Healthy and Sane

Beer vs. wine pairing party

March 9th, 2011 · 21 Comments · beef, dessert, party, salmon

It was a long day at work today, which makes memories of this past weekend that much fonder.

On Saturday, we were invited to our friends’ Kevin and Trisha’s house for a beer vs. wine pairing party. The idea was to bring a dish that pairs well with one or the other and have some fun! Almost immediately I thought of bringing something spicy to pair with a Riesling, and then a moment of brilliance hit me – mini banh mi sliders. Oh yes I did!

Of course it’s me and I can’t just make a favorite recipe and call it good. And well, dessert needed to happen as well (just in case we didn’t have enough). I made some meyer lemon curd a few days prior so the idea of white wine cupcakes with meyer lemon curd filling and marshmallow wine frosting was born. Sounds fitting for a beer vs. wine party, no?

I started with the white wine cupcake recipe base (using half all purpose and half white whole wheat flour – they were perfectly tender, no whole wheatiness in sight. Yes, that’s a word!)


Then scooped a bit of the cupcake insides (which I saved for a little snack later Winking smile ) and filled the cavities with the meyer lemon curd (don’t overfill them with the curd or they’ll be too intense).


Lastly came the frosting part. I used 1/2 of this recipe for the marshmallow frosting – it wouldn’t harden so I added extra cream of tartar until it came to the right consistency) and it really tasted like marshmallows. I was so excited I forgot to add a bit of wine to it. Oh well, still amazingly delicious! [Adam said it was one of the best desserts I’ve ever made!!]


The recipe made 18 cupcakes. 18 addictively delicious cupcakes. Good thing I had some friends to share it with!! Smile

So now on to the party. We had some super talented cooks, that’s for sure. Andrew impressed us all with his salmon tartar cornets with sweet red onion crème fraiche (recipe from The French Laundry Cookbook!!)


Unfortunately, while I was totally drooling over this, I couldn’t taste the final product given the ahem, red onions. Sad smile I am certain it’s the most amazing appetizer though (I mean, common – it’s Thomas Keller’s recipe!!) so I plan on tackling it one day. How impressed are you with Andrew? He even made the little cones from scratch!


For his pairing, he chose the pale ale by the Victory brewery since he just passed his PHD exam. I liked all the pairings from this dinner so I’m going to direct you to Kevin’s post for more comprehensive beer reviews since he knows a lot more about beer than I do. All I can say is that it went down easy! Winking smile


Next up – my banh mi sliders!! I used grass fed beef instead of turkey, but otherwise followed the recipe to the T. It’s really the best!! I love how the meatballs have a bit of heat, which is enhanced by the spicy mayo and sliced jalapenos and then cooled off by the pickled carrots and daikon radish. Man, I loved these little guys!!



This sweet Riesling was a really good pairing for this spicy dish.


Happy customers Smile

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More finger food! Mac & cheese mini cakes to be exact! I believe Melissa used the Wine & Food magazine recipe but don’t quote me on this. These little cakes were perfectly portable, cheesy and indulgent.


… and paired really well with this crisp prosecco. Seriously, best party idea ever!!


Onto some Mexican cilantro chicken with all the fixins (cheese, salsa, tortillas), paired with the Hennepin Belgian style saison.


The chicken had so much flavor and I just love the body of saisons – kind of like wheat beer but with so much more character. Yummmmm.


Our stomachs were getting quite full but there was just one more savory course. Pizza!!


Prosciutto, mozzarella


and balsamic caramelized onion and goat cheese


Paired with a surprisingly light Syrah. Can’t go wrong with pizza + wine!

At this point all of us really needed an eating break so we moved to the living room for some couch (and more drinking) time. Smile

Eventually these molten chocolate cakes (from the Flour bakery cookbook) baked and well, you can’t let perfectly molten chocolate deliciousness wait for you! Now can you? (don’t answer that!)



Paired with this aged Mikkeller Belgian strong ale (brewed with chocolate!).



My cupcakes were a bonus dessert and we all enjoyed them at our leisure.


Someone kept hoping to sneak a bite but we were a bit quicker Winking smile



What do you prefer – beer or wine? What’s the coolest “theme party” you’ve ever been to? I’m totally stealing this idea and plan on hosting one of my own this summer! Party smile

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21 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Lauren at Keep It Sweet

    That is such a great party idea! I am much more of a wine fan than a beer fan but I love that there is something for everyone. Plus, I’ve never done any food and beer pairings before. All of the food you made looks delicious. I made those mac n cheese cups before and they quickly disappeared.

  • #2 - Lindsey@TextbooksandCookbooks

    That looks like a fun party! All of the food looks amazing! I’ve had that Pacific Rim riesling before and it’s really good. On most occasions I prefer wine, but I do enjoy beer sometimes.

  • #3 - Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living

    LOVE this idea! So much fun. I typically prefer wine to beer, but there are certain moments (and meals) that call for an ice cold brew. I really have to make those Banh Mi sliders!

  • #5 - Michelle

    This looks like such a FUN party! All of the food looks great!

  • #6 - Tiffany

    Everything looks so good, I’m sorry to have missed it! I love the concept of white wine cupcakes, too :)

  • #8 - Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle

    I much prefer beer to wine, but enjoy a glass of white or blush from time to time (I just can’t stomach red for some reason)

    Those cupcakes look amazing!

  • #9 - Kelly

    I’ve been meaning to pick up the Flour Bakery cookbook. It’s weird because for whatever reason, I don’t often miss Boston and then someon will mention a particular place and I feel a bit sad and wistful for a bit. Flour is one of those places. I definitely never went enough.

    I’m impressed by both of your creations. Your food is definitely getting better and better.

    • #10 - Elina

      I know what you mean, Kelly. I feel the same way about NY. Flour is definitely one of my favorite bakeries in the city (although admittedly I haven’t been to THAT many). The cookbook is worth buying… I’m sure you have a few favorites you could recreate in your own home in Chicago, without the need for a trip to Boston. :)

  • #11 - Katie @ The Aspiring RD

    What an impressive meal! I drooled over every picture.

  • #12 - MelissaNibbles

    The party sounds like a lot of fun. I don’t know much about pairing so I would’ve been clueless and drank everything in sight. Nothing wrong with that though right?

    • #13 - Elina

      Oh yeah, we weren’t scientific about our pairings at all. Sometimes it was like: “we had a bunch of this wine so Syrah it was.” :)

  • #14 - Kathy The Boston Sports Woman

    What a fantastic idea for a party! Makes it fun for everyone. You can cook for me anytime! I’ll bring the pairings!

  • #15 - Ally

    I like both – beer probably more – and am really starting to get into good craft beers, as well as strong stouts and porters this past winter. Some beers like Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA are a bit wine-y anyway! I’m a bit of a wine novice but am tryyying to learn more.

  • #16 - Cara

    Great party! Though, I was totally picturing a beer to go with the mac n cheese – but that’s alright, I trust you that it was good with prosecco! Hint hint, great idea for a blogger get together, isn’t it? :)

  • #17 - Jumanah @ Healthy Living in the Middle East

    Wow! All that food looks so delicious! Looks like such a fun party! I definately enjoy wine more than beer!

  • #18 - Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic

    Bahn mi sliders look awesome. I don’t think I’ve had cupcakes made with white wine, but I would be all over the lemon curd filling and marshmallow frosting! Sounds like you guys had an awesome party!

  • #19 - Shannon

    oh my gosh, everything looks phenomenal!! i seriously can’t pick a favorite… except for the kitty trying to get the cupcakes :)

  • #20 - alicia

    Gorgeous pictures!!! What a fun concept for a party!

  • #21 - Eric Heng

    Delicious!!It seems so much fun.I am too planning for party very soon. I would love to consider some of your ideas to make it memorable for my friends!