Pairings from the 2014 Summer Fancy Food Show

In the middle of our World Cup break, we had the annual pleasure of a visit to the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York. There typically aren’t many wines – let alone Argentine wines – on display at the show, but there are plenty of excellent foods for pairing. Here are a few of our favorite finds.

Crackers are the most basic wine pairing, perhaps more basic even than bread (and you don’t have to worry about them drying out). We thought the quadri, a traditional Sardinian cracker-bread, from Pansardo were just the thing for cleansing the palate and enjoying a nice crunch. There’s just a touch of salt in the large, rough-hewn leaves, which makes them an addictive wine snack.

Of course, if you’re going to have crackers, you need to have cheese as well. We were most impressed by the line of Comte from Marcel Petite, aged in an abandoned fort at 3,600 feet in the Haut Doubs forest. These cheeses, especially the older ones, have the classic Comte nuttiness but also wafts of fruity and even floral flavors. We’d pair them with pinot noir from Rio Negro or maybe an exotic white blend; slightly sweet chardonnay could also work, especially if unoaked.

A classic Argentine picada will often feature cured meats, too, and some of the best come from the Spanish brand Fermin. Their pata negra ham is exceptionally rich, with fat that melts on the palate and a taste of red berries and walnuts – perfect for an earthy tempranillo blend. And to bring in some Italian along with the Spanish flavor, we’d suggest some olives from La Rocca. The Castelvetrano (or Nocellara del Belice) and Cerignola olives, each a different deep shade of green, offer a great backdrop for a buttery sauvignon blanc not served too chilled.

When your wine drinking continues past the entree course, chocolate is a great accompaniment. For the most unctuous, dark flavors we found Hoja Verde from Ecuador hard to beat. Its 72% and 80% cocoa solid chocolates could stand up to the doughtiest cabernet francs and malbecs, with tinges of sweet chili or plum just like the wines themselves.

And finally, if there’s still a glass left in your bottle, dig in to some crunchy cookies laced with almond (for chardonnay or torrontes with a touch of oak) and violet (for that special malbec or blend). Your wines will thank you for it, and so will your tongue. Salud!

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