I have a taste for some of the finer things in life. Especially when it comes to food. Though I don’t care what my car represents as a status symbol, I do care what my plate looks like! You won’t catch me throwing together rice and beans and calling it a night. And even when I just serve salad I top it with something interesting and arrange the colors “just so”.
What in the world does this have to do with wine?
Well, for me it’s all about being present.
There was a time when I didn’t drink at all. I felt sure this was the way to be fully awake, fully present, fully yogi. But in the end, I’m not sure that hard and fast “rule” was actually working the way I’d intended.
To me, wine isn’t a way to escape or a path to a ‘buzz’. Even as a younger person I could never ‘binge drink,’ and now with the intensity of my yoga and the care I take with my diet, I am even more of a ‘lightweight.” But when I do it right, when I pick my night, my meal, my company wisely, It’s a sensual experience. It’s a way to slow down and savor tastes, textures, the moment, and, especially, the meal.
Growing up with a Dad in the wine business helped me really appreciate the pairing of food and wine as fine art. It’s not that wine was an every day affair. But when a meal was prepared with enough care, or “more than one pot” as my Dad likes to say, it was worthy of wine.
Now, when I find myself lovingly making zucchini noodles with capers, lemon and grass fed butter, grilling salmon to place carefully over the top, and roasting asparagus to be placed perfectly alongside, I’ll take the time to light a candle, pop a cork and tune in, instead of tuning out. I’ll choose a bright yet balanced Italian Lugana with just enough acidity to complement the fish and the lemon and just enough minerals to give it body and mouthfeel. Then, I really slow down and savor it, matching sip for bite. Probably only one glass, swirled, sniffed and savored with great attention.
And this, finally, is why the wine-ing. Because I don’t take alcohol, or sugar, or any addictive substance lightly. But I don’t accept that awareness, presence, and balance are synonymous with restriction. And balance doesn’t look the same for everyone.
For me, this sometimes indulgence allows me to be truly present and to ‘make much of’ the meal’ rather than just eating too much. It has helped me find peace with food, and even turn mealtime back into a truly nurturing ritual.
Not every day mind you, but when you can take the time, when you know it will really be worth it, maybe when you’ve used every pot in the kitchen, try a perfect food and wine pairing and see if it can become a meditation. Who knows. It might be delectable.
To Try: the combo mentioned above. Lemon, capers and leeks are wonderful with sautéed zucchini noodles, and a light white fish or a denser salmon round it out perfectly. Try it alongside a bright and crisp lugana or pinot gris, and throw a splash or two in the sauce. The extra alcohol will burn off leaving behind an extra savory touch .
Sorry to be a tease, but the exact recipe is coming soon in a sweet little e-book. You’ll have to keep your eyes peeled (and sign up for both blog and newsletter updates to your right)! Are you hungry yet?
Zucchini noodle photo by Noelle Smith