Finding a suitable wine pairing for the artichoke-based dishes created by chef Josean Alija at Nerua, the Michelin-starred restaurant at the Guggenheim Museum in Spain, challenged sommelier Ismael Alvarez—until he found a sake pairing that made sense. The newest dish at Nerua posed a particular problem, as it involved three notoriously difficult-to-pair ingredients: artichoke, olives and anchovy.
At a range of high-end restaurants around the world, sake is also being favored for serving with other hard-to-pair foods. Unlike other kinds of alcohol, sake is said to be missing some of the elements that unfavorably alter the taste of foods like aged beef, pickles or mustard. Due to its unique characteristics, sake actually has the potential to enhance a range of pungent foods like fish sauce, fermented tofu and strong cheeses.
Image Credit: LUIZ LOPEZ DE ZUBIRIA