Sommelier Raul Diaz launches cookbook

London-based Chilean sommelier, Raul Diaz, has launched a wine-focused cookbook that matches 50 original recipes to specific grape varieties from around the world.

One of Diaz’s matches: Sauternes with clotted cream-stuffed poached apricots and pistachios

Called Wines & Recipes, the practical guide to food and wine matching features a foreword by Le Gavroche chef Michel Roux Jr and wine writer Steven Spurrier.

Diaz created the recipes taking inspiration from his travels – having worked as a sommelier on cruise ships for six years, the somm has visited over 100 countries.

Rather than matching the wines to the recipes, with each new recipe Diaz began with a specific grape variety in mind, and created the dish to pair with it.

Among the food and wine pairings in the book are Champagne and prawn salad; Alvarinho and salt cod; Garnacha and chickpeas with chorizo; Nebbiolo and a pumpkin fritter; Sauvignon Blanc and mango ceviche; and Sauternes and clotted cream-stuffed poached apricots.

A number of the easy to cook recipes are inspired by Diaz’s homeland – Chile. Each features no more than 10 ingredients and takes no longer than 40 minutes to cook.

The wines within the book are divided in six groups: sparkling, whites, rosé, reds, sweets and fortifieds. Beside each recipe is a page on Diaz’s chosen grape variety explaining its history, character, and the places in the world where it grows.

While each of the 50 recipes is designed to pair with a specific grape or wine style, Diaz believes there are no strict rules when it comes to food and wine matching, and that many of the recipes can work well with a number of different grape varieties.

“Lots of people are keen to discover wines and try new food matches. Wine lovers are drinking less but better quality wines and a greater diversity in terms of origin.

“At the same time, many of them are cooking at home more often. There is a real opportunity to create a simple and attractive book for people to use without having to learn about wine and food pairing in a traditional way,” Diaz said.

The £30 book is due to be published in June 2020. Diaz began his sommelier career in 2004 and in 2012 he became a certified WSET educator. He has worked for Rhodes W1 and Roux at Parliament Square, and has appeared as the wine expert on the Channel 4 show Sunday Brunch.

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