Drink & Dine: Wine and Food Pairings to Celebrate Pride All Month Long
From celebratory sippers to reliable classics, we bring you the best wine and food pairings for your Pride festivities this month. Photo: Brett Stevens/Getty Images (Rainbow Art: Art illustration/Getty Images)
Few things ignite — and unite — the world quite like Pride, the annual celebration of those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and two-spirit, a.k.a. LGBTQ2S+.
Pride parades especially are summertime highlights: colourful, free-wheeling and fundamentally inclusive, which is part of the reason so many have either attended one in the past or has the event firmly planted on the bucket list. Whether in Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal (or in Calgary or Halifax or Saskatoon), Canadian Pride events value, recognize and support LGBTQ2S+ people and their families. What’s not to love?
In the spirit of Pride and all it represents, we suggest three wine options — as well as can’t-miss food pairings — to help you gear up for (or wind down from) the festivities. You choose the mood; we’ve got your consumption choices covered.
Recently added to shelves at Ontario’s LCBO, Adobe Reserva Rosé Organic is, like many wines from Chile, enormously affordable at just $13.95 per bottle and fairly dry at 7g/l, but luscious-sounding with “aromas and flavours of wild strawberries, cherry, melon and plum … with tart berry notes on the finish.” And can we just say that pink drinks seem very apropos both for the month of June, which officially welcomes summer to the Northern Hemisphere, as well as for Pride? We’d be remiss in not mentioning Ogier Cotes Du Ventoux Rosé AOC from the Rhone valley, which fits our criteria of pink, very affordable (at about $15), dry and easy drinking with ultra-delicate floral and watermelon notes. Really, it’s like licking a rose petal. See France’s La Vieille Ferme Ventoux Rosé AOC, also recommended and widely available across Canada.
Pair With: Rosé wines are a perfect complement to any salad, and they work hand-in-glove with moist, flaky crab cakes, which radiate summertime and can (obviously) be made with crab or easily translated into a vegan option using chickpeas and hearts of palm. Vegan blogger Melissa Huggins, who grew up eating seafood on Long Island, has a clever workaround for maintaining the dish’s ocean-like flavour: adding kelp granules or breaking up and adding a sheet of seaweed to her recipe.
For the highly compelling reasons of Pride and the Summer Solstice mentioned above, we’re sticking with pink and suggesting pink bubbles as our homegrown pick. Lots of Ontario wineries make refreshing, pretty pink sparklers, such as Lily Sparkling Wine from Colio Estate, Rosé Bubbles from Peller Family Reserve or Sandbanks Sparkling Rosé.
Pair With: Salty is always a nice companion to acidic bubbles, so we’re tipping the hat to Kernels, housed in shops passersby invariably smell long before they see. With some 80 locations nationwide and all those outrageously delicious flavours, from Jalapeño Jack to Thai Sweet Chili to Creamy Caramel, the Canadian popcorn mainstay (established in 1983) is easy to access and even easier to eat by the handful — especially when you’re gussying up and getting ready to party.
Australian winery 19 Crimes recently partnered with Martha Stewart to issue Martha’s Chard, featuring California-grown grapes in a bottle adorned by an image of the lifestyle guru. California Chardonnay is almost always a can’t-miss proposition and the seemingly ageless Stewart, who turns 81 on August 3, wouldn’t dare slap her good name on anything subpar. Plus, Martha Stewart — am I right?
Pair With: Roast chicken is a no-brainer as are lobster rolls, which similarly complement the buttery tones of oak-aged Chardonnay while representing possibly the summeriest of summertime meals, especially served with potato salad of which there are endless variations. Indeed, a personal favourite summer cooking activity is altering recipes with different types of potatoes, onions, mustards, fresh herbs, bell peppers and so on. There’s no wrong answer and you can often hit on surprisingly good combinations.
For example, one season I added cooked corn kernels scraped from the cob, which, though untraditional, kicked up the flavour and texture considerably without overshadowing the delicate dill flavour. Za’atar spice is also a winner in potato salad as well as a handy go-to for boosting other vegetable dishes, as devotees of Israeli British — and proudly gay — celebrity chef and cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi can attest.