Surprise And Delight With These Unexpected Port Pairings
Creative direction, styling, and photography by Robyn Roberts
If you love to entertain, there’s nothing more fun than whipping up a delicious recipe, finding the perfect wine to pair with it, and blowing your friends away with your flawless hosting skills! And if a solid wine pairing is essential for a memorable evening, then an unexpected pairing that none of your guests have ever experienced before is what truly takes a gathering to the next level.
But if your food and wine pairing strategy is pretty much limited to ‘red with meat, white with fish, pray that it works’-- it’s hard to think outside the box. Which is why you will want to take a tip from The Lush Life and trust the latest food pairing wine I’m obsessed with: port!
Pairing With Port
So first things first: let’s talk about port. Port is a fortified wine from Portugal (yep, port is from Portugal-- which is a connection most of my friends hadn’t made… is your mind blown???).
A fortified wine is one that has a neutral grape spirit (aka brandy) added to the wine during fermentation; which helps preserve it and also makes it a bit stronger than your standard table wine. The 2 most common styles of port are Ruby and Tawny, and they are traditionally served as dessert wines because they are rich, decadent, and sweet. When I traveled to Portugal I fell in love with these incredibly delicious wines; so much so that I wondered if I could find a way to enjoy them outside of a dessert or cheese course!
SO, I was thrilled to discover 2 more styles that are ideal for pairing with savory dishes: white and rosé! Both of them are lighter, more refreshing, and drier than the other popular ports-- and served chilled (or even with a twist of lemon and a few ice cubes) they are lovely as an apertif OR served alongside a meal.
I grabbed 2 of my favorites and tried out some recipe pairings that were both simply awesome. Try them out at your next dinner party and enjoy!
Port Pairing #1: Fonseca Siroco White Port with Warm Crab Dip
For years, I have sworn by this Food & Wine recipe for Warm Crab Dip with Fresh Herbs as my most crowd-pleasing appetizer! You can make it ahead and finish it in the oven right before people come over so that’s always a plus.
I was inspired to pair it with Fonseca Siroco White Port when I remembered that to start the dip, the original recipe calls for sautéing shallots with butter and deglazing the pan with a splash of dry vermouth. I decided to swap out the vermouth for the white port instead-- because it’s dry and aromatic with a nice hint of nuttiness that would add a wonderful complexity to the dip!
I love cooking with wine and then sipping that same wine with the dish; it’s just harmonious on the palate. White port traditionally drinks very well alongside seafood, so this delicate, fresh, and creamy crab dip is a natural choice for a deletable pairing.
Get the recipe here.
Port Pairing #2: Croft Pink Port with Spicy Shrimp Tacos
The original rosé port was created by legendary port producer Croft in 2008-- since they were founded in 1588, it’s hard to believe it took them over 400 years to develop something so delightful! But it was definitely worth the wait: this port is juicy, tangy, and refreshing, with a hint of cherries and raspberries and a crisp finish. Croft Pink is wonderful when chilled, and since spicy foods pair well with wines that have a hint of sweetness, the wine definitely calls for a dish with a little heat. A spicy shrimp taco is a simple, casual, and satisfying pairing!
Thank you Croft and Fonseca for sponsoring this post!