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48
Food
and drink
by Shari Darling
Canadian Rieslings (white wines made
from the Riesling grape variety) are
culinary superstars.  It’s really my
favourite Canadian variety.  The wines
can be vinified bone-dry with steel-
like acidity and aromas and flavours
of lemon and limes.  Off-dry versions
can also be fermented from the juice
of this grape, offering sweetness to
balance that steely acidity.  The wines
can range from a sugar code of 1 to
4.  Late-harvest Rieslings are sweeter
with more tropical overtones and
serve as fabulous dessert wines to
pair with fruit-based desserts.  And
then there are Riesling icewines with
character resembling dried apricots
and figs, kiwi and lychee and honey.
A world-class Riesling icewine will not
taste sweet.  In sipping the wine, just
a smidgen of sweetness should hit
the tongue.  It hits the tongue a split
second before that refreshing acidity
swirls up from the back palate and
dances with the sweetness.  It swirls
together, making for a well-integrated
experience.  This is dessert in a
glass.   Riesling icewine complements
both savoury delights such as foie
gras, and all fruit-based desserts. 
The character, acidity and sweetness
levels make Riesling an excellent
partner for ethnic cuisines such as
Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Thai. 
The reason is that the sweetness in the
wine will complement the sweetness
in the dish that comes from fruit such
as coconut.  The wine’s sweetness will
also nicely offset the heat and spice
of Chinese, Indian and Thai cuisines. 
Coconut-based curry paired with an
off-dry Riesling is enough to make this
wine lover experience heaven.
Riesling paired with Thai TomYum
Soup is one of my favourite wine-
pairing partnerships.  This sour and
spicy soup is served in Malaysia,
Singapore, Indonesia and Central
Thailand.  It’s absolutely delicious and
so easy to prepare.  It is made up of
the fresh ingredients of chicken broth,
lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal
(Chinese ginger), lime juice, fish sauce
and crushed chili peppers, red peppers
and mushrooms.  If serving as a meal,
be sure to add your favourite Thai
noodles.  The flavours vary, depending
on the origins of the soup.
TomYum is also low in fat, high in
protein and healthy.  Lemon grass
adds a lemon-like quality to the
soup and is readily available in Asian
supermarkets.  For the soup, chop up
the white part finely.  Simmer the soup
with the green stems, but be sure to
remove them before serving.  Like
galangal, lemon grass is anti-bacterial,
anti-microbial and is an antioxidant. 
It can also be used in the making of
ginger and lemon grass tea.  Kaffir lime
leaves are believed to have a positive
effect on the mind and the body.
This simple-to-make soup is the ideal
partner for a variety of Riesling wines. 
Pick your Riesling wine based on how
hot and spicy the soup will be.  If sour,
with gentle heat and spice featuring
more fresh lime juice and less crushed
chili, the soup should be partnered
with a bone-dry Riesling.  The acidity
from the lime juice will harmonize with
the soup’s zesty flavour.
Spicier TomYum soup demands a
Riesling with some sweetness, an off-
dry version.  Just keep in mind that the
hotter and spicier the soup, the more
sweetness is required in the wine.  This
style of soup will also offer some zesty
lime flavour to complement the wine’s
acidity.
The words ‘tom yum’ come from two
Tai words.  “Tom”means boiling.  Yum
(also called yam) refers to a Lao spicy
and sour character.  Hence the name
means Thai and Lao hot and sour soup.
Here’s a simple version of TomYum
Soup.
For more information on
wine and food, go to
Thai Tom Yum Soup