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Food and Leisure

Why some food items taste best when eaten together

OOH LA LAI - Lai S. Reyes - The Philippine Star
Why some food items taste best when eaten together
Take your holiday meals to the next level with these perfect pairings from San Miguel Foods Culinary Center (SMFCC), San Miguel Brewery Inc. (SMB), Ginebra San Miguel Inc. (GSMI), and Wine Brothers Philippines.

Champorado at tuyo, manggang hilaw at bagoong, peanut butter and jelly.

Admit it. You, too, probably have enjoyed some strange food combos that only you would love. Chippy and red wine, anyone?

While there’s a scientific reason why certain foods pair well and others don’t, it all boils down to balance. Ideally, a balanced dish will incorporate at least three of the five taste profiles: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savory (umami) — even if it’s just a drizzle of calamansi or a sprinkle of sugar.

“There are no hard-and-fast rules,” shares San Miguel Foods Culinary Center (SMFCC) chef Viboy Miranda. “It’s really all about balanceyou’re your dish is bitter, temper it with salt or vinegar. Sour dishes go well with anything salty. If it’s sweet, add salt or spice.”

Our taste buds crave variety so texture is important, too. If your dish is soft, balance it with something crunchy. That’s why we add chicharon bits on top of ginisang monggo. Having multiple textures in your dishes helps stimulate the appetite.

Food and drink pairings to make your holiday meal pop

Chef Viboy, together with San Miguel Beer (SMB) brew master Alan Sienes, Ginebra San Miguel Premium Gin mixologist Tabitha Rice and Wine Brothers Philippines winemaker Mike Davies, gave us a crash course on holiday food and drink pairings with a five-course menu via Zoom.

After all, there’s nothing that brings families and friends together like indulging in our favorite food and drinks.

For the first course, chef Viboy shared some pintxos: toasted baguette slices (crostini) with two kinds of spreads: Cheese and Pimiento made from Magnolia Milky White Cheezee Spread, and Roasted Garlic Butter made from Magnolia Gold Butter.

Ginebra San Miguel Premium Gin goes well with the neutral flavor of the cheesy pintxo.

“For the Roasted Garlic Butter spread, I stewed the Purefoods Chorizo Bilbao and onions in San Miguel Premium All-Malt Beer,” shares chef Viboy. “Using the beer as a stewing ingredient enhances the bold flavors of the two.”

According to chef Viboy, It’s best to prepare the spreads two to three days in advance before serving “to allow the flavors to blend even more.”

Drinks with a clean, crisp flavor profile like San Miguel Super Dry tend to complement bold and complex flavors as well.

For SMB brew master Alan Sienes, beer is a match for most dishes. “Temperature also plays a big factor in beer and food pair. Serve the beer at its ideal temperature — between six to nine degrees Celsius — to be able to appreciate the brew’s full taste,” he adds.

For the second course, chef Viboy prepared ring-shaped dumplings a la tortellini filled with cream cheese and spinach with a delicate, emulsified butter sauce. For added texture, chef Viboy topped it with crisp basil leaf.

The dish is paired with a Sweet, Lemony Martini, one of Ginebra San Miguel Premium Gin’s classic cocktail recipes. The drink highlights the tang of citrus present in the gin.

“The gin’s flavor profile elevates the butter sauce’s aroma and taste,” explains chef Viboy.

GSMI’s mixologist Tabitha Rice says that knowing what types of flavors are present in a particular kind of gin can help in deciding what flavorings or garnishes to add to either contrast or highlight its taste.

The tortellini was followed by the Gin Chicken Confit on squash potato mash. For this dish, chef Viboy marinated the Magnolia Free Range Chicken in Ginebra’s 1834 Premium Distilled Gin for 24 hours and a blend of herbs and spices then slow-cooked in olive oil and seared until crisp and golden brown.

“The key to a perfect sear is to temper chicken at room temperature for a few hours so that fat softens enough to fry evenly,” shares chef Viboy.

The light herbal notes from the marinade are complemented by Woomera’s Sauvignon Blanc, a dry wine with a delicate flavor profile.

“The wine also has enough acid and weight that it can play well with similar flavors — like the herb chicken — but also cut through the strong, salty, and spicy flavors common in our homegrown dishes,” notes winemaker Mike Davies. A surprising match he loves is Sauvignon Blanc with sisig.

The fourth course — Beef Wellington — is a testament to how different flavors can result in a balanced, delightful dish.

The dish consists of baked Monterey Beef Tenderloin covered in a layer of Purefoods Honeycured Bacon and mushroom duxelles wrapped in a golden puff pastry. It is served on a bed of greens and beer gravy, made with San Miguel Super Dry and Magnolia All Purpose Flour.

“This dish goes well with The 1834 Premium Distilled Gin, a uniquely Filipino gin infused with calamansi and sampaguita. Its smooth, neat taste cuts through the intense mushroom flavor and salt from the bacon,” recommends chef Viboy.

A decadent moist cake using Magnolia’s Devil’s Food Cake Mix infused with Woomera’s Sweet Red Wine completed the festive holiday spread.

While it may be a surprise to some, certain beer brews can actually be companions to dessert. Among SMB’s line of Premium Beers, SMB’s Alan Sienes chooses Cerveza Negra for the pairing.

“A decadent dessert brings out the unique caramel flavor of the dark lager,” adds Alan.

So take the guesswork out of what drinks pair best with holiday entrees by following these smart pieces of advice from a chef, a mixologist, brew master and winemaker.

CHAMPORADO SAN MIGUEL FOODS
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