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Food Pairings  

Wine and food pairing is the process of pairing food dishes with wine to enhance the dining experience. In many cultures, wine has had a long history of being a staple at the dinner table and in some ways both the winemaking and culinary traditions of a region will have evolved together over the years. Rather than following a set of rules, local cuisines were paired simply with local wines. The modern "art" of food pairings is a relatively recent phenomenon, fostering an industry of books and media with guidelines for pairings of particular foods and wine. In the restaurant industry, sommeliers are often present to make food pairing recommendations for the guest. The main concept behind pairings is that certain elements (such as texture and flavor) in both food and wine interact with each other, and thus finding the right combination of these elements will make the entire dining experience more enjoyable. However, taste and enjoyment are very subjective and what may be a "textbook perfect" pairing for one taster could be less enjoyable to another.

While there are many books, magazines and websites with detailed guidelines on how to pair food and wine, most food and wine experts believe that the most basic element of food and wine pairing is understanding the balance between the "weight" of the food and the weight (or body) of the wine. Heavy, robust wines like Cabernet Sauvignon can overwhelm a light, delicate dish like a quiche, while light-bodied wines like Pinot Grigio would be similarly overwhelmed by a hearty stew. Beyond weight, flavors and textures can either be contrasted or complemented. From there a food and wine pairing can also take into consideration the sugar, acid, alcohol and tannins of the wine and how they can be accentuated or minimized when paired with certain types of food.