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Mshamba lady guide to taking wine

14 July 2015, 14:36 Shakila Alivitsa

Nairobi - The first time I had a taste of liquor, I was seven or eight. I think. It was the hard stuff too.

It was vodka! My father had brought it home and put it in the fridge. As an African/ Kenyan child I should tell you though. When the father brought something at home and it was in paper bags, in the form of vegetables, meat and in a bottle labelled Coca-Cola-you were allowed to it. If it was brought in the form of weird bottles (read dawa ya kienyeji), you were meant to be invited to have it. So, as an unwritten law, if it is a drink and it is not milk, water and or honey, you were not meant to have it. The Coke, it was meant for visitors, you were invited to that too.

So, one day, I go to the fridge and this bottle looks so inviting because it is forbidden at the same time. I take a cup and douse the rest in water so that daddy will not know what I have been up to. As a person who drinks, he knew because alcohol should never be that watery. He asks and we are all like,’ do you see an alcoholic here? It is not us!’ My first taste of vodka was not positive to my palate, I stayed off it until Campus when I was asked to tried again.

Now, it was in the form of wine, and after a run around, I was soon stealing from my mother’s box of valued Ceres. It was not interesting but from that, I knew there was a lot more to wine and even more to wine and food.

How to pair wine and food?

It is not as simple as color by the way. You will be told that white wine goes with white meat and red wine goes with red meat. It is not that simple but that is the basic stuff you should stick to if you are wet behind your ears.

In my opinion, it is more about the body of the wine, rather than the color of it.

Body and not color

I will maintain that maybe the reason a lot of people stick to color is because, red has always looked stronger and able as compared to white. Just think of your white dinner dress doused in wine by the waiter. Anyway.

A full bodied white wine is able to match up to heavy dishes such as pork tenderloin which as protein were considered to be a better match for the reds. But not so. This is because some red wines can actually be of a lighter body such as some Pinot Noir (pee-no NWAHR to you and some of me who will be magically invited to that A-list event) and thus not a perfect match. The same Pinot, as mentioned will taste really well with some fish and chicken regardless of the fact that it is a red wine.

Quick tip: Just look at some of those labels and you can tell that wines with below 10-11% alcohol have a light body. Those with 11-13% medium body and those with higher than the aforementioned figures (think 13+) are heavy bodied because of the higher alcohol content.

Higher flavor of the food=Higher intensity of the alcohol

That’s why at times you are having some sweet white wine with a less intensely flavored fish and you are wondering why it is all sitting wrong. It is just not sitting well as you expected it to be. If your food is not well matched in intensity to the glass of wine you are having then the whole experience can actually be bitter. E. g  a Pinot Grigio, the Italian and lighter variety, would not taste so good with a salad that is intensely flavored; like a garlic dressing.

Wine should always be as sweet as the food and not lesser than that

 I mentioned earlier that as you are having your meal, you might feel like you have a bitter taste. It is not the wine. It is not the food. It is the pairing. You need to know how to pair food and wine to get the best experience. If wine is less intense than the food you are having it can lead to an acidic flavor.  That is why when you are making your wedding budget and you want to pop a Champagne bottle, it is advised that you wait until dinner (when you can pair it with something else) and not cake time. A lot of people want to have Champagne but sweet cake will need sweet wine and it also depends on the flavors in the cake.

A heavily chocolate flavored cake will not go well with Champagne but harder stuff.

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Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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