Melodious meal? Each dish in six course dinner paired with wine and music.

Melodious meal.

Indeed, the idea of pairing food and wine with classical music is a grand one, full of creative possibilities. But, as was discovered in this experiment in Ottowa, CA, not easy to pull off.

Here is an excerpt:

Yet if wine and food pairing is considered a marriage, as many people insist it is, then Phillips says adding music as a third dimension makes it a tricky business, not unlike a menage à trois.

"Unless you make all the dishes and then try them with many wines, it's a bit of a leap in the dark," he says. "Add music to the mix and suddenly you've got three moving targets -- are they all going to work and get along well together?"

Sometimes, sometimes not.

Probably the most successful triple-pairing arrived with the first course -- a trio of lively small strawberry appetizers of varied temperatures, tastes and textures, including one with buffalo mozzarella, another berry granita "soup" that was cold, crisp and refreshing, and a final warm and rich beignet with balsamic honey glaze that left diners wanting just a little more.

The appetizers paired wonderfully with a sparkling Niagara Peller Estates Ice Cuvée Rosé and three lively movements -- waltz, mazurka and polka -- from Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's famous Children's Album.

The sweetness of the bubbly, with its dosage of ice wine, balanced the acidity and tartness of the granita. "And there's an effervescence to the music that pairs well with the wine," Gauthier decided.

"It all sort of dances on the tongue."


From then on, however, we found a few misses -- some minor, others more distressingly palpable.

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2 comments for “Melodious meal? Each dish in six course dinner paired with wine and music.

  1. July 16, 2010 at

    It's hard for me to imagine dining without a musical accompaniment of some sort. Yesterday we had a sumptuous breakfast at a Hilton Garden Inn with the likes of Dinah Washington piped in at just the right loudness. It gave the already excellent food an extra bit of piquancy. We always have music during our evening meal, though it can be challenging to find the right sonic landscape for even a simple meal. If I were challenged on the author's level I'd probably be tempted to stick with the music of Tchaikovsky as a unifying factor. He covered every imaginable mood and taste somewhere in his output! Bon appetit!

    • July 16, 2010 at

      I could see taking it to another level. The slow movement of the Mozart Concerto could be represented by 3 small portions of different foods, served together, but eaten in order. It begins with a simple arching melody, souflee-like. A small cheese souflee could be served. Then the middle section builds to an intense climax through rhapsodic development, perhaps implying a small piece of rich, mincemeat pie. Then the end of the movement returns to the first theme, but even softer, sweeter. For this part I could see another souflee, but a sweet one, or a lemon chiffon pie, silky, but with a bit of tangyness to match the wistful end of the piece.

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