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Your Guide for Food Pairings with Natural Wine

By Jessica Ferrer
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Photo By Stefan Johnson

Natural wine is everyone’s latest obsession. It’s being highlighted more on menus, you’ve got your guides for how to drink it, you’ve probably even noticed your local wine shop advertising bottles of “pét-nat” (petillant-naturel) for sale. And now that you’re picking up on the natural wine trend yourself, finding your favorite varieties and understanding that orange wine is not actually wine made from oranges, you can get a step ahead by learning what to pair it with. Since natural wine is funky by nature, food pairings can be atypical themselves. Think outside the fruit and cheese plate when pairing dishes with your favorite natural wines. 

Vegetables 

Raw, grilled or roasted vegetables pair well with natural wine. A whole tray of roasted vegetables drizzled with some green goddess dressing is a perfect balance of creaminess and earthy flavor, cut by the acid in the wine. Or try an orange wine and wedge salad with blue cheese and bacon for a decadent start to your meal. Instead of going all out on your cheese plate (though we won’t be mad if you do), head to the farmer’s market for some fresh produce to pair with your natural wine. 

Pizza

A pizza is kind of like a meat and cheese board, right? Think spicy salami, buttery mozzarella melted on top, sweetness from the tomato sauce served on top of a board, aka the crust. Well, anyway. Whether you’re topping your pizza with peppery arugula or lemony ricotta, drinking a natural red is a new take on your pizza and wine combo.  

Seafood Boil 

Not only is a seafood boil a great idea for a party, but it’s also a good way to drink natural wine. Sure, beer is the obvious choice when it comes to tackling a mountain of crabs, crawfish and shrimp, not to mention corn, sausage and potatoes in between. But the benefit of a bubbly natural wine like a pet-nat with your seafood is a funkiness that plays with the freshness of the seafood, and if you’ve got some Old Bay on there (as you should), it will balance out the spices. 

Chinese food 

Or Thai food, or any of your favorite takeout for that matter. Chewy noodles, savory dumplings and the kick of Szechuan peppercorns share notes of complexity, just like natural wine itself. A bite of a spring roll dipped in sweet chili sauce followed by a sip of a bright orange wine can only be described as perfection. It doesn’t matter if you’re eating this takeout on the floor after moving into a new apartment or having a date night in, a bottle of natural wine will make it feel special. 

Mezze board 

If you’ve learned anything so far, you’ve learned that natural wine likes rich food and different textures. That’s why a mezze board is the ultimate natural wine food pairing. Bright tabbouleh, silky baba ganoush, nutty tahini, salty feta cheese will shine when paired with natural wine. Funky meet funky in this pairing, plus you can create a killer mezze board for your next party. Throw in some olives and roasted vegetables to finish it all off. 



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