Wine & Food: Big and Bold Flavours

This month, we present you with four easy-to-make dishes with bold flavours. Comfort food that really packs a punch. We’re all naturally drawn to outspoken flavours because they satisfy our senses – it’s “feel good” fare. When pairing a wine with these dishes, dare to be bold too. Keep the elegant, delicate wines bottled up and crack open the more outspoken, fuller-bodied wines that are higher in alcohol.

What Are Big and Bold Flavours in Food and Wine (and Why Do We Love Them?)

Food-wise, “bold flavours” are a little hard to define, yet everybody knows what they mean. Big and boldly-flavoured food incorporates an abundance of different flavours and textures, all in one dish: sugar, salt, acid, spice, and of course, that wonderful umami, or “savoury” sensation. On top: richness from proteins and fat, or smokey, roasted flavours from the preparation method. Bold food is loud (if it could make noise) and exuberant. This type of food prompts the brain to release endorphins, our “feel-good hormones” – a highly rewarding experience. All in moderation, obviously. 

When pairing food with wine, one thing to always keep in mind is “balance” – rich, palate-coating, intense foods need an equally pronounced wine or the dish will completely overpower the wine. Bold foods need bold wines – complex, acidic, and relatively high in alcohol. For each of these bold dishes below, we give you a wine direction, and a specific bottle to try. Enjoy, and remember: often, more is definitely more.

Cajun Garlic Shrimp

Cajun-seasoned shrimp on a wooden board with a lime wedge

Deliciously garlicky, buttery, and slightly spicy shrimp: this is no delicate seafood dish. A fuller-bodied white blend would make for an exuberant pairing. This is a starter that comes together in minutes.

Honey-Soy Glazed Chicken Thighs

Honey-soy glazed chicken thighs with fresh green onions and sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

Slightly sweet, and with a nice umami kick, these flavourful chicken thighs are hard to resist. As is finding a perfect wine pairing, despite being told that wine doesn’t go with soy sauce! Step outside of your comfort zone and try pairing a wine with this Asian-inspired dish featuring a glaze made with soy sauce and honey.

Mushroom Blue Cheese Burgers

Juicy hamburger with onion and mushroom topping with blue cheese crumbles.

Mushroom blue cheese is the boldest of burgers. Earthy, salty, slightly fatty: only a wine with serious moxie could be its companion. We recommend a big, bold, Californian Cabernet Sauvignon.

Vegan Baked Beans

A bold dish doesn’t need to include meat or fish – miso, maple syrup, garlic, smoked paprika, and other seasonings make this dish a real flavour bomb. It needs a fruit-forward wine with a bright acidity!

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