By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, Herb Society of America
When I was a child in the 1970s family dinners were usually roast meat, mashed potatoes, gravy and a vegetable. Seasonings were salt and pepper. And, everything was washed down with whole milk or tap water.
Fortunately, the American food scene began to shift. Table-side grinders replaced powdered black pepper shakers. Olive oil with balsamic vinegar became an alternative to butter. And, salsa outsold ketchup.
Then, the culinary culture got more exciting. International flavors added variety to the average American diet. And, fresh herbs available at retail stirred up many a kitchen.
In the 1990s, the first fusion trend mashed up flavors of different cuisines to create bold new dishes. Today, foodies are talking about the best food and beverage pairings.
Need a little assistance? Consider the Herb, Cheese and Wine pairing chart put together by William “Bill” Varney of UrbanHerbal in Fredericksburg, Texas. The four-color, 11- by 17-inch poster is both utilitarian and decorative. I plan to hang mine on the wall of my kitchen.
Cheeses, listed down the left side of the chart, are paired with wine, herbs, fruit, bread and accompaniments. The chart is like a cheat sheet for a currently popular cheese tray.
Choose, for example, my favorite goat cheese. Bill suggests pairing it with dry white or light red wine; chives, dill or oregano; figs, strawberries and peaches; pita, breadsticks, rye toast; and olives, walnuts and dried apricots.
Bill says he started working on the chart years ago. “I checked and double checked. I finally decided to have the charts made,” he says. “People are amazed when they taste something paired perfectly.”
To order a chart, visit www.urbanherbal.com.
What’s your favorite food/herb and beverage pairing?