Pair it up! The Saveur 100

While I’ve always been into a whole bunch of wine and food magazines, Saveur has been one of my absolute favourites. The photo-heavy glossy features, delectable tales and images, numerous aspects of cuisine, most often set in global or cultural context, and although it’s only been around since 1994 – it certainly feels like it’s an integral part of the culinary media landscape.

The best, and I’m assuming most popular, edition each year is The Saveur 100 – their colourful countdown of “favorite restaurants, food, drink, people, places and things.” A pre-Buzzfeed-era round-up of things that’ll make your eyes pop and your mouth water, all in bite-sized formats. This year’s version, The Cooks’ Edition, kept the bar high.

Though there are a wide array of products, tools, tips and techniques jammed in there, I thought to share a couple of my favourite recipes from its pages while thinking of some great Canadian wine pairings to go along side.

The Thai Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum) from Seattle’s Little Uncle really plays up the dried shrimp angle, even encouraging you to dry your own at home. If you don’t have a food dehydrator and nine extra hours in your day (I know, right?), you can buy dried shrimp and make the dish up in no time. Between the salty fish, the lime and papaya, along with fish sauce and a couple red chilies, you have a good amount of citrus, sour, saltiness and heat to play around with. To me, it sounds tailor-made for a bright and juicy Riesling that’s just a hint off-dry (to tackle that heat). From the Okanagan, think JoieFarm’s 2013 Riesling, or Flat Rock’s 2013 edition from Ontario.

Justin Smillie's Peppercorn-Crusted Short Ribs with Lemon, Olives, and Radishes have a multi-coloured peppercorn crust, almost a ‘bark’ – as Saveur calls it, which is accented with fennel, coriander and parsley. Some wonderful, carnivorous deliciousness is happening here and you want to wash it down with a bright and juicy red with a little bit of tannin to tackle that crust, and maybe even an herbal element that’ll hit that fennel, parsley and such. Enter Moon Curser’s 2012 Cabernet Merlot out of Osoyoos, B.C. The currants and cherry fruit will slurp up the salty goodness, while the wine’s pepper, tobacco character will jive well with that peppery crust.

There’s so much in there and the possibilities are endless. From open-faced lasagna to your new favourite cutting board to boiling pasta in fresh vegetable juice(!), dive into the current Saveur 100 and see what you can find!


Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based wine consultant, writer, competition judge and enthusiast. Track him down at, or on Twitter and Instagram @KurtisKolt.

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