Ever had wine with jerk chicken or curry beef? This Toronto sommelier wants you to try it
Beverly Crandon pairs ethnic cuisine from all over the globe with wine
The world of wine may seem stuffy, exclusive and pretentious to many, but a Toronto sommelier is trying to change that by opening it up to cuisines around the world.
Beverly Crandon grew up in a household where Caribbean food was served. She says she always had a love of wine but never really saw the two paired. So she started to experiment, and then made a career out of it.
"When you take something that's not the norm, and you pair it with wine, it starts some conversations about and why that is the way it is and also diversity," the sommelier said.
That's why Crandon's website features blog posts about what pairs with curry beef and jerk chicken — not the kinds of dishes you see represented in most wine magazines.
And now her GTA event series, called Spring into Spice, challenges the narrative around pairing wine with various ethnic foods, including Caribbean, Thai and Indian. She says one of the common tropes is that spicy food pairs with Riesling wines, but she says there are many more great combinations to explore, and likens the process to simple science.
"When you look at it, it's just food, made up of molecules. When you understand you're just mixing things together, it becomes so much easier and it's beautiful."
Magdalena Kaiser, the public relations director with the Wine Marketing Association of Ontario, says the world of wine is changing and people like Crandon are part of that shift.
"If you look back at even the last 100 years, for sure, in wine it's had this reputation of being a stuffy environment," Kaiser said.
"Every year, it changes in a good way to make it more accessible and more fun. We should explore every food culture through wine."
Crandon is excited to change people's minds about what pairs well with various foods, while helping to break down barriers in the hospitality scene.
"It's Toronto — we have so many cultures here. Let's have conversations about why there might be stigmas or prejudices around certain cuisine," she said.
"Doing this through food and wine makes it a lot easier to have those conversations."