By Missa Capozzo
Back in 1993 at the age of 18, my family and I moved from Massachusetts to Louisiana. You can imagine the culture shock this yankee was in for, having been born and raised in New England. Being a foodie for all of my life, spending time in Louisiana was nothing short of one delicious adventure after another. I soon learned what the incredible appeal was about visiting cities like New Orleans and Baton Rouge, between the culture, the history, the music, and of course the food. Although New Orleans is known more for its mixed drinks such as daiquiris and hurricanes, I find wine to be the ultimate complement to the local cuisine.
Whenever I make a trip to Louisiana to visit family, the very first thing on my list is stopping for a shrimp po’boy. The shrimp are fried to juicy perfection and dressed with just the right amount of toppings. Whether fried fish, fried oysters, or fried shrimp, the meal simply isn’t complete without being paired with a dry, crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio/Gris, Grüner Veltliner, or perhaps a nice dry rosé.
Another seafood favorite of mine is boiled crawfish. Picture a giant pot of seasoned crawfish, corn on the cob, and potatoes dumped on a giant table covered in brown paper. An experience everyone should enjoy at least once! A crawfish boil begs for several bottles of Chardonnay on the table, from unoaked versions to oaked versions. It is simply a pairing made in heaven.
No trip to Louisiana is complete without enjoying some authentic gumbo and homemade jambalaya. I’ve found the little hole-in-the-wall food stands and take out restaurants have the best jambalaya and gumbo in the state. Not only is an individual portion of jambalaya here enough to eat for about 3 days, but the giant seasoned chunks of chicken and sausage can’t be beat. I absolutely love pairing these spicier dishes with an off dry white, such as Vouvray or German Riesling, or even a light to medium bodied red with softer tannins, such as a Pinot Noir or Gamay.
We cannot forget about the endless amount of delicious desserts Louisiana offers, from the traditional Mardi Gras dessert King Cake, to creamy Louisiana pralines. Any trip to New Orleans requires visiting Café du Monde in the French Quarter to enjoy their famous beignets. The light, fluffy, French donuts are fried to perfection and smothered in powdered sugar. Any of these delectable, sweet desserts will pair perfectly with an off dry white, a semi sweet white, or even a sweet dessert or ice wine.
At one time I saved my Louisiana cuisine for when I would visit, but those days are long gone. Although I once again live in New England, I regularly cook Louisiana style cuisine so I can enjoy that unique taste of the Deep South paired with the perfect wine in the comfort of my Massachusetts home, especially on Mardi Gras.
About the Author: Missa Capozzo, WSET3, FWS, BWSEd, holds various positions in the wine industry, each of which brings her incredible ful llment. She teaches students of all levels of expe- rience and interest in classes and leads wine dinners at Boston Wine School, located at VINOvations in Sharon, MA. Missa also works to spread the love for local Massachusetts wines at Hardwick Vineyard & Winery in Hardwick, MA, and is the Director of Sommology at Traveling Vineyard’s corporate o ce in Ipswich, MA, where she leads the wine and food education program for over 5,000 Wine Guides nationwide. http://winedowntastings.com http://www.facebook.com/winedowntastings bostonwineschool.org ∞
Reprinted from the March 2019 edition of the South Shore Senior News.