It used to be that cooking well was seen as something only a Cordon Bleu graduate could accomplish. For years, except for a few die hard followers of Julia Child, this domestic endeavor was mostly performed without any care for flavours and creative input, and many found cooking an unexciting chore, save for weekend barbecues and the required roast turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas. This was the typical scene in North America until the nineties.
These days it's exciting to see so much interest among young people about cooking, thanks to the Food Network and other TV shows on Travel and Food. Cooking has become a COOL thing to do and, suddenly, the continent is full of foodies who, not only love food, but are also eager to try new and exotic ingredients. Just look at the number of cookware shops that have set up around the country, and the cooking schools that proliferated due to the growing demand from people who are taking the plunge; not to mention the many food and wine magazines that are now a common sight on the racks.
As a wine merchant, being part of this fascinating evolution is important in successful wine sales. Here's why: knowing about food preparation, spices and flavours provides me with valuable information that allows me to propose the right wines to my customers. Think about it. If you have no clue how the food is prepared or tastes, how can you possibly suggest the right wine?
Over the years, my passion for cooking dishes from various cultures has actually helped me provide correct wine matching advice, even in restaurants that were not always wine-friendly. Sadly, there are some in the wine industry who just couldn't care less about this and they continue to perpetrate the old, one-dimensional rule: white with fish, red with meat. It does not take a lot of work to learn a few basic cooking tips, but it is essential to achieving success in wine sales, as more and more consumers are actually becoming food and wine savvy.
Just imagine the possibilities for wine matching once you become familiar with spice aromas and flavours. Food that you would not have served with wine could now work with rosé, white, red or sparkling. It's all in the flavours in the final dish - the opportunity to expand your skills in making the right wine suggestions.