It was a must-buy, hanging there on the rack at the thrift shop. Unlike forays into gas station wine, the thrift store is a regular haunt. My partner and I live and die for vintage tea towels, they’re a cornerstone of our relationship. Collecting and putting into service these relics of a bygone era, each with their own unique story to tell and beautiful scenes to display. This one is special. It brings us a beautifully illustrated selection of wine, cheese and food pairings. These are great wine and food pairings, according to this tea towel. Let’s see how well they stack up.
Wine and Food Pairings, Thanks to a Tea Towel.
This retro dishcloth is a real blast from the past, with its eclectic illustrations and interesting pairings it’s really a feast for the eyes. Join me as we dive into, attempting, to decipher some of the unique suggestions this thing has in store for us. Looking for wine and food pairings? This is, hopefully, a winner!
Retro Wine and Food Pairings
With some intense Googling and a lot of determination, we can break down what some of these pairings might be trying to convey. Broken up into visual groups, these illustrations offer little clues outside of their drawings and some rather niche, or at least non mainstream wine varieties to try and guide us hapless wannabe entertainers on our way. Let’s dive in.
This group offers us a lobster, probably a clam, a snail?!? And a eel. First off, that assortment isn’t just anyone’s idea of seafood. If you make under six figures and don’t routinely wear a top hat you probably don’t regularly indulge in these delicacies when you think, ‘seafood’. In all honesty, you’re probably thinking of a Red Lobster biscuit and some beer battered shrimp. Are we judging? Nope. That sounds amazing. Anyways… These seafood aficionados are the experts right? Also featured are, a pike? Maybe… a salmon and some tilapia? We’re not even going to guess what that pancake looking one is. Look, this isn’t Food & Wine, ok. These fish are on another level.
Sec, Demi-Sec, Brut and Sec ou Moelleux are the bottles were shown next to our shifty-eyed fishy friends. Let’s break it down. Sec basically means dry, and that makes perfectly good sense. Fish have a very light taste that doesn’t always compliment sweetness. An understated and nice dry white would really do the trick with some salmon, for instance. Demi-Sec refers to a semi-sweet, Brut is a nice dry sparkling wine and our last pairing suggests either a dry or sweet variety.
There’s one thing we can agree on here, white wines and seafood are friends. If you’re not much of a seafood person for non allergenic reasons, consider giving them a whirl! Shrimp, lobster and milder fish are a great place to start.
Your Best Guess
This one’s going to be a doozy. Now, I’m not sure what half of these are but let’s do our best here. We’ve got what appears to be a lamb shank, some olive loaf looking head cheese? A pot of something, a chicken, lamb, sausage links, oh god… There’s a perfectly live rabbit in a pot. If you’re looking to break into gamey meats this might not be the way to convince people, depicting a hare in a cooking vessel like that might not be the best call. Anyways, we’ve also got what is probably a turkey, a young calf, a small pig and I want to say that’s prosciutto!
A Leger, and Rose make their debut in this category. Let’s suppose this is mostly red, gamey, sometimes cured meats category. The best I could find for Leger was ‘light wine’. That’s the extent of my Googling and about as much effort as I’m willing to exert to crack this one open. Let’s suppose its a mild red, and they’re suggesting a mild flavored wine to let the meat speak for itself? So far so good. Rose is very much the same, it’s a familiar and easygoing wine for anyone to enjoy. I can see some succulent prosciutto going down nicely with a glass of rose, so we’re giving this suggestion a pass! Rose and red meat? Go for it.
With Hair & Feather
It’s a wonky translation of mine but stick with me ok. We’ve got a farm full of friendly animals and a huge pit roasting skewer, so let’s do the math. From the top, cow, venison, boar, lamb, hare, duck, pheasant, and chicken. This makes sense so far, two bottles of grand crus with the phrase, Poil Avec Plume. My intense research reveals this means with hair and feather. Now, we can surmise that they’re telling us Grand Crus is best served alongside these selections of roasted goodness. Grand Cru’, so far as I can tell, means really good. We’d like to think that you’re enjoying a really good class of wine right now reading this. But we’re no tea towel.
The good stuff, although, what are these dishes? Some really vintage tastes are coming through here. We’ve got a waffle with a crown? Clearly a king waffle. Ok, I can’t name a single one of these. But according to this dishcloth, they’re best served up with the Demi-sec (remember!) and, Liquor? Well, i’d like to think so. But whatever you choose for dessert, make sure you break out the candles because this is one fancy get together.
Stinky and colorful, these slices are great with Corse, and Puissant? I couldn’t find much on Corse but it is a full-bodied wine. Puissant is described as bold and strong. When we’re talking cheese, especially the kind that aren’t immediately identifiable, strong is probably an apt pairing. Bleu cheese might be a nice bet here, and that’s got to be swiss right? I’m not cheesemonger that’s for sure, but that’s never stopped anyone from putting out a great spread. If you’re looking to pair cheese with wine, it’s best to match flavor profiles, light with light and strong with strong. More full bodied tastes might command a heavier tasting slice of cheese. A mild cheddar might compliment a more reserved wine, perhaps a white.
Easy, we shouldn’t have any problems with this category. Grapes, strawberries, pears, bananas, cherries, oranges, and apples! We’re told cognac and armagnac are some of the best pairings here, and while I’m not a huge cognac fan, who am I to question a dish rag? However, one of my golden tenants rings true, pair to compare! Sweet with sweet, i’m sure this is quite the combo.
That’s about it for what our informative piece of linen has to offer. Pursuing its various recommendations has done one thing for sure, and that’s make me hungry for more pairings. Stay tuned for more pairing reviews, you can rest assured a more serious tone when we’re not talking old rags.