Wine and food pairing in Bordeaux

Bordeaux is now part of one of the best gastronomic destinations in France. Here, the chefs use great local produce and nothing else, and know how to marry them with the perfect wine. There is a plethora of specialties, seasonal and regional dishes for all tastes and budgets. The local gastronomy is more present than it seems and one can extend for hours on the association of wines and dishes or the art of putting both of them in value. The locals are working to perfection. Here are some tips to get started with what's on offer and what to associate with it.

The Bordeaux specialties

In addition to the different wines, Bordeaux offers its inhabitants a wide range of dishes and products that have become Bordeaux's specialty today. If you like seafood, oysters from the Arcachon basin and the Aquitaine coast will revive your taste buds. The South West is also known for its famous duck confit and foie gras, which we love to enjoy during the end of year celebrations. If you want to finish off your meal with a sweet touch, we recommend fluted scented rum and vanilla, accompanied by a sparkling wine.

Oysters: no trip to the region is complete without a trip to the seaside.

Try your freshly shucked oysters with a squeeze of lemon and  a chilled glass of Entre-deux-Mers. Perfection!

For those in town on a Sunday morning, join the locals rounding off the morning  market on the quayside at Chartrons with a plate of oysters and a beaded glass of local white wine. Get there early as the seating fills up fast. 


Fishing huts

The quays are also home to the fishing huts known locally as ‘carrelets’ after their large square nets, from whence comes another local delicacy - Alose or dog fish. Available only in springtime, this bony fish is best savoured grilled (especially on vine cuttings). It marries well with a spicy white wine from the region or with a clairet - the Bordeaux take on rosé which is less sweet than a traditional rosé and goes well with grilled fish. For the more adventurous, the Garonne is also home to another fishy delicacy — the lamprey eel. Also a springtime speciality, the eel is cooked in a hearty red wine sauce and served with a full bodied, dry claret, such as a Saint-Emilion or a Médoc wine. Ideally, as with all dishes cooked ‘à la Bordelaise’ in a red wine sauce, you should drink the same wine as the dish was cooked with — just ask!

The region produces an excellent caviar - Caviar d’Aquitaine, which goes wonderfully with a white from Pessac-Léognan or even a glass of quality Crémant, Bordeaux’s answer to champagne. Santé!

Carrelet Garonne  

Foie gras, duck confit and entrecôte steak

Sauternes may be the perfect partner to foie gras (very Bordelais!) but did you know it also makes a good accompaniment to poultry — especially duck, blue cheeses and even lobster?

The region is known for its excellent local beef; try the vigneron’s favourite — an entrecôte steak, cooked over vine cuttings — of course — with a glass of claret or two. Simple and divine, the dish goes as well with full bodied clarets from a family vineyard as it does with a grand cru classé. The choice is yours!

Then there’s duck which is traditionally served in a variety of forms. The South West is famed for its duck confit, slow cooked duck which melts in the mouth and available tinned. A kitchen store cupboard standby in every Bordeaux household, try your confit back home, with a bottle of claret from your suitcase, such as an Haut-Médoc - close your eyes and you’re back in Bordeaux.

foie gras  
confit canard  
Verre clairet  

On a sweeter note...

...don’t miss a trip to the cloisters at Saint-Emilion for a glass of sparkling Crémant and a plate of macaroons - the perfect pairing of locally made, traditional produce. First made by Ursuline nuns in the 17C, the macaroons recipe remains a closely guarded secret to this day.

Finally, don’t forget to try a canelé and do take some home with you. Traditional wisdom has it that they should be served with a sweet white wine or a sparkling wine, but as you will discover, they’re so good, they go with almost anything!

macaron formes  
macarons biscuits