When you think of American food, you might immediately be thinking of burgers, deep dish Pizza or one of my personal favourites, the mighty hot dog. After-all, it’s the nation that bought us high-street fast-food staples such as McDonalds and Burger King. Yet, America has one of the most diverse food cultures in the world.
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. It has a population of 325 million people, built largely on immigrants coming in search of fulfilling their American dream, bringing with them their family recipes from home. This has had a spectacular influence on the types of food and cooking methods from the rich, Italian culture of New York, to, one of my favourites, Mexican cuisine coming up into California.
Here are three of our top food and wine pairings, piping hot from the USA.
1 - MEXICAN MODA
Mexican food is going through quite the renaissance. Even right here in London, fashionable Mexican street food vendors can be found at every food market. Even some of the most celebrated chefs are launching their own restaurants here, including Kol, celebrating modern Mexican cuisine by Chef Patron Santiago Lastra.
Mexican food is jam packed with flavour. Meats tend to be cooked long and slow, with the inclusion of a variety of smokey chillies. You’ll find plenty of salsa, tomatillo tomatoes and lots of herbs. These delicate flavours match perfectly with Californian Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The savoury notes of Pinot marry seamlessly with a steak Taco, while the weight of a citrus packed Chardonnay is perfect with a Baja fish taco. Our Pinot and Chardonnay from Backhouse are the perfect match - and some of the best value in our range.
2 - SOUTHERN SOUL
No food tour of America would be complete without a visit to soul food mecca New Orleans. Of course, this is the best place on earth for fried chicken, yet the African-American influence has bought BBQ, spices, beans and creole gumbo to almost every restaurant in the south.
One of our absolute favourite food and wine pairings, strictly reserved for a good Friday night cook off is sparkling wine and southern fried chicken. There are plenty of recipies to do this at home, and a couple of our favourite sparkling wines from the USA match perfectly - the Cruse Wine Co Valdiguie Pet Nat, and from Rajat Parr, the Sandhi Blanc de Blancs.
3 - LITTLE ITALY
Italian food has probably had one of the largest influences on American cuisine. After-all, Spaghetti Bolognese, garlic bread, pepperoni topped pizza and meatballs are all American inventions. It all began in the late nineteenth century, when swathes of Italian immigrants headed to the states through Ellis Island. Of course, the west coast enjoyed the bounty of ingredients and recipes the Italians bought with them, in particular New York, which outside of Italy, is one of the best places on earth to enjoy Italian food.
Whenever I’m cooking Italian food at home, I’ll always pop the cork on something from one of our go-to Italian/American wine families: Viano Vineyards. Viano came over from Piedmont in the 1920’s and purchased a vineyard in the Contra Costa County AVA, just outside San Francisco. The Viano Zinfandel is a knock-out with a rich beef ragu and parpadelle.
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