Food and wine pairing receives a twist when also paired with a cookbook. Pair an all time favorite American diner food with some classy bubbles and a recipe from a beloved California restaurant.
This month, the Wine Pairing Weekend writers (#winepw) take on the California wine scene paired with a cookbook.
Since they make just about every wine in California, the issue is not so much which wine to pair but which cookbook to pick.
Who doesn’t love mac ‘n cheese?
One of my very favorite dishes in the whole wide world to make is mac ‘n cheese.
Having only grown up on boxed macaroni and cheese as a child, I knew life could only get better one day.
What I like about mac’ n cheese is the French origin of the classic mornay mother sauce that has been distilled by Americans into a box, via Kraft or Velveeta, and likened to trailer trash cuisine.
I like how this dish can simultaneously showcase classical cooking and evoke fond memories of school days and lunches with sporks.
I love too how I always order it at restaurants and how often I’m disappointed by it. It’s usually not enough cheese, overcooked, or just bland.
Except perhaps at the one restaurant that is based solely around mac’n cheese.
Homeroom Mac ‘n Cheese
Homeroom restaurant in Oakland was opened by a disgruntled lawyer who got sick of her job. (Hmm, I can’t imagine.)
Even if you can’t travel to the restaurant, they have shared their popular recipes for just about every variation of mac ‘n cheese in The Mac + Cheese cookbook.
What I especially love about the book is that there is a wine AND beer pairing suggestion for each recipe. Most cookbooks don’t have a wine suggestion at all much less one for beer too.
Pair with sparkling wine
One of my very favorite wine pairings in the whole wide world is mac ‘n cheese with sparkling wine.
It’s the bubbly, sparkly paired with creamy, cheesy, soft pasta and the toasted crumbs on top echo the toastiness of champagne.
Because mac’n cheese uses that classic French mornay cheese sauce, I like pairing it with a French sparkling wine such as Cremant de Borgogne or Cremant de Limoux, regions outside the official Champagne designation where the bubbles are bigger and the wines are cheaper.
Katherine Kennedy Santa Cruz Mountains 2005 Blanc de Blanc
For this post, I thought I would try the lemony, golden hued, 2005 blanc de blanc from Kathryn Kennedy Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA.
It is probably a bit hard to find, but I do live near Santa Cruz, and they had it at Whole Foods in Santa Clara, CA.
I just loved that it was local, aged, and came from a local winery started by a female wine grower. She passed away in 2009 but her son has continued as the winemaker.
The name of the wine, Twenty-Seven, refers to the year Kathryn was born, 1927.
Though the grapes were harvested in 2005, the wine was not released until 2015. The result is a wine with a whisper of bubbles, buttery aroma, and soft acidity.
To be honest, it was a little bit too refined for my heart attack inducing mac’n cheese.
Door Dash savior
Luckily my low carb companion had door dashed in some dim sum from Koi Palace, a Michelin recommended Chinese restaurant in the Bay Area.
The sparkling wine provided a delicate palate cleanse to the carefully composed dumplings pan fried in a touch of oil.
The wine also provided an elegant contrast to the steamed rainbow soup dumplings and braised duck tongues too.
I still love my mac’n cheese with sparking wine, but I will probably choose one with bigger bubbles and a lower price tag when I do my next pairing.
California wine & cookbooks to love
To read more about CA wines and cookbook pairings, check out these posts from the #winepw writers:
- A Taste of Ojai: Chef Robin Goldstein and Topa Mountain
Wines by Gwen at Wine Predator
- Bean and Cheese Panchos with a California Rosé by Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Cabbage Soup with a California Red by Terri of Our Good Life
- California Cooking Gaby Style with California Wine Pairing by Jane of Always Ravenous
- Eat your Peas – Pairing, California-Style by Linda of My Full Wine Glass
- Napa History with Gamble Family Wines & a Lamb Feast with Friends by Nicole of Somm’s Table
- Picturing California on the Plate and in the Glass by Jeff of Food Wine Click!
- Savory Dutch Baby, Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut Rosé, and a Few Other California Favorites by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Sirloin Steak Tacos with Paso Robles Zinfandel by David of Cooking Chat
- Tasting California with Merry Edwards Pinot Noir and Gaby
Dalkin’s Pulled Pork Sliders by Cindy of Grape Experiences