You learn more in defeat than in victory. I believe this to be true. I remember every product we’ve launched that hasn’t made it. Some were the right thing at the wrong time, some weren’t up to our usual standard and got what they deserved, some we knew were wrong all along but we couldn’t bear to cut our losses. In each failure, a lesson.
Victory is sweeter when you have tasted defeat. I believe this too. After we launched a bunch of olive lines that didn’t sell the same team, under considerably more pressure, worked harder and smarter the next time, learnt the lessons and launched some of our best selling products ever. It was satisfying.
You learn more from the mis-matches than the matches. I learnt this recently, at our wine mis-matching event. Light wine is demolished by heavy, full-flavoured dish. Obvious. Acidic wine plus sweet dish equals nightmare, time to rethink my wedding cake and Champagne plans! The clashes or drownings were much clearer to taste than the subjective differences between good, better and best. Consequently, we learnt more.
And we learnt the following:
- Do match the wine to the most dominant flavour in the food.
- Do match the weight of the wine to the richness of the dish.
- Do pair acidic foods with a wine that has at least the same level of acidity.
- Do make sure that food with sweetness is matched with a wine with at least equal sugar content.
- Do match food and wine by region.
- Don’t pair full bodied, rich wines with delicate foods.
- Don’t pair oily or salty foods with high tannin wines.
- Don’t pair hot and spicy foods with high alcohol, high tannin or oaked wines.
- Don’t pair fried foods with low acid wines.
- Don’t forget it’s all about personal taste an there are no ‘rules.
Our thanks to the team at Four to Eight and Patrick, our sommelier
Free stuff alert…
To pick up more useful information, download our food and wine matching notes (left) produced for the event, with expanded tasting and pairing tips. Just click the social whisper button below.
If you’d like to read more about the evening head over to the reviews by a few of our attendees:
This Sunday, the world’s largest annual sporting event will once again take place as the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks lock horns in Super Bowl XLIX. Over 100 million people are expected to watch the event around the world and although it is very much a tradition in the United States, the event is still relatively niche in the UK, albeit gaining interest and more of a following each year.
In America when the game will kick off at “prime time”, people will start partying and celebrating from the moment they wake up until long after the final whistle has been blown and the confetti has fallen. In the UK, with kick off being at around 11pm, one of the big draws and appeals of the event is a great opportunity (and excuse) to sit in front of a TV for four hours with too much food and too much drink. It’s a day and an event when diets get put on hold and the core food groups become meat, cheese, crisps and dips.
So if this is the first time you’ll be watching the main event then what should you consider serving up for you and your friends? Ian talks through a few of the favourites that will be popping up in kitchens around the world on Sunday
One of the ultimate finger foods out there and as American as you can get! The humble chicken wing once cooked (ideally deep fried but perfect in the oven) and slathered in a hot sauce of your choice (I go for Frank’s the original hot sauce) becomes a food that anyone will enjoy. Depending on the heat of the sauce, ensure that you have a dip (blue cheese is a winner) on hand to complement the wing to perfection. To really nail this dish, make sure that’ve marinated the wings in their sauce (hot sauce, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and honey) for at few hours before cooking.
Slow Cooked Meat (Brisket, Pulled Pork, Ham Hock)
Take your pick! Each of these are winners and are so easy to prepare, so long as you give yourself enough time cooking. Take the joint of which ever meat you’re cooking (beef, pork ) and add it to a slow cooker. If you want to keep this relatively healthy, put four balls of foil in each corner of the cooker, then the joint on top. Then it won’t sit in its juices. Cook on a low setting for approx. 6 hours to get to a stage of shredding heaven. Feel free to add extra seasoning to the meat as it cooks. I go with BBQ sauce, Cajun Spices and Cayenne Pepper. It adds more flavour and a kick. Serve up with some coleslaw, corn on the cob, chips and bread rolls and you are on to a winner.
Not only is this a favourite, it is part of the burgeoning Southwestern cuisine scene, of which this year’s super bowl hosts, Arizona is part of. If you have a large group of people round who don’t like certain components of this classic dish then serve it up as a “build your own” nacho. Grill the tortilla chips on some foil, then add cheese and grill until it’s melted. Remove from the oven and place in a bowl. Then add other adds to nachos (guacamole, salsa, sour cream, jalapenos, olives, chilli, black beans etc.) in separate bowls and voila! People can build their own.
Boston Baked Beans
As a tribute to the New England Patriots, prep a British favourite with a New England twist. Cheat and get a can of baked bean, then add some pork or bacon. Or make your own for a really authentic dish.
If you aren’t partial to an energy drink then you’ll probably need to stock up on the black stuff to keep you awake in the small hours. Also, it’s homage to one of this years contenders, Seattle, the American home of coffee.
Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Candied Bacon and Maple Syrup
Continue the feast into the next day and cook up some American style pancakes with chocolate chips and maple syrup. Complete the breakfast by candying up some bacon. Use streaky bacon over back (it crisps up easier) and add some brown sugar to it. Bake and watch it sweeten up to a crisp. For the pancakes, create the batter and place onto a hot pan adding chocolate chips as you cook. Top both with maple syrup and you will have completed the Superbowl eating spectacle.
Then, book into the gym to work off all those excess calories!!
Each year it’s good to know what food trends and themes are being predicted, so unearthed® category insight manager Ian has picked out a couple that relate to unearthed® or the trends that we’re particularly interested in.
Consumers are becoming more and more interested in where certain foods are coming from and discovering more about the provenance and story behind the product. And this isn’t just the national origin of a product, but a local/regional level as well. Products from different regions are also providing a taste which shoppers are looking for.
unearthed response: Our Chorizo is named after the region in the North of Spain from which it originates – Leon. Sopressata Picante comes from Calabria in Italy and is spiced up with the peppers which grow in the region. But one of our most recent product developments has been to launch a cooking chorizo with manchego (see right) – the perfect way to combine two amazing Spanish products from different regions
Individuals are looking to experience food and drink in all new ways, be it through immersive dining experiences with the lights off or specialising in a certain occasion or meal type. People want to discover and push the boundaries in food and drink and no longer want to eat the same meals at the dining room table. Food is being developed to stimulate the senses in people beyond taste as individuals look to liven up their meals.
unearthed response: We enjoyed a pre-Christmas dinner to Gingerline where we loved the whole experience and the ‘secret’ nature of the event. We’re thinking about some unearthed experiences this year and kick this off with a blogger food and wine mis-matching event.
Although no longer the forefront of cuisine or a leading light in gastronomy, the presence and importance of Spanish as a cuisine cannot be questioned. The trend of using smaller dishes or sharing concepts originates from the Spanish way of dining and this has now infiltrated a number of other cuisines. An ingredient led cuisine, Spanish is being increasingly fused with other ingredients and flavours from other cuisines
unearthed response: We’re just as much in love with Spain as we ever were but why not pair it with some new flavours and cuisines. Olives with chipotle and manchego perfectly combine the spice of South America.
Despite the political turmoil, the region is proving to be a real hot-bed for new and exciting cuisines. Aided by chef’s such as Sabrina Ghayour, the likes of Persian, Lebanese, Turkish and Egyptian are becoming more common place in restaurants and in peoples homes. Flavours like Zataar, Sumac and Baharat are now being included in people spice cupboards while foods like Hummus, Babaganoush and Falafel are established as firm favourites.
unearthed response: This is definitely an area we are keen to discover and bring to you in the near future. In the meantime, our new smoked semi-dried tomatoes are all the way from Turkey. They’re smoked in the UK and are dressed with a lemon and zataar dressing, which brings out the smoky sweetness.
Tell us what food trends you’ll be watching/tasting in 2015…
Each year starts with the promise of change and trying new things. Well this New Year we’re starting off as we mean to go on. With our aim to inspire you to #keepdiscovering we’ve got some new products here for a limited time.
The new flavours will be available in 110 Waitrose stores (store listing here) for at least 8 weeks
- We love independent British distillers Sipsmith® and their London Dry Gin is a classic. It’s distilled the old school way, as it should be, which makes it smooth and full of flavour
- They were crying out for a pairing so we matched them with delicious Greek Kalamata olives and dressed them with some citrus flavours (orange and lime) and juniper – like all good G&Ts. They are perfect with party nibbles – or try with a tall G&T or a Sipsmith® martini (don’t forget the olive)
- This is a mix for real olive lovers as we’ve mixed up Nocellara, Manzanilla and Kalamata olives. All we’ve added is a little dressing (sherry vinegar & lemon) to bring out the beautiful flavours
- Inspired by our travels to European markets we love these olives accompanied with a white wine spritzer. Or if it’s a dry January, an elderflower cordial with soda or sparkling water
- This new profile builds on the success of nocellara olives to the range. Citrus is the perfect pairing with this easy-going olive, but we went one step further and introduced yuzu. This citrus fruit which originates East Asia has a stronger citrus aroma than lemon, so we’ve just added a little bit of juice. Combined with lemon and orange zest we’ve got a lovely a citrusy dressing
- We think this could switch any olive-hater to a lover! Try with a feta and grilled pepper salad
- Back in the early days our olives and manchego were such a popular line. To produce a 2015 trend twist on this classic we’ve added smoky chipotle. Flavour is definitely the hero as the trio of olives + South American chipotle + creamy Spanish manchego are a definite winner.
- Make South America your inspiration and try these olives with some tomato and coriander salsa nachos.
- This is one of the things that perfectly sums up the brand. Simple authentic products and great flavours. The natural flavour of the Chargrilled Puglian artichokes are brought out by the lemon, the chilli adds warmth and the mint creates freshness. A truly traditional Italian recipe
- We love the delicious flavour and can’t get enough of these beauties. They’re great in a rocket and gorgonzola salad (see recipe here)
- We love our semi-dried tomatoes but thought we could add a new twist to harness their natural sweetness. So we smoked them, using a traditional British cooking technique, over oak chippings (in West Sussex. A great combination with a great Mediterranean ingredient
- This the prefect ingredient to cook with but you can also try them in a chicken and grilled pepper salad, see our recipe here
- Chorizo is one of our top sellers and a firm fan favourite. As manchego is probably the best known cheese from Spain, the marriage of the two makes perfect sense. To allow the full flavour to come out, small chunks of Manchego are added into the chorizo mix.
- These are great for a range of tapas dishes, or why not try grilling then serving with lemon and paprika marinated chicken thighs.
So there you have it. Our new lines all unearthed for your enjoyment. A mixture of exciting new products – perfect pairings and on-trend flavours made using some authentic techniques. You can buy all of these items in our 2 for £5 promotional offer, so it means you can afford to experiment and mix and match with some of our other traditional products.
Let us know what you think of these new lines and look out for competitions coming your way
Everything we do is inspired by food and discovering new flavours. So when we discovered, (as in unearthed her for ourselves) Gabriella, an English/Italian blogger who likes to Mangia Bene (eat good) we were very happy. Not only does she make gelato, but she also takes lovely pictures. So when we asked her if she would write us a guest blog with a festive ‘make your own’ feel, she sent us her recipe and beautiful pictures of a traditional Italian canape. Over to Gabriella…
“The festive season is upon us and we all know what that means – Christmas parties and gatherings where food and drink have the leading role. These little Pugliese inspired appetizers help bring a little bit of sunshine to our wintery party table. The Fava bean is a variety of broad bean, Vicia faba. The purée is widely eaten in Puglia and usually served with bitter chicory leaves.
In this recipe I’ve used it as a topping for crostini, a great canapé for a get together where the drinks are flowing. A nice shaving of pecorino cheese on the top for vegetarians and a slice of Parma ham for the meat eaters will finish of these small bites perfectly.
For the puree
- 125g Split Fava Beans
- ½ stick of celery
- ½ small onion
- ½ carrot
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 bay leaf
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
For the Crostini
- 2 Small Ciabatta rolls
- 2 Garlic cloves
- Olive oil
- 2 slices of Parma ham
- 15g Pecorino
Makes 24 crostini
- Wash the beans and put them in a saucepan with a dash of olive oil on a low heat
- Add the roughly chopped carrot, onion and celery. Cover with 300ml of water, turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the beans have softened
- Add 200ml of water and allow to simmer for a further 15 minutes
- While the beans are cooking you can prepare the crostini
- Slice the ciabatta into bite size pieces and brush some olive oil onto them
- Toast them in the oven at 200°C/Gas Mark 6 for ten minutes until crisp
- Peel the garlic cloves and then rub them over the pieces of bread to give it a garlic flavour. Set aside to cool
- Once the beans are done remove the vegetables and bay leaf
- Blend with a stick blender until smooth – it should have the consistency of purée
- Season with a glug of olive oil and salt and pepper
- Top the crostini with a teaspoon of purée and then a slice of either pecorino or Parma ham.”