The art of pairing food and beverages is as difficult as you want it to be. From wine and cheese pairings to cocktails and party snacks, people have been pairing their drinks with their food for as long as we’ve had choices about which alcoholic beverages to consume!
Some people approach it like an art with experimentation and boldness, colouring outside the lines. Others scientifically evaluate the exact reaction between alcohol flavourings and taste buds. Most of us just grab a bottle of whatever seems like it might go well with the meal we happen to be cooking.
Here are some tips to help you start tasting mead and food combinations. You’ll probably want to reference our guide to mead varieties as you decide which meads to serve with your planned dinner.
Try spicy and fruity flavours together
Whether you’re pairing a light, fruity sauce with a spicy capsicumel mead made with hot peppers or spicy foods like Mexican foods with fruity, sweet melomel meads, spice and fruit naturally pair well for a refreshing and invigorating combination.
Dry meads taste good with cheeses
Think wine and cheese – dry wines are often served with cheese, so why not try dry meads in the same way? There are all kinds of mead flavours that seem dry, from blueberry show meads to hopped cysers. Much of your decision on which cheeses to select will be based on what particular dry mead you want to try.
Try fruit meads with matching desserts
The natural sweetness of a fruit-based dessert complements fruity meads based on the same flavours. For instance, try a sweet strawberry-rhubarb mead with a tart rhubarb cobbler, or a dry strawberry-rhubarb mead with sweet strawberry shortcake.
Apple cysers work with meats, especially as marinades
If you’re interested in a whole new level of food pairings, try using a cyser mead in a marinade for your favourite meat dishes, especially chicken or pork. Then, drink the rest of the bottle with your meal! Cysers are meads with apples or apple juice and honey, and both flavours naturally complement many meat-based dishes.
Floral and citrus blend with salads
Need a mead to pair with salads? Light, refreshing meads that fall between semi-sweet and sweet are great choices for pairings. Strawberry, rhubarb, citrus, and floral flavours all go well with salads. Lighter cranberry and raspberry flavours have similar effects. It may also be worth trying any mead with the same fruit that you’re including in salad, if you’re dressing it with a honey varietal like blueberry blossom honey or including fruits like sliced berries.
Sparkling mead makes a perfect finger food pairing
Holding a party? Sparkling mead has the perfect pop to go well with any kind of snack, from chips and dip to cheese cubes and salty crackers. It’s harder to find sparkling mead in bottles, but if you get a Pollen Angels growler refill on the day of your party, it will be fresh and ready to go!
Pairing mead with food is fun because it’s hard to go wrong. Even if you end up with a mediocre pairing, you can just finish your glass of mead after your meal and enjoy the fullness of the flavours of the food and the mead on their own.
Only one universal rule applies – if you find a pairing you love, write down the exact type of mead and the recipe or restaurant dish name, as it’s hard to remember these details when you experiment with a lot of meads. By writing down what you’ve tried in a tasting notebook, you’ll be able to enjoy your favourite flavours again and again!