table setting

Pair the Right Food and Wine at Your Reception

At your wedding party, you want to dazzle your guests with your menu choices. Pairing the right main dishes, side dishes, and desserts with the right beverages can be an important part of making your reception a night for everyone to remember. As far as food-related stresses go, you don’t want to pair the wrong wine with your food selections. Wines give you the unique opportunity to enhance the flavors of your dishes — if you choose the right ones. By planning ahead, you can create a delicious feast for your guests.

Pay Attention to Intensity

You probably have heard the rules about pairing white wine with fish and red with beef, but those aren’t the only rules. It’s also important that you focus on the intensity of wines and foods. Intensity refers to:

  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Spice
  • Acid

Match Food and Wine Flavors

Once you understand intensities, you can balance your food and beverage menu. It’s important that your wines and foods align with each other in terms of taste and weight. For example:

  • Pair rich, complex wines with robust, flavorful foods. By combining hearty choices, both will enhance and neither will overwhelm the other.
  • Combine mild wines with delicate-tasting appetizers and main dishes, as they will complement each other.

Pair Regions

Another way to appropriately combine wines with foods is to pair the regions of the world with each other. Ethnic combinations work well together, such as:

  • Combine Italian food with wine made from grapes grown in Italy.
  • Pair Spanish cuisine with wine bottled in Spain.

Serve Sweet Wines

Sweet wines work well with several categories of food. The sweet taste enhances the flavors of menu items that are:

  • Spicy: The sugar in wines can cool down the heat of spicy foods.
  • Salty: Just like candy-covered pretzels are delicious, the sweet and salty combination of food and wine can work well together.
  • Sweet: Pair your dessert course with sweet wine to enhance the taste of both items.

Sample Ahead of Time

One of the best ways to make sure your wines will go with your menu items is to sample them together ahead of time. To do this:

  • Prepare (or have the cook prepare) foods you plan to serve.
  • Assemble several wine options.
  • Sample the choices by taking a bite of the food and then taking a sip of each wine.
  • Keep sampling until you find the combinations that tantalize your taste buds.

Your wedding reception is one of the most memorable parties you will ever throw, so make sure the food and drink you serve lives up to the occasion. By giving thought to these pairings and planning ahead, you can select the perfect choices.

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