Who knew that pretzels and pickles could create a lip smacking good beer and wine pairing? Midwestern natives like myself understand the attraction of fried pickles but it was the culinary creativity of my Washington friends that gifted me with this blissful pairing.
Here at Washington Wine & Beer we started a tradition of celebrating each other during our respective birth months. Since we are all about wine, beer and pairing with food, the tradition revolves around a shared meal we create. The planning begins with the honoree making a culinary and/or enological wish. The wish becomes the parameters the others work within – secretly – to create a memorable dinner. The honoree is kept in the dark until the dinner. My birth month is January. Batter up.
My wish was very broad.
“Let’s pair some Cabernet Franc. I don’t have any particular food wish. Just note that I have not yet learned to appreciate bananas, lima beans, liver or sweetbreads.”
I could tell by the look on their faces that they really wished my wish was more specific. Alas, never underestimate the collective creativity, ingenuity and palates here at Wine & Beer Washington! The evening of the dinner arrived and they had me at the appetizer.
Pretzel-crusted Pickle Chips.
If you have ever experienced the average fried pickle, this is not that pickle. If you have never experienced fried pickles, this is the one to try. My friends decided on this appetizer because I had waxed sentimental about this morsel as part of my midwestern heritage. Since everyone else has a northwestern heritage, fried pickles were beyond their comprehension. Enter the creativity – Nancy tracked down this recipe, adapted it where necessary for our crowd, chose incredible dill pickles and served it up. This is the champagne of fried pickles.
Speaking of beverages with bubbles – the morsels were served up with a sparkling Gruner Veltliner from Austria (Szigeti Gruner Veltliner Brut NV) and Pike Dry Wit, a local seasonal white ale from Pike Brewing Co. Both beverages paired beautifully with the crunchy pickle slice. Both have a bit of citrus fruit on the nose that sets up the palate, bubble to handle the salt and fat with the slightest touch of bitter at the end that all works together to refresh the palate.
Because you can pair Pretzel-crusted Pickle Chips with both a beer and a wine it might be the perfect dish for a mixed crowd – beer lovers and wine lovers.
If you want to make all the beverages from Washington there is a new producer of sparkling wines in Washington – Treveri Cellars. While Treveri Cellars does not make a sparkling Gruner Veltliner, it does produce a sparkling Pinot Gris, a sparkling Riesling, and a sparkling Guertzraminer. I predict that all would pair nicely with the pretzel-crusted pickles and make a nice bubble partner for the Pike Dry Wit.
I wonder if fried pickles are on the pub menu at Pike Brewing?