As I write, I have beside me a snappily titled brochure “Snapsguide för Lyckade Smakkombinationer” (a guide to combining food and Swedish schnapps). For generations, rules have been developed on what drink goes best with what food. And pairing wine and food has been raised to an art form.
Some basic rules are usually suggested. White wine with fish, red wine with meats. Sweet wines with dessert. Port with cheese. Norton, a native American grape grown in Georgia, with chocolate – both M&Ms and intense dark chocolate. And the wine of the region where the food is produced. And, of course, there are exceptions to every rule. For example, that sweet wine with your dessert may be even better with a sharp blue cheese or goose liver pate.
The source of these supposed rules may be lost in the mists of time, but marketing comes into play, too. Champagne is offered as going with absolutely everything (apart, maybe, from tomatoes), and that has been backed by self-serving advice from the big champagne producers for more than a century.
Now there is a big push to present another liquid as suitable accompaniment for fine dining. Yes, Coca-Cola™ is being promoted in TV ads with millennial foodies enjoying a can or bottle with their poppy seed and chicken salad, seafood paella or steak with salsa verde. Surprisingly, popular food blogs are enthusiastically endorsing these and other Coke and food combinations. Though maybe it is not so surprising when you learn that Coca-Cola is sponsoring these blogs. We can expect to see more of these sort of adverts in the New Year as Coke management conduct a campaign pairing Coke “with everything,”
Culinary Institute of America professor of wine, beverage and hospitality, John Fischer, points out that consumers may regret trying Coke with their lobster or Beluga-caviar or whatever, because it’s “a fairly powerful flavor” that will “obliterate” delicate foods. However, the company may try to repeat its claims that Coke goes well with everything, trying to “say it until it’s true.”
I think I personally will continue to pair food with wine and leave fizzy sugar drinks off the restaurant table.