Tokaji Aszú food pairing Patricius, Béres, dereszla, Sauska

Sweet December in the United Kingdom

Tokaji Aszú in 10 top restaurants & Decanter supplement

The latest issue of Decanter magazine has just come out with a 16-page Tokaj supplement. The magazine is an excellent guide to not only Tokaj, but to a selected bunch of restaurants throughout the United Kingdom, where connoisseurs can enjoy a dish created to match a chosen brand of Tokaji Aszú. Let us introduce 4 of the 10 food pairings briefly – but all of them are ideal to celebrate Tokaji Aszú Day on 10 December and after.

Secrets of a tough pairing

The 16-page Tokaj supplement begins with a travel-friendly Tokaj guide written by Jonathan Wiggin writer, photographer and artist. Probably sometimes it is good to have a non-wine writer in a wine publication – Wiggin targets the human in wine nerds, recommends lovely places and experiences from Holdvölgy treasure hunting cellar experience to a stay in the magnificent Rákóczi-Aspremont mansion at Barta Winery.
Caroline Gilby MW gives a handy guide to the different styles and vintages of sweet Tokaj wines – an essential reading to start the whole sweet journey. Then comes the introduction to the whole food pairing procedure by Isa Bal MS, who also participated in the selection of restaurants along with Zsuzsa Toronyi (Wines of Hungary UK / Wine Communications), the brain behind the whole sweet Tokaj campaign. Isa Bal explains the ground rules of matching Tokaji Aszú and food, to read all an issue of Decanter should be bought, but here is an excerpt: “Firstly, foods high in fat, salt, sugar and acidity, as well as ingredients such as saffron, all complement the sweetness and mineral structure of these wines. Also, consider matching the weight and body of the wine to that of the dish. Include elements that are in contrast to, or resemble the properties of the wine, such as salt to pair with sweetness, paprika and saffron-like spices for similar flavours. Charring or caramelisation goes well with the sweetness and minerality of the wine. Punchy, strong flavours are always good, as long as they are matched with similarly punchy, fuller styles of wine.” The interviews with the sommeliers / chefs, from which we quote below, were made by Natasha Hughes MW.
The supplement also lists all the US stockists of Tokaji Aszú wines with prices.

Decanter Tokaj 2023 cover

4 great pairings with Tokaji Aszú

To see all the 10 heavenly matches, check out the latest issue of Decanter magazine

Patricius Aszú with grilled sweetbreads

By Sofia Crepaz head sommelier, Trivet, London SE1 (Michelin 1*)
DISH Grilled sweetbreads with smoked maitake mushrooms, pickled lingonberries and wild cumin
WINE Patricius, Aszú 6 Puttonyos 2017
(£49.95-£56.50/50cl Eton Vintners, Great Wines Direct, NY Wines, The Great Wine Co)
‘The sweetbreads are really quite opulent and fatty,’ Crepaz says, ‘and there’s a very concentrated reduced sauce that adds saltiness. That saltiness is beautifully balanced by the sweetness and minerality of the wine, while the Aszú’s high level of acidity helps to clear the palate from the richness of the sweetbreads, leaving it refreshed and wanting another bite of food.’
More about Trivet
More about Patricius

Patricius Tokaji Aszú food pairing Trivet London

Béres Aszú & The five gourds

By Urcino Garcia Hernandez head sommelier, Chef’s Table and Twenty Eight, Chester
DISH The five gourds (a dish that combines five different kinds of squash and pumpkin)
WINE Béres, Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2011 (£34.99/50cl Baythorne Wines)
‘Squash has a natural sweetness’, explains Hernandez, ‘and it complements the sweetness in the wine. The wine’s residual sugar also works well with the heat of the togarashi spice and that hint of Asian flavours, while the candied pecans, which we scatter in with the seeds, bring out the notes of dried fig, date and sweet almonds in the wine.’
More about Twenty-Eight
More about Béres Vineyards

Béres Tokaji Aszú Food Pairing 28 restaurant Chester UK

Dereszla Aszú & Slow-cooked pork belly

By Fabrizio Di Pasquale head sommelier, Piazza Italiana, London EC2R
DISH Slow-cooked pork belly with Piedmont chestnuts, honey-caramelised onions and Italian herbs
WINE Chateau Dereszla, Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2019 (£36.64/50cl Armit Wines)
‘The slow-cooked pork belly gave this dish a luxuriously unctuous character,’ he says, ‘and the Aszú wine alongside it performed its contrasting role of palate-cleansing with an exhilarating burst of brightness.’ But acidity isn’t the only weapon in the arsenal of Chateau Dereszla, a winery which dates back to 1406. ‘Like many Aszú wines from Tokaj, this cuvée has a kind of earthy, truffled note thanks to the botrytis,’ notes Di Pasquale, ‘and this complemented the earthiness you find in the chestnuts, helping the flavours of wine and food to work harmoniously together.”
More about Piazza Italiana
More about Chateau Dereszla

Dereszla Tokaji Aszú food pairing Piazza Italiana London

Sauska Aszú & Singapore chilli lobster

By Heath Ball owner, The Red Lion & Sun, London N6
DISH Singapore chilli lobster
WINE Sauska, Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2019 (£30.49-£39.50/50cl Hedonism, The Fine Wine Co, The Great Wine Co)
‘The lobster and the sauce are quite sweet, which means that they rhyme perfectly with the sweetness of the Tokaji,’ explains Ball, ‘while the wine’s sweet lemon sherbet notes and naturally high acidity cut through the richness of the lobster meat. ‘The flavours of dried apricot and mango in the wine, along with a bit of herbaceousness, work so well with the ginger and the chilli in the sauce.’
More about The Red Lion & Sun
More about Sauska

Sauska Tokaji Aszú The Red Lion & Sun food pairing London
Tokaj Gala Dinner Trivet London 2023
Hard work at Trivet restaurant in London. Zsuzsa Toronyi (Wines of Hungary UK / Wine Communications) and Caroline Gilby MW

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