Celebrate Buwan ng Wika with the Best Filipino Food and Wine Pairings
Buwan ng Wika is one of the most special times of the year. It is during this month that Filipinos celebrate all the societal milestones that they have achieved as a nation of strong-willed and passionate individuals. And what better way to incorporate Filipino pride than with some of the country’s most beloved delicacies! Pairing food and alcoholic beverages is now very easy and convenient with the incredibly diverse selections of liquor in the Philippines!
In terms of the country’s culinary wealth in savory meats and grilled delights, food and wine pairing isn’t such a common thing, for the most part, locals prefer native cuisine with homegrown spirits and beer as opposed to wine and other types of foreign alcohol. But many staple Filipino delicacies such as adobo, lechon, and many others actually go well with some of your favorites from the wine cellar!
Here are 5 of the most essential wine and Filipino food pairings that highlight flavor and cultural richness:
Seafood – Chardonnay, Spanish Cava, or Sauvignon Blanc
Because the Philippines is geographically an archipelago, Filipinos from all over the country predominantly indulge in varieties of fresh seafood. They are very skilled with grilling, baking, frying, and preparing seafood to their most perfect and sumptuous delights! This is mainly why many authentic Filipino restaurants offer a wide range of mussels, scallops, crabs, and shrimps.
When it comes to selecting and pairing wine, this will primarily depend on your choice of seafood. If you are planning on enjoying some shellfish, the best choice is with a young Chardonnay. For Gambas or sautéed shrimp, the dry and fizziness from a bottle of Spanish Cava tastefully balance out the oiliness in the dish without tainting the shrimp’s tasty meat.
Caldereta and Beaujolais
Caldereta is a Filipino dish that can consist of either beef (baka) or lamb (kambing). This local favorite is best fit with a medium-bodied Beaujolais such as Beaujolais Village or any of the Cru Beaujolais. Caldereta is a hearty and meaty dish with a very thick and powerful sauce.
In terms of texture, this type of wine is dry and floral with almost untraceable tannins and good acid backbone that magnificently pays compliment to the flavors that are strongly evident from the thickness of the Caldereta’s sauce. Wines, which are heavy in their redness and have high tannins, would be a terrible pairing choice because they would contrast horribly with the saltiness of the Caldereta sauce.
Liempo – Merlot
An absolutely Filipino favorite—Liempo is simply and basically a grilled pork dish that is found everywhere from street eateries, local food bazaars, fancy restaurants, and on the dinner tables of many Filipino households. This widely-enjoyed delicacy may appear simple, but the marinade of soy sauce, vinegar, dried herbs, and calamansi (Filipino lime) bursts a multitude of decadent flavors even at the first bite.
Liempo is a dish that is best complemented with vinegar or Lechon sauce dip and a side helping of white rice. When pairing wine with Liempo, the best recommendation is to go with a Merlot. The earthy and fruity flavors of this wine unleash the sweet and acidic undertones of the pork meat. The light tannins also play a role in cutting through the fat; balancing out the salt-driven taste of the Liempo.
Lechon – White Zinfandel
Legendary figure in TV pop culture and culinary industry, Anthony Bourdain crowned Lechon as ‘the best-roasted pig in the world’. Lechon is popular for its crispy skin, tender meat, and buttery juices that infuse a savory and salty richness to the dish. The interplay of flavors and all the succulent aromas perfectly come together with every taste.
Lechon is a pork dish that is best accompanied by a bottle of White Zinfandel. The light, sweet, and fruitiness of the wine incite a textural flavor that fittingly contrasts to the immense savory richness of this dish. Its dry vibrancy and palate-cleansing finish elevate the heartiness of any Lechon dining experience.
Adobo – Chenin Blanc or Rioja
Adobo is a Filipino dish that is popular among both locals and foreigners. It can even be said that Adobo is the unofficial national dish of the Philippines. This dish can either be made with pork or chicken (or even both). The meat is basically braised in oil, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, black pepper, and select herbs.
Putting the zesty flavor and salty finish of this delicacy into consideration, balance is the critical point when pairing it with a bottle of wine. The sweet and light-bodied versatility of Chenin Blanc impeccably complements the Adobo’s sauce. If you prefer red wines, a young Rioja is most ideal. The exuberant reds of this wine emphasize the taste of the sharp flavors of the pork without being drowned by the Adobo’s vinegar and soy sauce marinade.
With the many first-rate sources for world-class liquor in the Philippines, you can get into the Buwan ng Wika spirit by giving some of these wine and food pairings a go!
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