Chef Driven Food Tours takes food and beverage pairings seriously. Pairing the right beverage with your food selection can enhance your dining experience by bringing out the nuances of flavors. We have both an on-staff sommelier and a cicerone. For our guests at least 21 years of age, we would like to suggest these sample pairings to get you started.*
Wine without food is like a boxer who never steps in the ring.
While on our South Side Tour, you may find yourself at Pearl's Place, home of Chicago's best soul food. Guests will have over 30 different items to choose from like Mac N Cheese, sweet potatoes, fried and jerk chicken, and heaver meats like braised pork and neck bones along with various side dishes like greens and cornbread.
Pair with Pilsner Urquell: This showcases the range of pairing potential with Pilsner Urquell. Light caramel sweetness and bready malt notes are a great complement to the batter in fried chicken and sweetness in sweet potatoes and help pull out the flavor of cooked meat like pork and chicken while calming any heat. Spicy and peppery Saaz hops will pick up the classic soul food spices in Jerk chicken and the crisp bitterness and carbonation cut through heavier dishes like Mac N Cheese and any richer sauces.
Guests on our "Taco Nirvana" Tour will delight at Little Village's gem, La Chapparita, a recent winner of Bon Appetite's Favorite Chicago Mexican Restaurant. La Chapparita serves classic Mexico City style tacos with beef and pork and a unique beverage that mixes with beer called Tepache. The people of the region mix this non-alcoholic pineapple cider-like beverage with beer to make a Mexican version of Germany's radler beverage.
Pair with Blue Moon Belgian White and Leinie Grapefruit Shandy: The orange peel and coriander spice of Blue Moon complement and add complexity to traditional Mexican spices, marinades, and salsa/fruit salsa on beef or pork, while the round citrusy sweetness adds a fresh contrast to the acidity of a squeeze of lime. The carbonation refreshes the palate and makes each bite like the first and helps whisk away the heat. For Grapefruit Shandy, great to have the complexity of grapefruit (bitter, sweet, and tart all at once) to provide a refreshing complement and crisp contrast to sauce and spice. Would be fun to compare grapefruit to the Tepache and see how each plays along with the food.
While on our Lower West Side Tour, head to Oakley Ave. in "Little Italy" for dessert cannoli or tiramisu.
Pair with Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin: Toasty and lightly sweet caramel malt notes add a nice complement to both the cannoli and tiramisu. Real pumpkin and traditional pie spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice play well with the creaminess of both desserts and add a unique and undeniable touch of fall to give them a seasonal flair. The carbonation and spices also serve to cut through the richness of the dessert so that it seems lighter.
OR Big Eddy Uber Oktoberfest: Assertive caramel, honey graham, and toasty malt sweetness complement both the cannoli and tiramisu and play well with the creamy sweetness of both. The dry hop aromas add a nice spicy contrast to the sweetness of the dessert and add a seasonal fall resonance. The lightly boozy alcohol warming provides and alluring nightcap and nice contrast to the sweetness of the dessert.
*Please drink responsibly. Selections change seasonally.