.  However, there is no substitute for experience and that can only come from trying out difference combinations.  Like I said, that is where the fun is. 


I realize that I am speaking in generalizations, however, ff you provide some specifics in terms of your courses, I can provide some more specific answers and advice in terms of pairings. 


If you have any questions or need any more info, please let me know. 





"Wine is sunlight held together by water." - Galileo
"Wine is sunlight held together by water." - Galileo
post #5 of 8

For Soup: i think water is the way to go, since you are serving a soup you have to consider that its liquid so people will not need to drink that much...
For Salad: water and white wine
For Dessert a nice cup of coffee, tea or cappuccino would be great

post #6 of 8

hello tiemu,

For wine, i would advice that you use a different type of wine for each course. First, this will break the monotony of having to take one single type every other time. Secondly, depending on the course, certain types of wine would be more appropriate than others. Also, wine should only be with certain courses, and not others, since some courses would be better accompanied by other drinks such as milk or water.

post #7 of 8

I attend a 'gourmet' Christmas meal every year and each party takes a course, pairing with their chosen wine.  There are usually 8-10 of us so we can expect (always) at least 6 courses.  Each course is served with a glass of wine.  Wine is such a versatile drink, and comes in such a wide range of varieties is is a great opportunity for everyone to taste different types.  There is lots of information regarding pairings either on the web or at the wine store.  Happy tasting !!

post #8 of 8
-Pair to the dominant flavor (can be main ingredient, cooking method, seasoning, or sauce)

-Match weight of food with weight of wine

-Match to flavor intensity (or contrast also works)


Great suggestions on pairing alcohol with food in general... thanks for sharing.

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