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FOOD & DRINK PAIRINGS: What grows together, goes together

When looking for good food and drinks matches, do as the locals do, and pair items from the same local area. Just about every region in the world has its traditional food and drinks pairings, from mussels and beer in Belgium to wild boar ragu and a glass of Montepulciano in Tuscany. 

Winemakers have long paired their grape juice with foods that are affected by the same terroir – the climatic and geographical influences that affect grapes – with great success. When in doubt, abide by the old adage ‘what grows together, goes together’.

It’s not only wine, but beer, cider and spirits that can be paired with foods made or grown in the same region. Read on for our top picks of which tipples to bring to the table, depending on what you’re serving.

M&S Fino Dry Sherry 15%, Jerez, Spain, paired with Jamón Ibérico.

For the perfect Spanish aperitif, serve this dry and lightly complex fino from Jerez – the birthplace of sherry – with salted almonds or jamón ibérico. Almonds complement the sherry’s nutty flavour, while the jamón offers the perfect salty foil for the sherry’s saline character. 

Argento AG47 12.5%, Mendoza, Argentina, paired with steak.

The fruity and flavourful Malbec wines made in the foothills of Cerro El Plata in Argentina are less tannic than their French counterparts. This smoother style marries well with lean cuts of steak. Pick grass-fed organic beef steak from British farms to replicate the prized Argentinian variety.

M&S Classics Côtes De Provence Rosé 13%, France, paired with salade niçoise.

Crisper and drier than most rosé wines, Côtes de Provence rosé from the south of France is the ideal match for meaty fish such as tuna. The fruity flavours (red berries and zesty grapefruit) go well with the slightly sweet sauce drizzled over a salade niçoise.

Stolichnaya Vodka 40%,  Latvia, paired with borscht.

Anything smoked, pickled or cured is a good match for vodka due to its  clean,

mineral notes of the spirit. Borscht – a cold beetroot soup topped with sour cream and dill, served throughout the Balkan region – is a great pairing and also highlights this spirit’s slight sweetness.

Modelo Especial Mexican Beer 4.5%, paired with tacos.

This pilsner-style lager, made from premium barley malt, has enough flavour and body to stand up to a hearty taco filled with slow-cooked pork carnitas.. There’s also a hint of sweetness to offset the citrus notes of fish tacos with a zesty slaw

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