Eyes wide open

A new day, another day closer to the big day.

Those were my thoughts a few days before I walked down the aisle to my answered prayer. It sounds cliche, but I really did marry my best friend, my partner in crime, my unexpected match.

7 years ago when we first met, it definitely did not feel like I met my soulmate. Our conversation revolved around How I Met Your Mother among other series. I was on a different adventure at the time. But after a few beers, chicharon bulaklak plates and waiting out the looming typhoon then, we knew there was attraction but that in no way indicated that we were going to end up together.

We were so different in so many ways, the more visible ways. And what we found that we were similar or complementary in, nobody else saw but us. So the journey of our relationship came as a shock even to those who knew us best.

7 years later, some differences remained different. Some similarities remained similar. And some switched statuses. In many cases, the most polarizing of our differences found ways to align. He disliked the beach, dogs and preferred beer and whisky over wine. (Our story here. )

I married this person after several dates, many bottles of wine (and beer, whisky and gin), some tears and ugly cries, many ugly laughs too, eventful holidays and different versions of my “please let him be the one” prayer.

In a way, love stories have become so mundane, so everyday. While we see weddings happening left and right, there is still a magic in each one that makes it beautiful every time. There is that eye-opening, pivotal moment that reveals why two, seemingly different people are perfect for each other.

This is the clearest way for me to explain how I feel when I encounter food and wine pairings. That precise moment when they all come together in your mouth. All the different – and sometimes unusual – elements falling in perfect alignment, the expression of flavours, structure of wine and the layers of texture each ingredient in the food individually brings and finally, the new layers of flavours the new pairing brings, all that combined is bliss to me.

There is a basic set of guidelines for pairing food with wine.

White wine for white meat. Red wine for red meat. Wine goes with cheeses and charcuterie. Bubbly is for celebrations. Rose can be good on its own or with some lighter meats, salads or pasta. Sweet wine must be sweeter than the dessert it is paired with. Or in some cases, opposites attract.

While there is safety in knowing that this rule could generally enhance most dining experiences, there are also things to consider in finding the most perfect pairing between food and wine. Sauce, spices, meat, gravy, side dishes, soft cheeses, hard cheeses – can all be taken into consideration in finding the best way to complement a particular wine.

But I’m not a sommelier. I just happen to like wine. I like food too. A lot. And (no brainer here) I love them together. I break the rules sometimes. I follow the rules other times. I pay attention to others’ rules and make it my own if it feels right. Each bite, each sip is my own journey.

The most perfect pairings don’t come my way every day. But when they do, whether the pairing was thoughtfully done or I merely stumbled upon it on my own, the tiny bit of magic happening in my mouth makes me happy. This is what my journey is about, keeping my eyes wide open and whetting my palate.


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