"Last week, I had some friends round for dinner. I stocked up on ingredients for chocolate brownie cake, planned to make my own chips, and finally purchased some steak and some bottles of McEwans Champion beer to help wash it down.
However, half way through my dinner party, it became clear to me that the combination of steak and beer wasn't really working. The strong dark Scottish beer was being drunk painfully slowly - particularly as I had expected everyone to have a couple of bottles!
The McEwans Champion was quite fruity and earthy but really dry and clean on finish, but something about the flavors just didn't fit with my steak and chips.
As I dished up the gooey chocolate dessert I resigned myself to having made a disappointing pairing for the meal. Expecting the beer to clash with the brownie, I begrudgingly took a mouthful to quench my thirst - and was amazed by the resulting taste.
Whilst I had intended the McEwans Champion to go with the steak, as I continued to taste the beer I realized that the fruity, spicy and earthy notes of the beer went perfectly with the shared characters in the good chocolate I'd used to make my pudding.
I'm always delighted to discover unexpected pairings - and in this instance, my dinner guests were too!"
Stephen and his team are always on hand at L'Ortolan to make pairing suggestions for your meal. Or why not try our Take Wine Home service - ask the restaurant for more details.