Food and wine pairing allow chefs to create a new superior gastronomic effect. It is a highly subjective process depending on the choice of the consumers. It is used to pair the individual dish with different wines to enhance the flavor of both food and drink. According to Garibaldi et al., (2017) in the USA, about 60 percent of people prefer red varieties and 30 percent of people enjoy white wines. It is essential for restaurant managers to consider the trends and the taste of the consumers in their areas and create pairings of food and wine that can accommodate the preferences of a range of patrons. Beverages especially alcohol have become a trend and a pivotal part of the restaurant experience. The future of food and wine pairing in the restaurant is looking bright, however, craft beer is siphoning off greater attention. Ferreira and Muller, (2013) argued that the food-wine pairing will improve the customer’s experience of the restaurant. They will be connected to the restaurant and will feel comfortable because they will trust in the selection they have made.
On the other hand, it makes greater business sense to add food and wine pairings to the menu. It can increase the profit and sales of the restaurant, as well as the restaurant will seem more interesting and cosmopolitan. It can be incorporated in various ways into the restaurant menu. It is a very individual and subjective matter, every person has their own choice and taste. It is a fact that certain foods make better pairs with certain wines, so it is essential for restaurants to discover that perfect match. At an early age it was easy when consumers had only two choices just red and white wines, red went with beef, and white went with chicken and fish. However, Garibaldi et al., (2017) stated that it is no longer this simple, nowadays it’s about a variety of textures and flavors, so it’s not easy to pinpoint with cent percent accuracy the best food and wine pairing. According to Lecat and Chapuis, (2017) pairing wine with food is a matter that has no definitive rules, however, there are certain basic rules which are worthy and should be followed. For instance, aperitif wine is perceived to awaken the taste and sharpen the senses, while white wines are supposed to be served with fish.
Wine and food pairing was used for centuries, the winemaking is very ancient and may go back as far as 8000 years ago. The reason behind wine pairing with food is to enrich the dining experience. It evolved in some cultures over time. In many countries, one rarely dines without wine and the local wine with food is known as food-friendly to match the cuisine areas. Basically, wines have seven different tastes such as sour, bitter, salty, sweet, astringent, pungent, and umami. However, the tongue is sensitive to only five basic tastes excluding pungent and astringent. All foods are actually graded by these five components. Sweetness is measured by the scale of bone dry to very sweet. Examples of bone dry are Sancerre and Chianti Classico, while that very sweet are Orange Muscat and Ruby port. According to the rules set by Harrington (2007) sweetness in wines must be greater as compared to food. The higher sweetness of wines creates a pleasant contrast with the food components, however, a sweeter food makes the taste of wine more acidic.
Alcohol is the main factor in dictating wine’s body and weight. A higher level of alcohol increase the weight of the wine, this increased weight of alcohol increases the texture and density of the wine. The spicy and salt heat accentuates alcohol and the awareness of warmness in the mouth while pairing food and wine. For spicy food lovers, alcohol could amplify the warmth of spicy foods and generate a lot of heat for a taster. The reason for pairing wine with food is the claim that wine helps in digestion. According to Harrington (2007), the right combination of wine with a meal can stimulate digestion and produce a greater taste for consumers. It stimulates gastric acid and empties the stomach from food, however, some scientists keep polarized opinions about the impacts of wines on the digestion of food. They believe that there is no or little effect, and a study explained this dilemma and found the effects of fermented drinks such as wine, beer, and sherry. While there are no effects of drinks that are fermented and distilled such as rum, whiskey, and cognac. Wines with lower acidity must be tried to not overwhelm the palate. Common acidic foods such as chicken curry and Caesar salad could be paired along with the full-flavored Riesling and chardonnay.
Magic & Ivkov discussed five tastes of wines and their combination with different foods. Bitterness is sometimes confused with astringency as both tastes are similar to a greater extent in their interaction with food. The bitter taste is found in some green vegetables, some fruits, many spices, herbs, or food charred during cooking. It is extracted from many foods during the cooking process at high temperatures. The bitter components of food increase the bitterness f wine when it is served. The saltiness of food produces a sense of lower bitterness in the wine. The saltiness will reduce the effects of umami and will make the wine bitterer. Umami has achieved greater acceptance by the consumers and also by the scientists who claimed it fifth taste, separated from other sweet, bitter, salty, and acid. Its prototype is monosodium L-glutamate which is found naturally in many foods. Umami taste is found in higher concentrations in Asian cuisines (Gagic & Ivkov, n.d). Salty foods are much harder to pair with any drink, however, it could be paired very well with that wines having very high fizziness or vivacity. Wines with medium to higher effervescent wines can reduce the undesirable effects of bitter foods. Sparkling wines can decrease strong elements such as salt (Majkrzak, 2018).
The health sciences do not recommend wine on an empty stomach. Pairing wine with food is however better for health. There are several studies conducted that suggest us if a person drinks a glass or two on empty stomach before dinner the person is likely to consume up to 25 percent more food in dinner (Rifler, 2018). The matter is not only about the extra food but it can also affect the health of the consumer. Drinking wine without food or on empty stomach may cause a loss of control because alcohol travels straight to the bloodstream and the concentration of alcohol rises in the body. As alcohol hits the brain it immediately affects the control behavior of the body functions.
Alcohol doesn’t need to be digested like food, so it can move into the bloodstream and reach the brain quickly. If you drink it with food or after a meal, it helps to digest food and reduces the accumulation of fatty acids in the liver (Le Berre et al., 2017). The liver then stores fats as it interrupts the metabolism, and the body functions normally. The liver metabolizes alcohol first, which changes the structure of the liver’s cells. It leads to the fatty acid being stored in the liver and makes the liver fatty. So the medical scientists recommend wine with dinner or after you finish your food. On an empty stomach drinking wine can increase blood alcohol level rapidly and declines at a linear rate for the next four hours or more. Wine pairing with food can reduce the load on your liver, and when alcohol stays in the stomach it affects the calories stored in our body. The liver first processes alcohol, so the metabolism of other food is delayed, which leads to an increase in fat storage.
A person who drinks wine regularly must try to have one or two days without alcohol to give a chance to the body for recovery. A moderate drink of wine either with food or before food has fewer adverse effects. A person should avoid wine for a full week to help their liver cells to recover. A person must make sure that the wine is organic or of good quality because there are some ingredients, toxins, and pesticides that can go into while making wine. Along with these guidelines, a person must have a balanced and healthy meal consisting of refined carbs, high proteins, and healthy fats to absorb nutrients.
The wine before and after dinner depends on culture, in every culture, there are different pre and post-dinner drinks. Before dinner, the drink is called Aperitifs. Both the drinks are considered graceful introduction and farewell to any special meal. In Spain, before dining, you will be served a light Fino Sherry, and after dessert, you are served rich brandy. In France, you will be served champagne before dinner and after dinner, you are served cognac. Both aperitif and after-dinner drinks are served without food so one should not worry about the pairing. Before dinner, the drink has a lower alcohol level, and it is the best appetizer, that helps to whet the appetite.
After your guests have a full stomach, you can serve them just a little more with decadent spirits. It is deliciously sweet and contains a higher level of alcohol. Sweet wines are mostly served as a dessert, sweet flavors remove the taste buds. Brandy, cognac, liqueurs, and cordials are considered post-dinner wines. These wines stimulate and help in digestion after a full stomach. Wines paired with food contain 7 to 14 percent alcohol and nonfortified wines are served with foods to help in the assimilation of protein and other nutrients. Table wine includes vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, B, and C, also includes calcium, potassium, cobalt, phosphorous, iron, and many other useful contents. Sparkling wine is usually served as a before-dinner drink, dessert wine, and table wine. It produces gas that makes bubbles so this wine is called sparkling. Champagne is the most famous sparkling wine, the bubbles are immediately absorbed by the stomach, and alcohol is deposited into the bloodstream.
Red wine is considered good for health, according to the research of Schwarz et al., (2017) a moderate consumption of red wine can help a person to live longer, improve mental health, enhance heart health, and protect from cancers. These benefits are applicable to moderate drinks, excessive drinks can cause many physical and mental health issues. According to dietary guidelines, moderate drinking is up to two glasses per day for men, one drink a day for women, and only legal drinking age adults are allowed. Some people should avoid drinking at all under certain health conditions. Red wine includes resveratrol in a higher amount, and it has many health benefits. Resveratrol is good for the heart, protects against certain types of cancer, also helps to prevent some types of vision loss. Berries and grapes are the best sources of resveratrol as compared to red wine, so it is better to eat a sufficient amount of grapes and berries than to drink wine. Red wine is more healthful than other kinds of alcoholic beverages. For women, wine is not good, especially more than one glass per day.
A moderate level of alcohol intake especially red wine boosts the level of “omega-3 fatty acids in red blood cells”. That helps to protect against heart diseases. Omega-3 is generally extracted by eating fish. A glass of red wine with dinner can modestly decrease type-2 diabetes and cardiometabolic. Ethanol found in wine plays an important role to metabolize glucose, and the nonalcoholic ingredients also contribute. In red wine, a compound called procyanidins is found that help to keep the vessels of blood healthy. Traditional production of wine is the most effective to extract these compounds. Many people drink wine to relax, however, Markoski et al (2016) found that nonalcoholic red wine also reduces blood pressure and relaxes the body. Resveratrol an ingredient found in red wine helps to protect the brain from stroke and the damage caused by stroke. Resveratrol also helps to prevent colon and breast cancer. It can reduce the size of tumors in the colon, however, the excess of alcohol is associated with other types of cancer.
Overall pairing wine with food not only makes the food tastier but also good for health and has some health benefits. Wine food pairing is a highly subjective matter depending on the choice and taste of customers. Restaurants have greater knowledge about the taste of their customers and offer a wide range of wines paired with food at dinner.
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