If you love to entertain, there’s nothing more fun than whipping up a delicious recipe, finding the perfect wine to pair with it, and blowing your friends away with your flawless hosting skills! And if a solid wine pairing is essential for a memorable evening, then an unexpected pairing that none of your guests have ever experienced before is what truly takes a gathering to the next level.
But if your food and wine pairing strategy is pretty much limited to ‘red with meat, white with fish, pray that it works,’ it’s hard to think outside the box. Which is why you will want to take a tip from The Lush Life and trust the latest food pairing wine I’m obsessed with: port!
Pairing With Port
So first things first: let’s talk about port. Port is a fortified wine from Portugal (yep, port is from Portugal– which is a connection most of my friends hadn’t made… is your mind blown?).
A fortified wine is one that has a neutral grape spirit (aka brandy) added to the wine during fermentation, which helps preserve it and also makes it a bit stronger than your standard table wine. The two most common styles of port are Ruby and Tawny, and they are traditionally served as dessert wines because they are rich, decadent, and sweet. When I traveled to Portugal I fell in love with these incredibly delicious wines; so much so that I wondered if I could find a way to enjoy them outside of a dessert or cheese course!
I was thrilled to discover two more styles that are ideal for pairing with savory dishes: white and rosé! Both of them are lighter, more refreshing, and drier than the other popular ports– and served chilled (or even with a twist of lemon and a few ice cubes), they are lovely as an apertif OR served alongside a meal.
I grabbed two of my favorites and tried out some recipe pairings that were both simply awesome. Try them out at your next dinner party and enjoy!
Port Pairing #1: Fonseca Siroco White Port with Warm Crab Dip
For years, I have sworn by this Food & Wine recipe for Warm Crab Dip with Fresh Herbs as my most crowd-pleasing appetizer! You can make it ahead and finish it in the oven right before people come over so that’s always a plus.
I was inspired to pair it with Fonseca Siroco White Port when I remembered that to start the dip, the original recipe calls for sautéing shallots with butter and deglazing the pan with a splash of dry vermouth. I decided to swap out the vermouth for the white port instead– because it’s dry and aromatic with a nice hint of nuttiness that would add a wonderful complexity to the dip!