For our first food and wine pairing, we wanted to tackle a classic. That’s why we think you should try our shockingly simple, keto-friendly charcuterie.
We considered crafting a lush steak dinner or a savory mushroom dish. Don’t worry, we’ll definitely get to those, but we decided to first offer you something simple. However, just because something is simple doesn’t mean it isn’t luxurious. This week you’ll be dipping your toes into a classic food and wine pairing: Keto-Friendly Red Wine and Charcuterie.
There are few things more simple, yet decadent than wine, meat, and cheese. Plus, with a few modifications, this quick meal is keto-friendly and filling. So, grab a platter and some wine glasses and prepare to indulge.
Intro to Wine Pairing
There’s a reason high-end restaurants usually keep an in-house sommelier. This person is a trained wine steward who understands the subtle nuances of each wine. Plus, when it comes to pairing wine with food, they make excellent selections. It’s important to remember, however, that you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy wine or to pair it with food.
If you’ve ever eaten a meal and thought to yourself, “Mmm, this would go really well with that bottle we had last week” then try it! Everyone has different tastes, and while there are definitely a few popular pairings, you’re allowed to experiment with what you like. You’re just looking for that delicious balance between the components of your meal and the characteristics of your wine.
If, however, you’re a complete newbie and want a bit of guidance, here are a few tips to get you started.
- Generally, your wine should be slightly sweeter and more acidic than your meal.
- Try to select a wine that has the same flavor intensity as your meal.
- Most of the time red wines pair well with bold meat flavors like red meat.
- The opposite is true for white wines, so pair them with lighter meats like fish or chicken.
- If your wine is bitter, balance it out with fat (cheese, nuts, fatty meats, etc.)
- If your meal has a flavorful sauce, match the wine to the sauce instead of the meat.
- White, sparkling, and rosé wines often create contrasting pairings, meaning they create balance by contrasting tastes and flavors. As an example, think about lime and coconut. The two flavors aren’t similar, but they’re delicious when combined.
- Conversely, red wines generally create congruent pairings. This means they create balance by emphasizing shared flavors. A good example of this would be a savory steak and mushroom combination.
This is a super simplified break-down, but for the purposes of our food pairing today it will get us through. Now, let’s talk about the wine we’ve selected for today!
Keto-Friendly Wine of the Week
For our inaugural food and wine pairing, we’ve selected our PALO61 Toscano Rosso IGT No.07. This fan-favorite is produced from Ciliegiolo grapes (pronounced cee-lee-a-jo-low). Also known as “cherry grapes,” they’re grown in our low-yielding vineyard on the hills of Tenuta Santa Lucia in Pisa, Tuscany.
The Ciliegiolo grape creates wines with luscious red color and distinct cherry flavors. Its soft tannic structure and mild acidity make it delicious with or without a meal. Our vinification methods have given this red a more intense spicy flavor with subtle notes of black pepper.
Need to brush up on your Wine Terminology? Click here to use our glossary!
Each five-ounce glass of our Toscano Rosso contains 0.45 grams of carbs, 0.19 grams of sugar, 113.5 calories. That makes this wine perfect for anyone looking for a truly succulent wine that complements your nutrition goals.
The SECCO Wine Club Keto-Friendly Charcuterie
If you’re still a little hazy on what exactly charcuterie is, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
Wine and charcuterie are an iconic food pairing. Charcuterie can be a simple appetizer, evening snack, an afternoon treat, or even an entire meal. It all depends on what you decide to include.
“Charcuterie” is just a term for prepared meat. Today it most commonly refers to an assortment of specialty meats often paired with cheese, bread, nuts, olives, or complimentary fruits. The selected items are arranged artfully on a platter and voila!
See? We told you it was shockingly simple. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You can include or exclude any items you like and if you’re practicing social distancing with kids at home, they’ll just think it’s finger food (and they’re not exactly wrong).
Traditionally, a charcuterie board may include a variety of bread (baguette, crackers, breadsticks, etc). However, if you’ve embraced the keto lifestyle you’ll want to avoid those. Instead, consider substituting bread for additional meats or even pork rinds.
We’ve selected the following items because of how they create congruent and/or contrasting flavor balances with the PALO61 Toscano Rosso. Remember, however, that you can substitute any of these items as necessary. We won’t tell 😉
Select a variety of your favorite cured or deli meats. To challenge your pallet you’ll want a variety of textures. We recommend:
- Beef jerky
- Pepperoni sticks.
The fat and saltiness of the meat will help tame the bitterness from the red wine while enhancing its subtle pepper notes.
The world of cheese is vast and sometimes stinky. If you’re not an adventurous eater, feel free to substitute any of our selections for some of your favorites. However, to compete with the flavor of this wine, you’ll want to select a more robust semi-firm cheese that’s aged at least one year. Consider the following:
As a general rule, always try to pair wine with cheeses that have a similar intensity.
Not everyone includes vegetables on their charcuterie board, but if you do there are a few that will complement the other items nicely.
- Red Bell Pepper
Include as many, or as few, of these as you like. If you’re trying to keep this keto-friendly, just remember to avoid starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, or peas.
Fruits and Nuts (in moderation)
Nuts and fruits are a great way to brighten up your pallet while you’re enjoying savory meats and cheeses. Just remember to stick to low-carb nuts and fruits like the following:
- Macadamia Nuts
And that’s pretty much it!
While you can certainly use your fanciest platter and cheese knives, you can get away with just a cutting board, plates, and whatever kind of knife you’ve got lying around. We didn’t include portions on this recipe because it’s seriously that easy. Just use as many of the ingredients as you like, and if you have leftovers you can have a decadent afternoon snack tomorrow 😉
This can be as simple or complex as you want it to be, but mostly we want you to enjoy it! So pour yourself a glass of wine and savor whatever charcuterie board you create.
We hope you enjoyed our first food and wine pairing and that you’ll use this recipe as an excuse to connect with friends and family. This pairing is designed to taste and look luscious and elevated. However, it’s deceptively simple and if you substitute the wine for grape juice your kids will love it too.
Cheers! Salute! Santé! Salud! Skål!