Pairing Chablis with Thai food. Not as crazy as it sounds...

By Richard Saxton on Mar 18, 13 05:52 PM in

When I was asked to take part in the Chablis Blogger Challenge 2013 I was naturally keen to get involved. What I hadn't expected though was to be asked to match the two wines (both Chablis obviously....) with takeaway food. Chablis? With a takeaway? Really? It somehow felt disrespectful. Shouldn't we be treating the wines to something a bit classier?! Lucky I hadn't already stocked up on smoked salmon and cod roe...


The more I thought about it though the more astute an idea it seemed to be. Chablis, like many French wine regions, isn't exactly seen as having a particularly modern image, so trying to stand out and perhaps appeal to a whole new demographic can only be a good thing. Whether the demographic they're after is the great British takeaway guzzlers is another thing but progress is progress....

Sadly after 10 minutes ploughing through Google I couldn't find any takeaways specialising in fine fish dishes (something I've always tried to pair Chablis with). Clearly I was going to have to do this properly. Fish and chips were ruled out immediately, it just seemed like cheating somehow. Indian I ruled out too on the basis that it didn't really seem fair on the Chablis. There are very few wines I think go as well with curry as a lager and I didn't think judgements along this line would go down particularly well with the fine folk of Chablis! Chinese food bothers me in general. There's something about boiled meat that puts me off. My only remaining option was therefore Thai. So off I trudged....

At this point it's probably a good idea to introduce my partners in crime; the wines. The first wine was a Domaine Servin "Les Pargues" Chablis 2011 (available for £13.49 from Laithwaites: The second wine was the J. Moreau & Fils Petit Chablis 2011 (available for £71.94 for a case of 6 from M&S: I imagine most of my readers are familiar with Chablis but by way of a whistle-stop tour there are three key facts to know: (1) It's from the Burgundy region of France (2) It's made only from Chardonnay (at which point someone always realises they've been drinking Chablis for years whilst simultaneously declaring that they hate Chardonnay) and (3) People don't usually drink it with takeaway food. Right. Let's move on...

The first tasty morsel out of the bag of Thai goodies was the Sesame Prawn and Chicken Toast. After a few bites and a few slurps of each wine I'd already proven that Chablis does go with Thai food. The toast worked really well with both wines bringing out the buttery notes of each wine, even when dunked in a little chilli sauce. Flush from my early success I moved on to the fish cakes (probably a bit of a cheat as there was a high probability of success here). Unsurprisingly the wines nimbly danced their way through this course. If anything the Petit Chablis worked a little better here.

Course 3 swiftly followed; the Pork and Prawn Noodles with Soy Sauce. Interestingly this dish really brought out the citrus notes in the two wines and on this occasion the Chablis fared slightly better than the Petit Chablis, albeit both performed admirably. Neck and neck heading to the last... The Last course was a Chicken Pad Thai which was an unequivocal success. In fact, this was probably the best match of the lot.

I have to say I was a little surprised by the results but was particularly impressed with the versatility of the wines. Having opened both wines on the sofa without food the Chablis was my slight favourite. However, once we'd subjected the wines to a barrage of Thai delicacies it was the Petit Chablis which seemed to cope marginally better. Both are excellent wines really showing off the region.

Either way I've realised that I've been pigeon holing Chablis for years pretty much drinking it only with fish dishes. It's time the shackles came off and a new challenge issued. Anyone for a Vindaloo?......

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