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Sergiu Nedelea: The evolution of civilization involves the science of gastronomic combinations

Emilia Olescu ( Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section /

Sergiu Nedelea: The evolution of civilization involves the science of gastronomic combinations

"Honoring the compatibilities between wine and food is a consequence of civilization". (Păstorel Teodoreanu)

The evolution of civilization has implicitly led to the evolution of tastes. This has led to the development of an entire science of eating and drinking, said Sergiu Nedelea, the president of the Romanian Federation of Sommeliers. \"The culinary customs which make up the codes and the rites of the cultures of the world, have remained faithful to their area of origin regardless of globalization, even if the food went from being eaten by hand in Africa or from bowls in the near Orient, with chopsticks in Asia and with cutlery in the Western world. Also, wines have evolved as well when it comes to conveying taste. This divine fluid went from being stored in amphorae sealed with hemp imbued with olive oil and goat wineskins, (imagine the flavor of a wine stored that way), to the modern glass bottles, to crystal jugs or to the sturdy glasses made of quartz crystal\".

The combinations between wine and food, can be made based on several points of view, depending on the goal. Thus complementary associations can be made, in contrast or as an associative simultaneous action, Mr. Nedelea said: \"In order to achieve these goals, we will try to balance the tastes, or to complement them. Getting contrasting tastes to < match > is difficult, and the most telling example is the most exquisite association: Foie gras-Sauternes. The contrast is stark, but the result is divine. Sweet wine with goose liver paste. The secret is the acidity and the sugars of the wine which mitigate the oily, salty and slightly bitter taste of the goose liver paste\".

Sergiu Nedelea said that "the basic rules" - white wine-white meat, red wine-red meat - no longer represent the \"base\" of wine and food combinations: \"It may seem strange, but many times a complex white wine would be more suitable for a red meat dish, than a fresh, light red wine. Let"s not forget that spices need to be accounted for, as well as the sauce of the dish\".

White meat dishes, which are considered lighter, require delicate white wines, but can also be associated with less complex red wines. White wines are reviewed based on their acidity, aside from the other elements which make up their taste. Red wines are judged based on their complexity, which depends on their tannin content. Dry wines with a high acidity are more suited to sour dishes, and the sweet acidic wines are good for blurring oily tastes. Red wine with strong tannins fits well with red meat rich in protein, and wines which matured in barrels are welcome with more consistent foods...

Wine can also be associated with region-specific gastronomy, with a specific time of day, with a friend, with an event...

Chef Antonio Passarelli says that the wine should not overwhelm the smell and taste of the food:

Fish needs a wine with a milder flavor, and one with a good acidity.

A seafood salad can be associated with a white or rosé wine, even one that is dry, with the same level of acidity.

A piece of old cheese goes with a reputed wine, one that is \"fit for meditation\", with an alcohol content higher than 13.5 degrees.

Grilled beef goes with a wine which is "full bodied", but not overly strong.

A dish of Italian cold-cuts could be associated with a rosé or red wine, with a slightly fruity taste.

For desert a dry or half-dry \"passito\" wine can be served.

Some time ago it was considered that fish had to be accompanied by white wine, but these rules have become more relaxed now. One can drink a rosé or a prosseco when eating fish. Generally speaking, it would be best if the dishes came from the same region as the wine. For instance, when eating something from the Toscana region, it is ideal to drink a wine from Toscana as well. Concerning the foods which are eaten in Romania, for a pork sirloin or a pork medallion, one can drink a Chianti Classico or a Monte Pulciano. Seabass could be accompanied by a wine from Southern Italy. However, when eating fish from the Danube, Italian wine isn"t a good fit.

Le Manoir

In general, for red meat, a strong red wine is advised, for chicken, a milder wine is advised, or a rosé, cheese should be paired with red wine (or white in the case of certain types of goat cheese). How the wine is transported and kept is extremely important. (VINITALY)

Cornelia Toma: "Culinary associations are very comprehensive. As a rule of thumb, the meal should begin with appetizer drinks, white meat should be accompanied with dry and medium dry wines. Basic dishes and cheese should be paired with dry and medium dry white wines. Deserts can be accompanied by a sweet wine, or by a simple digestive drink".

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