When you come to Argentina, you ought to leave your Dr Atkins book at home. This is the land of wine, beef and bread. And while you have your Malbec and steak pairing nailed, have you put enough thought into what bread you are serving with wine?
Bread is a serious matter, and it too deserves the same attention any food and wine pairing requires. To get to the heart of the matter, I went to Francis Mallmann’s renowned 1884 restaurant to speak to Head Sommelier Daniela Fernandez and Head Chef Orlando Diaz Masa about pairing bread and wine. Now while Daniela stresses that “the concept of Francis Mallmann is that you have the choice to enjoy whichever wines you enjoy with your food” rather than convince people to drink a certain wine with certain foods, there are some wines that work better with certain breads. However with five different breads being served throughout the evening at Mallmann you can play with the pairings yourself as you change courses and glasses (or bottles) of wine. When thinking of bread pairings Daniela recommends thinking about the flavor, how unctuous it is, and its texture.
I’ll be breaking down some of Argentina’s top breads into a series of bread blogs. This is installment numero dos: Brown Bread (with nuts and honey).
There’s something that feels inherently healthy about eating brown bread… apart from the color of the flour there are some added little extras in the brown bread at Francis Mallmann that makes it one of the most popular ones served: walnuts, raisins, honey and a bit of brown sugar. Moist, dense and with a hint of sweetness.
“Some people like to eat this with something sweet, whereas others like to drink something completely dry with it!” says Daniela about the polarizing effect. However trying it with a few different wines, one of the favorite pairings is Escorihuela Gascon Viognier: the honeysuckle and stones fruits on the nose lift up the sweet honey from the bread and the whole experience is elevated in aromas. While the tannins of the darker red wines fight against the sweetness, a lighter Pinot Noir might be a good pairing and the tighter acid of Chardonnay is a good pair ending on a more refreshing, dry note.
The star pairing though is Viognier with the sweet and aromatic combo of honey, honey suckle and raisins. Yum.
Amanda Barnes is a British journalist who makes her own bread and butter by drinking wine around the country. Actually …she spends her bread and butter on wine.
Photos by Amanda Barnes taken at Francis Mallmann 1884. With thanks to Daniela Fernandez and Orlando Diaz Masa for their assistance in the pairings.