Top 5 Californian Food Pairings

Max Eyes

Want to find out how to pair Californian food and wine? As Roberson’s resident foodie, Operations Executive Max Edge couldn’t wait to discover what’s been tickling California’s taste buds during the lockdown.


With travel plans scuppered, at Roberson we’ve been California Dreamin’ all May. Although we cannot be there in physical form, we’re embracing the spiritual essence of the Cali lifestyle from our homes. Apron donned, boardshorts on and equipped with a fully stocked fridge I was ready to shred some waves in the kitchen. Surf’s up dude!

Now…I should be honest… I’ve never been to the Golden State but with the help of today’s connected world, there are more than enough L.A based food bloggers on the gram to help inspire my culinary mind. And the sprinkling of British spring sunshine has helped along the way too.

When it comes to Californian food and wine, one might think only of roadside diners offering oversized carb-stacked plates or the trendy plant-based community café/yoga studio with a 100+ single origin smoothie list, but scratch beneath the surface and there’s so much more to discover. It even stretches beyond the Taco Trucks, In’N’Out Burgers, Smashed Avo on Sourdough, Clam Chowder, General Tso’s chicken and superfood salad bowls.

Californian food, just like the state's wine, is less about specific recipes and more about a general philosophy and approach that is far more kindred to the ingredient-led ethos of modern Mediterranean cookery.

At its essence, Californian food is best characterised by fresh and uncomplicated produce-driven recipes. From Artichokes to Zucchini, there is an encyclopaedic A-Z of locally grown, organic seasonal fruit and veg to be found in the County Farmer’s markets for cooks to turn to all year round.

It is also a beacon in highlighting the wonders of fusion cooking. Home to more immigrants than any other state in the US, the mélange of cultural influences and flavours has been proudly embraced and is truly reflected in contemporary Californian cooking.

I’ve brought some California soul from the sunshine state in the form of my top five suggested food pairings to partner our Californian wine heroes:


An extraordinary deep and complex Pinot Noir from one of California’s most acclaimed winemaking projects. The wine displays bright red fruit with the silkiest finish.

Barbecued Duck Breast / Grilled Asparagus / Roasted Kohlrabi / Fennel, Orange & Almond Salad

California food pairing - Barbecued Duck Breast

Helpful Tips:

  • Score the skin and rub with a mixture of orange zest, Chinese 5 spice and salt. This will give a fantastic caramelised crispy skin.
  • For perfectly pink duck, Cook skin side down under direct heat of the coals for 6-7 minutes. Sear the fleshy side for 90 seconds and allow to rest before carving.
  • Substitute Kohlrabi for Tenderstem Broccoli if unavailable.


A fresh arrival this May, this gorgeous Riesling displays strong floral notes with hints of lime and stone fruit. A creamy central texture finishes with a bright, lively, juicy-fruit acidity. Altogether delicious and stylish, it’s the perfect accompaniment to spicy and savoury dishes.

Korean BBQ – ‘Bullgogi’ Beef skewers / Char Siu Aubergine / Noodle Salad

California food pairing - Bullgogi Beef skewers

Helpful Tips:

  • For the skewers – make a paste from shallot, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, turmeric, paprika and chilli powder. Add lots of fish sauce, oyster sauce, honey and lime juice. Marinade thin cut beef steaks overnight. Cut into small chunks and skewer. Grill over hot charcoal for a few minutes each side.
  • For the aubergine – Cut into wheels. Soak overnight in mixture of soy, hoi sin & oyster sauces with honey and Chinese 5 spice. Chargrill or roast until soft and sticky.


Packed with jammy forest fruits and notes of bourbon and coconut, this medium bodied wine is dangerously gluggable and matches nicely with the smoky flavours of Mexican inspired food.

Cochinita Pibil Tacos / Yucatan-style Pulled Pork / Pico de Gallo salsa / Avocado / Pickled Radish / Coriander

California food pairing - Cochinita Pibil Taco

Helpful Tips:

  • A really useful link for buying Mexican produce:
  • Dissolve Achiote paste in Orange and Lime juice and marinade pork shoulder.
  • Braise low and slow for 4 hours and shred.


Citrusy aromatics layered with soft vanilla, this crisp, elegant Chardonnay has a long-lasting finish with tropical flavours of melon and peach. Created with the Californian sun and beach in mind – the back garden will have to do for now.

Californian Club Sandwich / Sweet Potato Wedges

Helpful Tips:

  • Chargrill thick slices of Sourdough bread and serve as glorious open sandwich.
  • Awaken your mayo with finely chopped basil and a squeeze of lime juice.


This blended rosé is fresh and mouth-watering, combining spiciness from Zinfandel, refreshing acidity from Valdiguié and texture from Trousseau. Notes of summer red fruits, this refreshing light rosé is great for a late lunch in the sun.

Superfood Salad Bowl / Quinoa / Roasted Vegetables / Leaves & Herbs / Avo / Tomatoes / Radish / Pomegranate

California food pairing - super food salad bowl

Helpful Tips:

  • Swap quinoa for any grains you might have in the cupboard (barley, couscous, bulgur wheat, brown rice)
  • Some of my favourite roasted veg – Cauliflower / Butternut Squash / Bell Peppers / Asparagus / Sweet Potato

Win a case of Californian wine worth over £300 by buying any Californian wine from our range during May, or by posting your Californian wine experience using #californiaathome.

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Roberson has 'bust out dancing' from the pandemic, its USA range outstanding in California but also beyond, and its achingly cool events featuring Californian tacos, live graffiti and 'the sweet beat of retro vinyl'.

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