The Grapevine

Food & Wine Pairing: Grilled Pizza as Pairing Experiment

September 16th, 2016

Grilled pizza is a summer time treat in our house, but it’s a rare one because of the work involved. It doesn’t have to be labor intensive, but from the home-made sourdough pizza dough to the 6 or 8 different topping combinations – for 4 people! – it’s an all-day affair. [level-members]

The homemade dough isn’t really as much work as people think, it just happens over a long period of time. But the range of toppings really is a time killer. It can also be a wine killer. Here’s what we had last weekend. (These are all small pizzas – we’re not complete gluttons!)

  • “Regular” cheese and sauce pizza
  • Cheese, sauce and pepperoni
  • Cheese, sauce, sausage and mushroom
  • Ricotta, mozzarella and olive oil
  • Goat cheese, basil and sauted onion
  • The Garbage Pie – the last bits of all of the toppings above.

Say what you will about our taste, it’s even tougher duty on a wine than on our stomachs! In the end, we drank a very nice chianti classico, though we would frequently open a Zinfandel. Sangiovese would work well with the pepperoni or sausage, particularly if it’s a spicy sausage.

All that’s a long way of saying, there’s more to pairing than just the broad strokes of the main course. It’s when you get into the details of the dish that you can really find smile-inducing combinations. And it’s why the old protein-focused saws about what pairs best with meat or fish are terribly outdated. Think flavors and sauces first, base proteins (or pizzas!) second.