Snazzy Sandwich & Wine Pairings


I must have been under ten years old when I pulled out the family encyclopedia to look up ‘sandwich’. It was the 1967 edition of Britannica, acquired by my mother the year she married my father. Back then, the encyclopedia set was a requisite part of every household.

While encyclopedias have passed into obsolescence, sandwiches have not. They’ve only gotten more desirable and complex. Still, at their heart, they are sandwiches – two pieces of bread, with something yummy in the middle. (This is how my three-year old son will describe them.)

As for the pairings, wine will rescue any sandwich from dull simplicity. When the prep work is easy, chef can focus on more important matters like ingredient sourcing, flavor and texture combinations, and of course, the pairing. It may be cute in its uncommonness, but sandwich pairings give us a reason to drink wine with even the simplest of meals.

Vietnamese Banh Mi

The Banh Mi’s signature flavor profile comes from the combination of meats or tofu with pickled vegetables, fresh cilantro, soy sauce, and fish sauce. These are savory flavors to the max. Example meats include sausage, meatballs, ham, pork or liverwurst. I choose bean curd (tofu) or pea proteins. My new favorite is Beyond Meat. Whatever you choose must complement the pickled vegetables and crisp hunks of toasted bread. You’ll want to avoid over-crisping the toast, so choose the softest, plumpest bread you can find. The fresh versatility of a Grenache-based rose is a good choice.

Get the recipe.

Elvis Presley’s Hot Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches

One of the King’s favorite foods, this sumptuous treat is a textural delight. The crisp exterior complements the rich, smooth filling. Elvis discovered the sandwich at a Denver restaurant. It was served as a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with peanut butter. The version we present here is less indulgent by far, but you can jazz it up with a glass of rich buttery Chardonnay. Rombauer always comes to mind.

Get the recipe.

Lamb Souvlaki Sandwiches with Greek Salad

I just want an excuse to drink Assyrtiko from Santorini, and I think this is it.  While not a traditional sandwich bread, pita pockets are fair game. The truth of the matter is, the pita is so stuffed that you will most likely end up with an open-face sandwich on your plate. However, the spirit of sandwich remains intact.

As for the wine, Assyrtiko from Santorini is grown on silty volcanic soils. There’s virtually no rain fall.  The ancient vines dig down through layers of pumice in search of water. The sun is nearly endless. This fruit is rich, ripe, and complex.

Get the recipe.

Tarragon Shallot Egg Salad Sandwiches

Egg salad may sound pedestrian, but this jazzy recipe defies convention. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, with is characteristic greenness and fruit zest is a perfect pair. Mt. Beautiful is a family favorite.

Get the recipe.

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