Sherry and curry

on 19 September, 2012

The Great Sherry Tasting took place yesterday at the Cinnamon Club in London yesterday. I would say that it was one of the best food and wine/spirit/beer matchings I have ever attended.

The food was delightful, if not amazing and there was nothing forced about the way the various sherries, from Finos to Amontillados and Olorosos, went with the dishes that were presented.

I have sat through my fair share of matching food with champagnes, whiskies/eys, beers and ciders. Generally speaking I think it is ‘horses-for-courses’. A few do match but in the main, I would prefer to accompany most dishes with good old table wine. There is enough for your palate to sort out with acidity and tannins, let alone spirit, bubbles and the sheer volume of beer and cider.

There is nothing revelatory about sherry going with spicy foods. I can recall going to Chutney Mary, which back in the 1990s was one of the best and most pioneering Indian restaurants in London.  Its menu recommended dishes with sherry.

But Cinnamon Club manager, Hari Nagaraj and his team, did a brilliant job in coming up with five exemplary dishes to match the sherries presented by new Consejo Regulador for Jerez president Beltrán Domecq and organised by Graham Hines who represents the generic body in the UK.

At the risk of attracting extreme opprobrium (yes, I know, but someone has to do it), here is what we had:

-       Norwegian king crab with tamarind and burnt chilli dressing, chilled lentil and coriander soup, accompanied by Barbadillo Manzanilla Solear, which was fuller bodied and went best with the soup and Lustau Fino La Ina which went superbly with the crab and salad.

-       - Tandoori Scottish salmon with dill and mustard, green peas relish (like Japanese wasabi but without the horse radish. Personally not sure about this but some loved it), accompanied by Fernando de Castilla Antique Fino and Valdespino Innocente Fino, both excellent.

-       Chargrilled guinea fowl with fennel and coriander, paprika raita, accompanied by Cayetano del Pino Palo Cortado Viejisimo 1/5 and Barbadillo Principe Amontillado. Both equally excellent.

-       Clove-smoked Cumbrian wild deer with pickling sauce, accompanies by Lustau Emperatriz Eugenia Oloroso Seco and Harvey’s Palo Cortado. The latter was a shade too powerful for the dishes.

-       Pecan nut and ginger pudding with Pedro Ximenez jelly/parfait, accompanied by Gonzalez Byass Solera 1847 Oloroso Dulce and Williams and Humbert Dry Sack 15 year Old Oloroso. Both excellent but the former shaded it.

Unless you have a real aversion to Indian, spicy food and/or sherry, it really doesn’t get much better than this.

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