French Food Tips - How To Choose The Right Wine For Any Meal

When you think of French food, what drink to you tend to associate with it? It's a fair bet that you would think of wine, because French food and wine tend to go hand in hand, as though made for each other from the very start. The French love their wine of course, although here in the UK we like a fair tipple more than ever, with us British spending over £12 billion a year.

But if you're looking to serve a bottle of wine more by how it is able to complement the food than how much it cost or how pretty the bottle, then read on. In this article we're going to look at how to pair your traditional French food with a good bottle of wine that will see you pass favour as a culinary expert.

The thing to remember with wine drunk with a meal is that it should act as an integral part of the meal, complementing and balancing the flavours, and helping to cleanse the palate at the same time. Many people state that drinking wine with your meal aids digestion, although this may simply be an excuse of course! The one rule when it comes to choosing and serving wine with any meal is that red wine goes with red meats such as steaks, lamb and beef, and white wine goes with seafood, white meat such as pork, and poultry, such as chicken and turkey.

However, if this rule is the first and last one which you tend to follow, then here's a second rule to double up your understanding of how wine should be served with a meal: forget the first rule.

Although the first rule can be helpful, it can also be very limiting, and in many cases people may end up drinking white wine with a meal when really they much prefer red wines, or vice versa. Essentially you shouldn't just go by the colour of the liquid, because there are so many more factors which come into play. It may well be that when serving lamb a white wine goes down much better than a heavy red wine, and so it's best to look at how to pair French food and wine based on four basic factors. But don't worry, this doesn't mean you have to have an expert palate, as these factors can be detected by anyone.

The first factor is acidity, which affects how sharp a wine feels. Imagine having an apple, such as a Cox's. When you bite into this you get a tingle which you can tell on your tongue feels almost sharp. This is the acidity, and some wines will have a similar effect, whilst others will be less sharp, more like biting in to a Golden Delicious which is slightly more child friendly!

The second factor is the body, which you often hear wine connoisseurs talking about. This really means how thick the liquid is, comparing water to milk, and milk to cream. The heavier the wine the more body it has.

The third factor is the aroma, (or smell if you insist!) and this is best detected by swirling the wine in a glass and smelling it. You should be able to pick out elements such as earthiness, fruitiness, nuttiness and even floral elements.

The fourth and final factor to lookout for when choosing wines which match well with French food is the flavour of course, and this will be very much akin to the aroma. A nutty aroma will usually mean the wine will have a chocolaty, nutty flavour.

Once you have picked out these four elements, and don't worry - there's no wrong or right answer, as it's all entirely a matter of personal opinion, you can start to look at how to pair your wine with your French food. If you're serving a traditional French beef bourguignon then you may well find that a full bodied, heavier red wine with a strong flavour is best, whereas if you're serving Canard à l'Orange then you may find a lighter white wine with a light, slightly spicy or tangy flavour and a slight acidity to complement the orange sauce will work wonders.

Remember, when pairing French food with wine the only real rule is that there are no rules, so bear in mind the factors outlined above, and then rely on your gut instinct - literally!

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