Lisa Pretty, a Paso Robles winemaker, chef/owner of the Pretty Café, and writer on food and wine, has written the only book we know that focuses on the pairing of Paso Robles wines with food. We look forward to testing some of her recommendations on our upcoming trip to Paso Robles to prepare Report # 33 The Wines of Paso Robles.
The book is in large part a cookbook with numerous recipes (and photos of the completed dishes) ranging from appetizers to salads, soups, entrees, and desserts. In the introductory section of the book, she lays out some non-controversial principles she follows in pairing food and wine, such as pairing grilled foods with boldly flavored, oaked wines or pairing stir-fried dishes with unoaked light to medium bodied wines with good acidity. This is followed by over 130 original recipes.
The author makes recommendations for specific Paso Robles wines to pair with each recipe given in the book. As an example, for grilled portabellas she recommends mostly wines made from the Sangiovese or Tempranillo varieties; for sautéed scallops she recommends Rhone varieties like Marsanne and Viognier; for mushroom soup she recommends mostly Pinot Noir; and for spicy beef ribs she recommends either Petite Sirah or Barbera. Chef Pretty’s knowledge of Paso Robles wines and her experience pairing them with food makes her recommended wine lists one of the most valuable contributions of this book. It would be even more valuable to those not well versed in Paso Robles wines if the book explained what it is about the wines that makes them pair so well with the dish being presented.
The book ends with menus from about twenty different Paso Robles wineries: each menu includes recipes selected from the book paired with the wines of that winery. While most of the pairings are straightforward applications of the principles set out in the book’s introduction, some of the combinations are interesting and leave the reader wondering why a particular wine was selected.
Eat This With…Paso Robles Wine, published by Pretty Media Creations in Paso Robles, is a colorful book filled with beautiful photos of food and vineyards. It provides an excellent introduction to the wines of Paso Robles as well as numerous tantalizing recipes. The book is available at eatthiswith.com and Amazon.com.
California readers of the International Wine Review might want to do their own pairing of food and Paso Robles wines at the annual Paso Robles Wine Festival scheduled for May 17-19, 2013, in Paso Robles Downtown City Park.
Don Winkler, Editor