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Catered Parties: Food and Wine Pairing Dos and Don’ts

Whether you’re planning an anniversary party, a birthday party or some other celebratory occasion, a party is the perfect opportunity to bring people together for the universal desire for good company and a fun time. But, before you venture out to host your soiree, you must take care of the most important element if you plan on serving wine: a proper food and wine pairing.

What you choose to serve your guests is integral to the entire mood of the party. Sophisticated small plates and tapas? Platters of cheeses, fruits and spreads? Healthy seafood entrees? Or perhaps you’re more taken with a feast of comfort food? Whatever you decide to serve, it should pair nicely with the wines you’re offering your guests. Follow these simple dos and don’ts to help you find the perfect food and wine combinations.

DO listen to your caterer’s advice. When you are at the pre-party tasting, make sure to listen to the caterer. They’re a great resource and have a broader understanding of what foods and wines will pair well together. They’ll be sure to lead you in the right direction to get the ball rolling.

DON’T try food options without wine samples. T. Edward Wines spirits strategist and wine educator, Scott Rosenbaum stresses the importance of  always sampling your food with the different wine options to experience different flavor combinations. He states, “Taste the wine with the food…so you select the wine that best complements the meal.” When tasting, stay true to what you like and choose wines that you feel best complement the meal. To hear all of Scott’s food and wine pairing tips, check out his full interview with All Called Catering.

DON’T simply follow traditional food and wine pairing rules. While there’s truth to traditional food and wine pairings rules, such as, red wine complements beef and white wine complements fish, don’t feel that you have to absolutely stick to these rules, and instead, take the opportunity to play with flavors. Keep in mind,  however, the six flavor elements that affect wine pairings: fat, acidity, salt, sweetness, bitterness and texture. Keep these elements in mind to avoid food and wine clashes, but still try something new and unexpected. Don’t be shy, go for it! For example, pair a heavy, fatty salmon dish with a dry rose, instead of the traditional white wine for an unexpected, delicious flavor combination.

DO take advantage of your relationships. No, it’s not what it sounds like! Stay true to your own palette and use what you know about your loved ones’ food and drink preferences to give them choices you’ll all enjoy savoring. Even if a particular wine is said to be the “perfect complement” to the food you’re serving, don’t serve it if you don’t think your guests will enjoy it. Remember: what matters is what tastes will satisfy you and your guests.

Share more food and wine preferences with me in the comments section below!

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