Wokingham Today

Food and wine, the salt and the sweet

- Bar Fifty Six www.barfiftysi­x.co.uk

SALT is our friend… Have you ever eaten a piece of chorizo full of flavour and salt, and noticed suddenly that great red tastes even better, making you want more of both the meat and the wine?

Apologies to all vegans and vegetarian­s, unfortunat­ely to the non-meat-eating palate you may prefer the white option, a salty halloumi (vegan) with a steely Riesling?

This is not the law, we could also drink wine with no food at all, red or white.

The point is that salt is our friend.

Tomatoes are my favourite example. Taste a tomato and then sprinkle salt over the fruit and see how much that tomatoes tastes more like a tomato.

Our problem is the sweet tooth that many of us have, chocolate and wine just doesn’t work, or does it?

A grape is just a grape; however each wine has its own individual characteri­stics, we won’t go into terwar or climate, just residual sugars.

This could open a whole can of worms. Residual sugars are the leftover sugars that make the wine taste sweet, post fermentati­on.

Unlike perceived sugars, where a wine may have very little, or no sugar left over after the fermentati­on process, however to a non-sommelier may taste slightly sweeter.

The rule is, you will know if there are sugars in a wine.

Sometimes this can be great, as in a gewürztram­iner or a dessert wine, however also may have disastrous effects, such as the wine I was brought up on “Liebfraumi­lch”.

Do not get put off by the German market! Some of the finest wines in the world come from Germany.

A lot of French wine is made similar and even uses the German style bottles, take the Alsace for example. I apologise to all French readers as they are still French wines, fine line though!

So back to salt the effect. Salt will definitely bring out the body of a wine, red or white.

I will challenge any person who has bought a mid-range wine and not enjoying it particular­ly, to toast some bread and pop some chopped tomatoes salt onion, olive oil and basil onto it and tell me that is still the same wine. (OK, I could have just said Bruschetta).

So sweet, come to 56 and try our cake, if you however need a wine and not a coffee you need to be careful.

Start with a Riesling (perceived sweetness) and if you are feeling adventurou­s then try a Gewürztram­iner, and if you have a real sense of adventure have a glass of dessert wine. Yes, you are right, the sweeter the food the sweeter the wine should be, again take a good red you are enjoying, then take a piece of chocolate and see how this ruins the whole sensory experience, quite the opposite if you are a whisk(e)y drinker, but that’s a whole other story.

Hopefully this makes sense, sweet food needs sweeter wines, savoury, salt is going to bring out the true wine flavours, just be careful of the umami pairings,

I’ll let you investigat­e, basically mushrooms alone are not our friends…. Add salt!

Fun fact

Wine can improve your sex life, studies have proven that ladies that drink two glasses of wine a day enjoy physical pleasure more intensely than women who do not drink wine at all. “Bottoms up!”

Bar Fifty Six is at Rose Street, Wokingham RG40 1XU. To reserve a table call 0118

375 3069 or log on to www. barfiftysi­x.co.uk

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