Which foods to pair with Chianti

Everyone has heard of Chianti, one of the most famous and well-loved Italian wines. But do you know what foods to pair with this Tuscan blend? 

Chianti wine is a red blend from Tuscany and is essential to Italian cuisine, often being used to accompany pasta or a meat and cheese board. Chianti with food equals a match made in heaven! Since its production Chianti has become a favourite all over the world for its red fruits, dried herbs and other tasting notes. Made primarily with Sangiovese grapes, Chianti smells and tastes like Italy. It bears a smoky, spicy profile and a ruby red colour that sits nicely against the green scenery of Tuscany. To best appreciate this classic beverage, Chianti needs to be served with foods that complement its high acidity and abrasive qualities.

From strong tasting poultry dishes to red pasta sauces and richly spiced beef, Chianti makes a savoury combination with a number of gastronomies. Here are some other great options to pair with your next glass of Chianti:

Chianti for your next dining in Tuscany

  • Pasta

    There’s nothing that compares to the exquisite combination of Chianti and a bowl of pasta. While red sauce pasta like the meaty ragu or a spaghetti bolognese are the best options to pair with Chianti, it’s equally appetizing to try out warm pasta tossed with a sprinkling of cheese, fresh cracked pepper and not to forget generous pouring of olive oil – after all, Tuscany is best known as the land of Chianti and olive oil. Remember Disney’s Lady and the Tramp and their romantic dinner date? The chef, when setting down their meatball pasta dish, also set down a classic chianti bottle! In America, this pairing of pasta and Chianti is a staple, so good they pinched it from the Italians, which is why we see it in the Disney classic.

  • Pizza Margherita

    Another great dish to partner with the Tuscan wine, Pizza Margherita makes for a perfectly easy and light meal! While Chianti is moderate enough not to rout Margherita’s simple essence of cheese, tomatoes and basil, its acidic nature takes tomato flavour to the pinnacle of delight. Pro Tip: To add more depth to the flavour, you can try the Pizza Margherita recipe on a very hot charcoal or gas grill. This is the second tomato-based dish we’ve suggested to have with chianti, and that’s because the red wine will never clash with the tomato sauce. Both being high in acidity, the two balance each other out, harmonising this wine and food combination.

  • Go for a cheese and meat platter

    Chianti’s unique blend of fruits, herbs, and spices need something equally composite – and a simple cheese and meat board makes an ideal combination for the Tuscan wine. While cured meats like San Daniele or Prosciutto di Parma balance out Chianti’s sweetness and saltiness, you can feast on a range of bold cheeses to neutralize the slightly acidic nature of Chianti. A popular starter dish, this is a great way to prepare your stomach and mouth for the main dish of the night. Chianti is acidic enough and has enough body to stand up to the strong cheesy, garlic and meat flavours. Also popular as a shared evening platter to be enjoyed in front of a roaring fire place.

  • Ribollita

    One dish that shares rich history and flavour with Chianti is Ribollita, a Tuscan hearty potage that combines leftover bread with healthy vegetables and cannellini beans from the traditional minestrone soup. This winter soup is a filling, warm, hearty dish almost as popular across Tuscany as Chianti is. This and its mix of ingredients make the two an unusual match. Although predominately made with beans and vegetables, the dish also contains hints of olive oil, tomato paste and some kind of meat flavouring – perhaps the bone of pork rind or prosciutto. As we know from the food pairings above, these elements go traditionally well with Chianti.

    P.S. With one bite of Ribollita and a sip of Chianti, you will realize why the pair makes one of the most-relished combinations in Tuscany!

The history of Chianti wine is wide and interesting, parts of which we’re sure you’ll learn on your next wine tour. But to get ahead, we thought we’d share some fun facts with you now! First of all, no other grape variety is made into more wine in Italy that the Sangiovese. Chianti bottles have also long been used as candle holders. Once empty, owners would pour wax into the bottle to make one long candle. Next, the area known as the Chianti region (between Florence and Siena) was declared as such by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, making it the first legally protected wine region 301 years ago. Finally, although other grapes beside the Sangiovese kind are permitted in chianti blends, all chianti winemakers rely heavily on Sangiovese, like the way a sandwich maker relies on bread – it’s that essential.

Related article: What Tuscany is famous for?

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