Sunday 10 July 2011

FABPOW! Paella and Estrella

It's too easy, obvious even, but the Food and Beer Pairing of the Week, this week coming from beside the beach in Menorca, is paella and Estrella (which like last year's gyros and Mythos has a likeable rhyme to it).

This is one of those matches which is made perfect in the mouthful. Sure, the bright lift of carbonation, the sweet body and the dry quench of hops help, but the flavours themselves only go so far together. Paella and Estrella is a psychological kind of pairing where local flavours come together. It's why dumplings and Gambrinus work so well in the Czech Republic and why Carbonnade and dubbel work so well in Bruges, but take them somewhere else and they lose something: the psychological link lifts them up.

Paella: Fishy rice, rich and salty, golden from the tang of saffron, livened by lemon and fresh with seafood. Estrella stamps in rather than slides over, with its full body and hints of bubble gum, sherbet, honey and bread. There's an inelegance to it but it works like a pint of bitter and a ploughman's served in a pub garden: because it does, because they seem to belong on the same table, because it's simple, a no-brainer. And of course they taste good together but it works best because it's two local flavours enjoyed locally and that's enough for some of the best food and beer matches.


  1. Strictly speaking, Estrella in Mallorca is as local as Leffe is in the UK.... But that's just me wanting to ruin your holiday just a little bit, call it jealousy...

  2. Occam's Razor: The most obvious solution is more often likely to be the correct one.

    Something I have to remind myself about beer and food pairings from time to time. You want to 'show off' and find the most unusual flavours picked out of the most unusual beers by the most unusual food, but more often than not the most satisfying matches are the simple ones.

    I'm always impressed by the simplicity and effectiveness of just matching food and beer geographically. It's like it's MEANT to be this way. It just WORKS!