A Matter Of Taste Paperback – Sep 5 2006
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When delicious food and wine make a passionate connection, the combination can offer one of life's supernal pleasures. In A Matter of Taste, Lucy Waverman provides the recipes while James Chatto tutors readers in choosing wines and spirits that make those pairings sublime. Grouping her dishes by seasons and themes, Waverman offers more than 170 recipes--and that's just the food. Throughout the book, Chatto offers his own advice on blending classic cocktails and teaches readers how to consider a food's weight, acidity, saltiness, sweetness, flavour, and aroma when pairing it with a wine: "There's a sober, joyless young Bordeaux swathed in a dark cloak of tannins. Drink it with lamb and you suddenly taste ripe black currents." So, for New Year's Eve, there's Scallop Ravioli with Blood Orange Sauce, which Chatto likes with an elegant, cool-climate Pinot Noir. In spring, "A Dinner of Lemons" starts with Sorrel Soup (try it with an Alsatian Riesling) and finishes with Lemon Ginger Yogurt Cake (a medium-sweet Apricot wine from Ontario). When the book club comes over, the suggested menu includes Braised Chicken with Olive and Figs and an everyday Dolcetto that won't distract from the conversation. The lentil salad vibrates with taste, while Coconut Shrimp Curry is sensational. Readers who have tried Waverman's dishes from her Globe and Mail column and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario's Food and Drink magazine will know that her recipes are full of flavour, easy-to-follow, and pretty close to foolproof. Chatto's writing is lively and informative. Together the two are like well-matched food and wine: better than the sum of the parts. --Carolyn Leitch --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Lucy Waverman and James Chatto have been at or near the top of the food chain in Ontario-or at least those parts of Ontario that are visible from the wealthy areas of downtown Toronto-for a long time now. They know what theyre doing, they know what theyre about, and what theyre about is Rosedale Fusion cuisine. A Matter of Taste is, therefore, pretty much as advertised-a matter of taste.
The book itself is a coffee-table whopper, beautifully produced and professionally executed-and not something youd want to drop on your foot while youre cooking from it. The authors dont say this, but its actually a dinner party cookbook, and the food it features is the kind that takes all day-or several days-to prepare and all evening to consume.
The books menus are organized around the four seasons of the year, beginning with spring, and each setting takes you from appetizers to after-dinner aperitifs. Some of the featured menus will tip amateur chefs on limited budgets and less-than-fully equipped kitchens over the edge of a nervous breakdown trying to run with these guys. I found myself growing slightly irritable with the degree of supervision, particularly when it comes to directions for the wines I ought to be drinking. This may have something to do with my habit of drinking wine while Im preparing food, and realizing that with the amount of kitchen time their regime requires, Id rarely make it to the dinner table.
Thats not entirely fair, because high-end menus are what Chatto and Waverman do, and theyre unapologetic about it. I imagine that many readers will find their micro-managing rather soothing. The good news is that I also found myself pilfering bits and pieces of both their menus and recipes alike, so the book is adaptable.
Brian Fawcett (Books in Canada)
-- Books in Canada --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
• The attempt to match every recipe with an appropriate beverage (usually wine, but many other spirits as well – no beer), with an explanation of why the food and drink go well together. The authors don’t recommend specific wine brands or years, but rather grapes and regions.
• The grouping of recipes (usually 4-6) into full dinner menus with interesting themes (e.g. Burns Night dinner, Ski Chalet dinner, alternative Thanksgiving).
• A seasonal approach, whereby each menu is designed for one of the four seasons, through the choice of seasonal ingredients and also through the feel of the food and drink (e.g. warm, hearty fare and strong liquor in the winter; fish and white wines in the summer)
•Histories of alcoholic drinks. Sprinkled throughout the text are informative mini-essays on various spirits and liqueurs, as well as aspects of wines (botrytis, terroir, etc.)
Being a wine novice with an undistinguished palate, I don’t consider myself qualified to judge how well the book succeeds in its primary goal of food & drink matching. I can say that the food tastes great – every dish we have made (cod with romesco sauce, chicken & fig casserole, and many more) has been delicious.
The grouping of recipes into full dinner menus has strengths and weaknesses. It is a lot of fun to read and visualize serving one of these menus, but it is a little too labour-intensive for everyday cooking. We have usually ended up picking and choosing one or two of the individual recipes, instead of the full menu.Read more ›
Ms. Waverman has carefully created seasonal menus, some more general, others appropriate to particular occasions (Thanksgiving, Burns Night, Christmas, New Years, Passover, etc.), and James Chatto has paired these menus with wine suggestions. Dispersed throughout the book are informative discussions of particular aspects of matching food and drinks; decanting, sherry, or brining a turkey, etc.
When having company, it's nice to know that someone has done the worrying about wine and appetizers for you, and you can feel entirely safe in the steady hands of Waverman & Chatto. The food, while up-to-date, is not glaringly trendy (i.e. lemongrass and cilantro in everything) or dull (full flavoured, yes, but concussive, no). The wine suggestions are not unreasonable either; Chatto does not call for a specific vintner or vintage, but takes a more universal approach (he calls for a valipolicella classico, for instance, rather than a Masi Valpolicella classico, thus departing from the pattern of his Food & Wine recommendations).
The food is delicious, and the bits of information and history surrounding it make this a wonderful book to read as well as cook from; the photography decadent; the writing is the closest thing to Nigella Lawson's sumptuous prose we have in the Canadian market.
The onion tarts and the roast beef in a mustard-rosemary rub are my favourites so far - and the accompanying gravy is divine.Read more ›