Book club: ‘Wine and Food: The Perfect Match’, by Ronan Sayburn MS & Marcus Verberne

Jacopo Mazzeo

Jacopo Mazzeo

15 September 2020

News editor Jacopo Mazzeo goes through the pages of Wine and Food, the first book published by legendary London wine club 67 Pall Mall

How would you recreate at home that feeling of glamour, exclusivity and hedonistic excitement you can experience at one of the world’s most prestigious wine clubs? Well, you could ask Ronan Sayburn MS and Marcus Verberne – respectively head of wine and head chef at 67 Pall Mall, London – to kindly arrange a wine and food matching dinner for you to enjoy in the comfort of your home. Or you could take the perhaps more practical, realistic, and certainly cheaper route of getting your hands on a copy of the club’s new tome Wine and Food: The Perfect Match.

The book, curated by the expert minds and typing hands of Sayburn and Verberne themselves, is a remarkable account of the world’s greatest wines and what foods to pair them with.

The wine

The first part is entirely dedicated to wine, with easy to navigate yet informative chapters spent on key subjects such as soil, climate, the globe’s key wine regions, wine tasting, wine service (particularly noteworthy is the detailed description of how to open sparkling wines), storage, and of course, food matching instructions. This highlights ‘rules’ of wine and food pairing, tricky ingredients to watch out for, and practical advice on how to plan a wine-pairing dinner.

The world’s most important grape varieties are discussed in the following section. With its chapters ranging from Riesling to Italian White Grapes, and from Syrah to Merlot, each featuring paragraphs dedicated to the ‘best terroirs’ they’re grown in, the prime focus here is how the interaction between grape variety and terroir shows in the final wine.

The book moves away from the worn-out concept of ‘international varieties’ to embrace that of ‘noble grapes’, which are given a prominent position and include somms’ great favourites such as Nebbiolo or Semillon. By putting a spotlight on the variety, the book certainly shows a modern approach to the subject by reflecting the ever-expanding nature of the wine universe. 

The food

Each wine style is also cross-referenced with the recipes featured in the following, final section of the book: a 100-strong selection of dishes with chapters categorised into Sea and River, Land, Garden, and Sweet.

Chef Verberne’s collection of recipes ranges from classics such as beef wellington and cassoulet de Toulouse, to unexpected comfort food ideas (eg 67 Pall Mall’s own burger), and plenty of innovative dishes (check out the Saffron-poached Apricot & Almond Tart with Roquefort Ice Cream). Each recipe features ingredients, preparation and a wine-matching suggestion with a few alternatives.

Wine and Food: The Perfect Match, is a serious wine book and a serious recipe book, an element that sets this publication apart from most of its predecessors, each page reverberating Sayburn and Verberne’s unrivaled expertise and passion for their craft.

Most importantly, it’s a window into a stronghold of exemplary wine service. Need to refresh your Champagne-opening skills? The globe’s most iconic wine institution’s got it all sorted for you.

£40 (available from 17 September), 67 Pall Mall, 67pallmall.com

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