The Vinous-Maritime Equation: Tips for Pairing Wine and Seafood

The azure blue waters of the Pacific, calming breezes and slack key music, and a sunset dinner complete with the day's fresh catch and a glass of wine to pair. But what fish? And what wine? These answers can be surprisingly elusive.

With an abundance of fresh seafood in the Pacific waters surrounding the islands, Hawaii’s culinary traditions have naturally focused on the generous assortment of the region's oceanic offerings. Quintessential Hawaiian dishes, such as grilled tako (octopus), poke, garlic or coconut shrimp, lomi Salmon, and steamed fish are common at every family potluck and beach picnic. With such a diversity of textures and flavors, wine pairings can be correspondingly diverse. Finding the right match is not always an elementary task.

This month’s Veritas Wine Club, led by Tiffany, our spirited and capable sommelier, sought to provide a few basic wine and seafood pairing tips, utilizing items easily found at any local market.  

To stay on theme, I offer a few wine and seafood pairing tips of my own before we turn to this month’s lineup and find out what the Tchin Tchin gang brought to the table. So climb aboard, we'll search for pairings on every shore.

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Musings by the Surf: the Great Grommet Incursion at the Kailua Shorebreak Classic

The ocean is majestic, mysterious and, at times, seemingly paradoxical. It is serene and still, yet also violent and aggressive. It is calm yet powerful. It invites adventure, but not without caution and respect. It is vast. It is humbling. It is exciting. It inspires reflection (for best results, pair with wine). If you spend significant time near or in the ocean, you cannot help but be changed by it. In most cases, for the better.

Surfing is an interaction - a dialogue - with this wonderful gift.  Surfing also places us in a vibrant community and culture. There is no better manifestation of this culture than the annual Kailua Shorebreak Classic, a keiki (kids) surf competition held in honor of four beloved surfers and watermen. The most recent installment, held this past weekend, was awash with camaraderie, adventure, and spirit.

This week’s musings explore the Shorebreak Classic, it’s wonderful community, and the ocean that brings it together. Oh, and while we do that, let’s talk about some wine, too. This is a wine blog, after all, and everyone stands to benefit from a good wine recommendation for beach days and beautiful sunsets.

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The Nightcap Corollary: A Guide to Pairing Wine and Dessert

DESSERT! Do I have your attention? Of course I do; a confection creation is euphoria for the sweet tooth. Resistance is futile; science proves it. (Okay, perhaps it is not quite that simple, but we all read those articles wishing it were). The relevant post-meal inquiry is not "are we having dessert," but rather, "what is the perfect beverage to complement my dessert?" After all, dessert deserves a thoughtful pairing.

This month’s Veritas Wine Club, located at the Tchin Tchin Bar in Honolulu’s Chinatown District, explores that critical question with a dessert and wine pairing theme. Sweetness will inevitably ensue.

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The Sake-Confection Hypothesis: A Guide to Pairing Sake and Dessert

My musings by the masu has come upon its final chapter. A sweet ending to a scientific beginning. In Part I, I explored the sake brewing process and certain aspects that make it unique from wine and beer. Sake science 101. In Part II, I paired sake with savory cuisines outside of Japan to demonstrate sake’s diverse pairing potential across the globe. Sake need not be reserved exclusively for sushi night. But how about continuing the sake trend post-dinner? When it comes to dessert, many transition to coffee or tea. Inebriation complete; commence sobriety re-calibration.

Not so fast!

This post posits the hypothesis that sake is indeed up to the challenge of pairing with dessert. And the best part of this hypothesis? Confirmatory data analysis. In other words, a lot of eating and drinking. Hypothesize, experiment, repeat. To complete the sake musings trilogy, I seek out a few tasty treats to sample with sake. Let the nightcap commence!

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