Wine Pairing with Appetizers-Join Ken Malloy Live at Hy-Vee Wednesday at 7:00 PM

  • Wed
    Nov 28
    7:00 pm -
    8:00 pm
  • Fri
    Nov 30
    7:00 am -
    8:00 am

Livio FellugaPairing wines with foods is a topic that is fascinating and mysterious to me.  For some reason, I don't have the type of mind that can easily assess how to put the two components together and create a synergistic experience.   Fortunately, I'm lucky to know some people who have that gift, and my taste buds are alive enough to perceive the magic result.  And it really is a magical experience if the pairing is right.

I never "got" wine.  All I knew was Manishewitz from our yearly celebrations of Passover.  Later when I started traveling to New York City for work, I had the good fortune and pleasure to enjoy fine meals with, what I was told, were excellent wines.  Still, I didn't understand what all the fuss was about. 

My "awakening" came after becoming friends with Jeff Benjamin, who along with his partner, Marc Vetri, owns four outstanding restaurants in Philadelphia*.  Over a period of years, Jeff would introduce me to many different wines (and beers) from a host of countries.  The wines were always accompanied by a plate of food, and he would encourage me to first experience the wine on its own, and then after a bite of food.  What did that 2004 Grüner Veltliner do to a fisherman's dish from Liguria-corzetti pasta with potato, haricots verts, pine nuts, and pesto?  Did the flavor memory of a bite of black truffle risotto linger on the palate even longer, and enter a new dimension after a sip of a Boscarelli 1999 Super Tuscan?

Other experiences followed.  During a private party at Verbena, a wonderful place in Union Square that lives on only in memory, sommelier Aaron von Rock served a Pikes Riesling, Claire Valley 2000 (Australia) with artichokes.  I still can recall the thrill when those flavors mixed on my palate.  How sad it was to realize that despite numerous previous dinners at Verbena, I had "missed" Aaron's insights prior to that night. 

Our guest on this week's GREAT TASTE, Ken Malloy, has made it impossible for me to enjoy any champagne that couldn't stand up to the Tattinger 2002 he shared one evening.  I absolutely thank him for that because though it's primarily the pairing of wine and food that engages me, that champagne was mighty fine by itself.

During the show, Ken will focus on pairing wines with appetizers.  He's planned a seafood crostini, crab popover and a surprise slider.  Give a listen.  His enthusiasm alone will spark your interest.   We'll talk about basic elements to consider when putting a menu together, and learn a little winespeak. 

If you want to check out a terrific book on the subject, I suggest you pick up What to Drink with What you Eat by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page.  It's the "definitive guide to pairing food with wine, beer, spirits, coffee, tea-even water-based on expert advice from America's best sommeliers."  Ken recommends Perfect Pairings by Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein.

The bubbly and sparkling Kathy DuBois will add some polish to the show.  Tom Allen and his guitar will provide the musical entertainment, and Hy-Vee the location-live in the Club Room at 7:00 pm CT on Wednesday-free and fun. 

The show's stream is located at You can access the archives of Great Taste here, and watch recent shows at the Fairfield Media Center's website.

Vetri Family Restaurants

Alla Spina, Amis, Osteria, Vetri