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Exceptional Food Pairing

"Pleasure is like love... for it is also greater when it is shared!" As an Ambassador of Pleasure (“Genussbotschafterin”) I always give this message to my guests at the end of a moderated tasting session on their way home. No matter if you are a gastronome or a private pleasure-seeker - if you want to organise a tasting, you should think about the topic and the choice of drinks, but especially about an extraordinary food pairing.

White wine and red wine with scallops and finger food Creative combinations of drinks and food surprise the palate (Picture: Kamil Kalbarczyk, Unsplash)

Tasting with pleasure

So surprise your guests with creative combinations and new pleasurable experiences, because spending an enjoyable time together with friends and like-minded people is more valuable today than ever before! So – Santé and Slàinte Mhath!

festively laid tableWith moments of surprise you can inspire your guests - whether privately or in the catering trade (Picture: Mat Brown, Pexels)

Satisfied guests are an absolute no-go

The Pils as an appetizer, the sparkling wine to welcome the guests, white wine with fish, red wine with meat and finally a nice spirit in front of the fireplace - sounds familiar but a little boring. Perfect for satisfied guests ...

As an expert in pleasure marketing, I have been observing for 20 years now that satisfied guests have the highest potential for change, and therefore also the lowest loyalty. Where there is no emotional bond, the change to a competitor is inevitable. (P.S. Of course, this principle can also be applied to any other industry).

So what can you do to differentiate yourself and emotionally bind your guests to you? Exactly! Inspire! With moments of surprise, unexpected performances or gestures, well thought-out solutions before problems arise and above all with an offer that simply cannot be compared with the masses.

Why not welcome your guests with a refined beer cocktail, offer a smoky whisky with the meat or serve a sparkling wine in a bulbous Chardonnay glass with the fish course?
In order to be creative and inspire guests in the long term, you need basic knowledge of the individual beverage categories and a feeling for the right food pairing.

Red wine and steakRed wine with steak - a classic! But it can also be more creative (Picture: Hanxiao, Unsplash)

Food Pairing – not a trend, but a scientifically proven philosophy of pleasure


There are various approaches for combining different pairing partners:

Classically learned combinations (e.g. dark spirit + dark chocolate or beef steak + red wine);
Combination of similar components due to similarities at the molecular level (e.g. matured brandy + black tea or peach liqueur + Gruyère cheese);
Enhanced by supporting partial aromas (e.g. wheat beer and banana chips);
Marriage of supposedly opposing components (e.g. hop-flavoured beers + smoked meat or smoked salmon).


Three champagne glasses are filled from a champagne bottleFood pairing does not always have to focus on food, drinks also deserve the spotlight (Picture: Cottonbro, Pexels)

Spot on! Because good drinks belong in the spotlight

Instead of always considering drinks only as a companion to food, one should leave the stage to them and focus on the liquid part. The matching food (whether warm, cold, as a menu or individual snacks) is called food pairing.

Whether on the occasion of a private tasting or as part of menu planning in the gastronomy - food pairing with a drink is not only a pleasurable experience, but above all a sensual marketing tool. It is all about understanding and conveying enjoyment. Beverages and suitable food pairing serve to make a product or brand a tangible experience - seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling with all the senses.

Taste does not happen in the mouth: 80 percent of what we call taste is created by our sense of smell. The remaining 20 percent are determined by other sensory parameters in the mouth (Source:

Champagne cooler with unopened bottle on iceThere is the perfect sparkling wine for every occasion and for every budget (Picture: Pixabay, Pexels)

Sparkling wine – what is the difference between prosecco, sparkling wine, champagne & Co?

Sparkling wines differ according to the way they are made, their origin and the grape varieties used, and are therefore very different in taste and price. The same applies to sparkling wines as to all authentically handcrafted beverages: when it comes to taste, there is objectively no such thing as "better or worse". Instead, there is the perfect sparkling wine for every occasion and every budget.

Food Pairing Recommendation: Sparkling wines of medium sweetness (e.g. Sec Champagne with a sugar content of 17-32 g/liter) go well with short fried scallops (or shellfish) in spicy-sweet red curry coconut sauce.

glass with white wineWhy not try a nice Riesling with Wiener Schnitzel? (Picture: Celina Albertz, Unsplash)

White wine – it does not always have to be fish

White wine is usually made from light-coloured grapes, which produce an incredible variety of aromas due to the large number of autochthonous (domestic) as well as globally cultivated grape varieties. Depending on whether the grapes were grown in a hot or cool region, at what time they were harvested (from classic vintage to late harvest to ice wine, for which the grapes remain on the vine until they can be harvested and processed in frozen condition) or whether the white wine was aged in steel tanks or wooden barrels, floral-floral to nutty-spicy wines full of freshness, power and elegance are created.

Food Pairing Recommendation: An absolute classic is the combination of tangy-dry Riesling (e.g. Mosel or Rheingau) to a crispy Wiener Schnitzel. Those who like melted cheese should try a Gewürztraminer from Alsace with raclette, fondue or cheese souffle. And a really creamy Chardonnay aged in a wooden barrel (e.g. from the USA or Argentina) tastes even more intense when enjoyed with a piece of fine milk chocolate.

Red wine is poured from a bottle, in the background you can see a foodThere is an almost infinite variety of red wines worldwide - and of food pairing combinations (Picture: Breakingpic, Pexels)

Red wine – holy drink in the colour of sin

Red wine is one of the oldest drinks in the world and has always been closely connected with religion and rituals. Red wine (like rosé) gets its colour, as well as the tannins (tannins) typical for red wine, from the grape skin through controlled extraction during the maceration phase.

After the maceration, malolactic fermentation takes place and very often the wine is matured in wooden barrels. Here too, there is an almost infinite variety of grape varieties and terroirs worldwide. Some regions such as Bordeaux are famous for their cuvées (marriage of different grape varieties), others for their speciality made from pure grape varieties (e.g. Saperavi from Georgia).

Food Pairing Recommendation: Every connoisseur knows heavy red wine (e.g. Malbec) with steak or floral-elegant Burgundy with roast lamb with rosemary. But try combining tannin-rich red wine (e.g. Shiraz) with duck with plums roasted in butter or a light Italian red wine with insects (e.g. grill for snacking in a pepper coat - currently the most sustainable trend food with valuable proteins).

Whisky glass with decorationWhisky with coarse liver sausage? Try it out! (Picture: Adam Jaime, Unsplash)

Whisky – with and without "e" a real cult drink for men and women

In order to be able to grasp whisky in its entirety, one would actually have to write a whole book ... It is not for nothing that it is considered the most complex spirit in the world. However, if one tries to give a very simplified overview, whisky could be divided into the following aroma categories: flowery-fruity, woody-malty, peaty and rigorous.

Depending on its origin, it is written with an "e" (USA, Ireland) or without (rest of the world) and can be made, for example, from malted (malt) or unmalted barley, rye (rye) or maize (bourbon). The process is similar to beer production until the wort is added, after which distillation takes place in traditional pot stills or modern columns. Maturation in wooden barrels is responsible for the colour and aroma of the whisky. Whether the whisky is then blended with others (blend), from one distillery (single), from one cask (single cask), reduced with spring water or bottled in cask strength is a stylistic decision of the distillery and is usually reflected in the price.

Food Pairing Recommendation: Whisky is suitable for drinking straight (e.g. older single malts), for contemplation with a cigar in front of the fireplace or for cocktail classics like the Old Fashioned. But the distilled "cereal beer" also cuts an enormously good figure for eating. My current absolute highlight is a heavily peated whisky from the Scottish island of Islay with coarse liver sausage on fresh farmhouse bread. Absolutely recommended!

Cognac glassCognac with espresso cheese – a revelation (Picture: Kevin Sicher, Unsplash)

Cognac – the almost forgotten classic

There would be so many other categories of drinks (e.g. tequila and mezcal, rum, gin etc.) that would also need to be mentioned, but that would go completely beyond the scope of this article. However, one great classic should definitely be mentioned: Cognac, the famous grape brandy of the French west coast.

For this, a very acidic white wine is distilled several times in special stills. The result is the so-called Eaux-de-Vie, which then matures for many years or decades in barrels made of French Tronçais oak. Only at the end of the process is the assemblage (marriage) of young and longer-aged distillates to create a highly aromatic work of art. In contrast to whisky, the age of cognac describes the oldest parts of the final product. An artisan cognac that has been allowed sufficient time to mature always possesses the perfect combination of floral-fruity notes and opulent aromas.

Food Pairing Recommendation: Cognac, like most other spirits, is not only a great soloist, but also perfectly suited for combination with food. One revelation is the unusual pairing of an XO matured for several decades with creamy espresso cheese from Wisconsin, USA.

I hope I could inspire you a little bit, light up for great food pairings and wish you a lot of fun in sharing unforgettable moments of pleasure!

myBeviale - Default Image Video

Food Pairing & Whisky Live Stream 15. Nov with Annick Seiz and Whisky Jason