Super Bowl is fast approaching and if you’re like me, you’ll be glued to the TV watching the game and rating the quality of the commercials with your buddies. You may be interested in the half time show but to be honest, to an old fart like me, Justin Timberlake doesn’t hold a lot of appeal. He’s quite talented obviously, but I think he peaked when on Saturday Night Live, he put “something” in a box. Out of discretion for our readers, I‘ll leave it at that but you can google it to see the real version if you are interested.
Being a native Californian, two teams roughly 2,900 and 3,100 miles away makes for a game without any local appeal but seeing the Patriots in one more Super Bowl gives me something to root against. In honor of my old friend Mike, who passed away a few years ago, I’ll be rooting for the Eagles. I suppose it’s too much to hope for an earthquake that swallows Bill Belichick and his eternally smug attitude. I’m an avid football fan but seeing as there isn’t a Northern California team in it, I’ll watch with slightly less interest which means my attention will wander to food and drinks. I know this is a wine blog but most people associate Super Bowl with beer and truth be told, I’ll be drinking beer as well but I know a few who will indulge in a glass or two of wine so in honor of those few die hard wine fans, this post is for you.
With Philadelphia and New England (basically Boston) in the big game, it seems like a good idea to pick a few favorites from each city and come up with a food and wine paring. We’ll also throw in a few hints for many of the occasion’s favorites like sausages, chili etc..
Boston is a sea port, one of the oldest in the country, and much of its regional cuisine involves seafood. The most common dishes are, Clam Chowder, Lobster in a myriad of forms (broiled, poached, thermidor, lobster rolls…the list goes on), fried clams, steak tips and Boston baked beans.
This one screams for Chardonnay or Viognier. The soft, creamy texture is perfect for these two wines. Whatever you do, stay away from any wine with a lot of acid in it. You’ll get an unpleasant reaction with the acid and the cream in the soup.
If you go with the regional theme for the game and decide that you are going to splurge for Lobster, your best wine will be Chardonnay. It goes well with the subtle taste of Lobster and also with the omnipresent butter that accompanies it. If you’re serving Lobster, it also means you have far more disposable income than we do.
Look for a dry Riesling to compliment the clam flavor but also to help cut through any oil left over from the fryer.
These tasty morsels are a New England mainstay. They are made from the same cut of meat from which many of the Mexican markets make their Arrechera, called “flap meat”. The sauce is slightly sweet and the meat has some fat so go with a slightly sweeter Zinfandel for a great accompaniment. Because Steak Tips are pretty much unknown in California, I’ve included a link to a recipe.
Boston Baked Beans
These little guys were probably the inspiration for most traditional baked bean recipes in the US. There is often molasses and/or brown sugar cooked in so you don’t want to go with a dry wine that will taste quite sour after eating a couple of sweeter bites. A Gewürztraminer or a sweeter Riesling would be best with them
On to Philadelphia…hmm…how do you talk about the culinary contributions of Philadelphia while keeping a straight face? Honestly, you can’t…I’m trying right now and I’m seriously about to lose it. The two most well-known local dishes in the greater Philadelphia area are the Philly Cheese Steak and Scrapple. For those of you who don’t know what Scrapple is, it would be best to keep it that way but I am trying to write a food and wine paring post so knowing what’s in a food is kind of important. We’ve all heard about what goes into Hot Dogs but we still eat them. Picture, everything that is left after the hot dog people didn’t want it, so they put it into scrapple. Actually, that isn’t quite accurate because Scrapple is made from pork but you get the idea. The local saying is that it’s made from “everything but the oink”. As for a cheese steak, it’s pretty much beef and cheese…not actually too bad in my mind but many of them use Cheese Wiz, which hardly constitutes cheese. It seems like they actually shouldn’t be able to call it cheese steak if it uses Cheese Wiz. I suppose “Wiz Steak” is worse though. If you’re going to actually serve Scrapple for your food inspiration, make sure you have the 9 and the 1 pre-dialed in your phone. If you’re bold enough to try Scrapple and are actually able to get your hands on some, hold tightly or it might slip out of your hand and slide across the floor. My advice…stay with the Sausages in the last section.
Philadelphia Cheese Steaks
However, despite my somewhat snarky attitude about cheese steaks, as long as you use good tender meat which they usually do in Philly (I like to season mine more than they do) and use a different cheese (Pepper Jack is my favorite), it’s actually a really good sandwich. I also like to blend in a little thinly sliced onion and peppers to cook with the meat for a little extra flavor. The meat calls for a bigger red wines go with a Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah or Petite Sirah.
If you’re having traditional Super Bowl favorites, here are a few suggestions.
The wine to pair with Sausages depends upon the type of sausage. Most sausages are pretty fatty so avoid the softer wines like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. If it is a chicken or turkey sausage and unsmoked, go with an Albarino, Pinot Grigio or a Riesling. The acid will help cut some of the fat. If it is an Italian, you could go with the same wine. If you have a smoked pork or beef sausage, this is your chance to break out the bigger reds like Cabernet Sauvignon or similarly big tannic wine.
Chili goes great with a variety of red wines. If you used lean meat, you can pair with Merlot or Zinfandel. If you used a fattier meat, go with the big red wines again like Cabernet Sauvignon.
Beef or Ribs or other Grilled or BBQ’ed Meat
There are so many types of rubs and sauces that can go on meats, a simple pairing suggestion is almost impossible. We’d suggest using our food and wine paring wizard to find the best compliment.
Enjoy the Super Bowl and go Eagles (that’s for you Mike…we still miss you)!
If you are interested, here are links to a couple of previous wine posts that we’ve done in years past.
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