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26-10-2011, 06:53
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Good grub but it’ll be a bit more sophisticated this Friday

For me beer and food matching is about the occasion when beer intensifies the flavour of the food, adds something to it or alternatively when the ingredients in the dish lift the beer skywards and reveal an hitherto unknown dimension. Or it could be when the two of them collide and come up with something totally new — a gastronomic particle accelerator.

Harmony: it’s akin to the moment when the woodwind, the strings and the brass all come together in one grand symphonic hug, perhaps during Schubert’s ninth symphony or a great shambling moment in Elgar’s Bach Fantasia when all seems lost, when all seems chaos, but as the instruments all seemingly topple over order asserts itself and all is harmony — or maybe I could point you in the direction of Sonic Youth and the Jesus and Mary Chain who were good at that sort of beer and food matching, as was the sound I once heard when crossing Waterloo bridge and the sound of a helicopter flying over dovetailed beautifully with the rat-a-tat bludgeoning of jack hammers on the South Bank.

For me then it’s about bringing flavours together and getting on with each other — and it doesn’t always happen in beer and food. I made moules marinières once with Pedigree and the long boil gave a harsh bitter note to the broth; cheese — artisanal Cheshire — as I found out the other night, with a Czech Svetly Lezak does not work, the dairy fats seem to separate and become hideous individuals — or Dairylea at the very least.

It’s not rocket science, it’s not the black arts — it’s trial and experiment, punk rock, Sebastian Junger hitting the dirt in a hole in Afghanistan, your favourite jeans, frayed and frowning at the damage that time has done. It’s beer and food.

All this is just a preamble to the food vs beer event I am co-hosting with Saturday Kitchen’s Tim Atkin on Friday night at the Thatchers Arms (http://www.thatchersarms.co.uk/) in Mount Bures, Essex. There are a few tickets left so if you want come along then call landlord Mitch on 01787 227460 — it’s also all for charity, we’re all giving our services free, while the beers and wine are being donated by Slurp Beer (http://www.slurpbeer.com/) and Adnams (http://adnams.co.uk/). And as something to whet your appetite here’s the menu with the chosen beers.

Carpaccio of Venison Loin & Beetroot with a Port & Mustard Vinaigrette
Duchesse de Bourgogne

Home Smoked Mackerel Fillet with Pickled Samphire & Lemon Dressing
Adnams Explorer (though I did toy with Pilsner Urquell)

Delicate Sri Lankan Red Chicken Curry with Cumin, Chilli, Ginger, Tomato, Black Mustard Seeds Cardamom Rice & Poppadums (medium hot)
Schneider Weisse

Lemon Tart with Raspberry Coulis
Adnams Sole Bay

Homemade Dark Chocolate Petit Fours
Harviestoun Ola Dubh 12 Year Reserve


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