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What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea – Even Water – Based on Expert Advice from America’s Best Sommeliers

What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea – Even Water – Based on Expert Advice from America’s Best Sommeliers

What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea - Even Water - Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers

Winner of the 2007 IACP Cookbook of the Year Award

Winner of the 2007 IACP Cookbook Award for Best Book on Wine, Beer or Spirits

Winner of the 2006 Georges Duboeuf Wine Book of the Year Award

Winner of the 2006 Gourmand World Cookbook Award – U.S. for Best Book on Matching Food and Wine


Prepared by a James Beard Award-winning author team, “What to Drink with What You Eat” provides the most comprehensive guide to matching food and dr

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  1. 28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Best of breed, June 28, 2008
    By 
    Bevetroppo (Meyersville, NJ USA) –

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea – Even Water – Based on Expert Advice from America’s Best Sommeliers (Hardcover)

    I may run out of superlatives in the course of this review, so I’m just warning you now. What to Drink with What You Eat is absolutely the most spectacular book ever written about pairing food with wine. It will turn you instantly into a world-class sommelier, confidently able to pair virtually any cuisine with a compatible choice. What’s more, the recommendations extend far beyond wine to include beer, sake, spirits coffee, tea and different types of water, so even a teetotaler can derive some value. There isn’t a food- or wine-lover on the planet who wouldn’t benefit from having the book always on hand as a resource.

    The secret sauce here is that the authors, who have great credentials themselves, have also enlisted the input of dozens of top sommeliers and other authorities to create an uber-reference, one that gains considerably from its generous tendency to be more rather than less inclusive in offering up suggestions. Think of the principle of “the wisdom of crowds,” but here the crowd are all experts and have the chops to back up their opinions. The list of foods, cuisines and beverages that are explored is truly encyclopedic, so odds are pretty good whatever you want advice on will be covered. For example, speaking of secret sauce, you’ll even get suggested pairings with a Big Mac.

    The crowning glories of the book are chapters 5 and 6, which really should be turned into a searchable database online and made available via PDA. These chapters are mirror images, one that starts with the beverage and suggests foods, and the other that starts with the food and matches the drinks. I’m telling it to you straight: if you’ve ever had a moment’s hesitation about what to bring to a dinner party or just flat out what might go best with your frozen pizza, the answer is at hand. Wanna build the meal around a special bottle of wine? No problem. In fact, I’m not sure this book isn’t subversive in the sense that it does such a great job of simplifying a complicated subject and making it accessible that it renders real-life sommeliers unnecessary.

    Of course, that’s a ridiculous notion; I’m just stating it for effect. You still need a sommelier to put together a wine list, add a personal perspective, precisely match the cuisine of a restaurant to its wines and gauge the “readiness” of any particular client to explore new territory. But if you live in New Jersey, where the only advantage of archaic, Prohibition-based liquor laws is the plethora of BYO restaurants and thus there are very few sommeliers period, this book is like manna from heaven.

    I don’t mean to imply that What to Eat is prescriptive to the point where you aren’t allowed to express yourself and exercise free will. Quite the contrary. The book does a splendid job in the first few chapters of breaking down various pairing conventions developed over the past 20 years (plus of course the most classic matches) and providing guidelines that anyone can build on, and the authors encourage imagination and experimentation.

    Let’s go with a real life example, my first since I bought the book, and quite an “acid” test at that. I was asked by a hostess to suggest something that might go with roasted sea bass served with a Mediterranean ragout of red peppers, tomatoes, olives, and capers. My first instinct when approaching anything Mediterranean is to go with the “territory,” which means for me clinging to the coastline from Provence to Sicily. Here I would have gravitated toward a white because a tannic red wouldn’t go anyway and it’s summer now and a chill is definitely welcome. Besides, I’m not sophisticated enough to figure out what to do with capers to begin with, so why not let a thousand years of local experience do the hard work for me? Then, I turned to chapter 5 and looked up sea bass. There were 16 suggestions, but nothing related to a Mediterranean ragout, which would clearly provide the dominant flavors to the dish. So with a little trepidation (are they going to whiff on my first challenge?), I looked for “Mediterranean” and sure enough found the following entry: “Mediterranean Cuisine (eg anchovies, olives, peppers, etc) Champagne, rose; Chateauneuf-du-pape, white; Pinot blanc; red wine, esp. tart Old World; rose; verdicchio, esp with onion-based dishes.” Not feeling wholly comfortable yet, I cross-referenced the pesky caper and found: “Beaujolais, high acid; beer; Muscadet; Pinot Grigio/ Pinot gris, esp. dry; Pinot Noir, esp from Russian River Valley.” That’s enough breadth for anyone to find an appealing option.

    The genius of the book is the exhaustive number of dishes and international cuisines covered. I’m sure there are some things you can eat that aren’t paired here, but I’m not sure why you would want to! Also, while it wasn’t true for my sea bass, many if not most of the listings actually go a step further and provide recommendations specific to the actual method of…

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  2. Jonathan Hopkins "Hop"
    271 of 312 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    The Best Food/Beverage Guidebook? That Depends . . ., May 31, 2008
    By 
    Jonathan Hopkins “Hop” (the Rockies) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea – Even Water – Based on Expert Advice from America’s Best Sommeliers (Hardcover)

    (3 1/2 stars)

    After reading the slew of five-star reviews for this volume, today I drove to Barnes & Noble fully ready to purchase it. After spending a fair amount of time in the aisle surveying its contents, I ended up not getting it, and thought I would explain why not for the sake of those Amazon readers whose considerations might be similar to my own.

    I think the issues of relevance are ‘who you are’ and what you’re looking for in a book like this. I certainly understand why great wine aficionados (presumably with money and time), critics, sommeliers, restaurateurs and the like would desire and benefit from a work of such sophistication and scope. But for the hobbyist (like myself), it was just too much. A little ‘highbrow’ for me — and I suspect I’m not alone. I didn’t find it nearly as accessible as, for example, Karen MacNeil’s Wine, Food, and Friends (which I bought). MacNeil’s book has a seasonal presentation, and, while evidencing an expert’s range of knowledge, seeks not to lose sight of practical concerns (such as $$). In a nutshell, What To Drink . . . has a more encyclopedic approach (and does include beverages beyond wine), while MacNeil’s is user-friendly and more what I was looking for. I wish it were possible to buy chapters 5 & 6 of Dornenburg & Page’s book separately, because they comprise a tremendous resource for ongoing reference. The one surprise regarding Dornenburg & Page was that in a product of such erudition, it lacked an index.

    So, bearing in mind the two questions I started with, I hope some of these thoughts will be helpful in informing your purchasing decision.

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  3. Darrin P. Siegfried
    46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A Sommelier says: “Buy this book!”, September 20, 2006
    By 
    Darrin P. Siegfried (Brooklyn NY) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea – Even Water – Based on Expert Advice from America’s Best Sommeliers (Hardcover)

    Wine lovers, from the casual sippers to professional Sommeliers, will find solid, clear advice here, in a well organized format. I worked for many years as a Sommelier and served as Education Director for the Sommelier Society of America, and I can say that no one had done as good a job of making it easy for you to choose a wine that will not only “match” with your meal, but will make your dining (and drinking) experience more enjoyable. This book is bound to become one of the indispensible food and wine books that I keep at hand: a classic in the making. I cannot recommend this book more highly.

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