Holidays are about rituals: festive routines repeated year after year—so often we have long forgotten their origins. As a wine writer, one of my annual practices has been trying out novel takes on holiday food and wine pairing, itself a series of rituals with unfamiliar origins that can, with a little delving, begin to seem increasingly arbitrary.
A masterclass led by my fellow Master of Wine Tim Hanni, a man with a mile-wide contrarian streak, underlined this point. For one thing, what we consider “traditional pairing” is actually a fairly modern concept, even in France. For instance, the Larousse Gastronomique contained no food and wine pairing guidance until 1961 (hardly the hallowed days of old).
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