Finding Comfort in Food & Wine

What comes to mind when you hear the term “comfort food?” When I think of comfort foods I typically think of the good ole USA. My mind conjures up southern classics such as chicken fried steak, fried chicken, and biscuits and gravy, or do you think Midwest pot roast, or perhaps a burger and fries? However, pizza, gnocchi, and Bolognese also feel like comfort food to me; as does roasted lamb, Beef Bourguignon, and coq au vin. It seems each culture’s cuisine offers its own expressions of comfort food. Today our #WinePW group is exploring comfort food and wine pairings.

Comfort food feels like a warm hug. It is typically fattening, why else would it be so comforting, and full of flavor? Often times comfort food takes some time to prepare, and is frequently served in a bowl. Can dessert be considered comfort food? Of course! Chocolate is about as comforting as food can get. Comfort food means different things to different people. February is an ideal month to explore comfort food; cold temperatures, possible snow on the ground, a warm fire, and a delicious bottle of wine. What is your favorite comfort food?

Cindy Rynning of Grape Experiences is at the helm as our #WinePW group grabs our blankets and sits by the fire to enjoy our favorite comfort foods.


It is no secret that I love Lodi and I love Lodi wines. It is such a tight-knit, supportive community. It actually feels comfortable being among such great people. Late last year I received an unexpected box of wine from the wonderful Markus Niggli of Borra Vineyards and Markus Wine Co. I have featured a few of Markus’ wines on my blog because they are very well crafted, a great value, and always over-deliver on quality. I selected one of Markus’ Borra Vineyards wines to pair with the ultimate comfort food dish.

img_15792013 Borra Vineyards Heritage Field Blend Red Lodi USA ($25): A proprietary blend of 70% Barbera, 10 % Carignane, 10% Petite Sirah, and 10% Alicante Bouschet; clear, medium ruby in the glass; clean medium aromas of bright red fruit including cherries, pomegranate, and cranberries, dried rose petals, savory dried herbs, Chinese 5 spice, smoked meat, leather, damp underbrush, and vanilla; medium+ acid and tannins, medium- body, long finish; smooth on the palate with a silky mouth-feel balanced with mouth-watering acidity in a long, fresh finish. This wine is available direct from Borra Vineyards.

Truly I believe the ultimate in American comfort food is macaroni and cheese! It is so decadent I rarely allow myself such an indulgence. For this exploration in comfort food I simply could not resist so I planned the rest of the menu around Creamy Million Dollar Mac & Cheese. Paired with the mac & cheese I made an Italian style pot roast (no recipe) with a 5lb Chuck Roast, red wine, balsamic vinegar, tomato sauce, beef broth, Italian seasoning, and honey, with carrots and onions and a side of broccolini (not comfort food but had to have it to balance out the mac & cheese).  The meal was very comforting AND paired very well with the round earthiness and bright fruit of the well-balanced wine.



For more comfort please check out my fellow #WinePW friends:

Cindy Rynning of Grape Experiences shares Wine and Comfort Food: Alder Fels Chardonnay and My (New) Favorite Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Camilla Mann of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is ready for Saturday with her Kick Ass Mac’ and Cheese and Kung Fu Girl Columbia Valley Riesling

Lori Hoyt Budd of Dracaena Wines is sharing a favorite Comfort Food with a Side of Wine

Jill Barth of l’Occasion is Cooking at Home: Affordable Bordeaux & Homemade Pasta

Jade Helms of Tasting Pour is contributing her recipe for Croque Madame and Treveri Brut Prestige #winePW

Nancy Brazil and Peter Bourget of Pull That Cork are tempting us with Brandade de Morue and a Lovely Lirac

Wendy Klik from A Day in the Life of the Farm is making us feel warm and cozy with Mushroom Stroganoff with Markham Sauvignon Blanc

David Crowley of Cooking Chat is explaining his Roasted Root Vegetable Soup and Wine Pairing

Lauren Walsh of The Swirling Dervish is making me want to visit warmer weather for Winter Comfort Food for Those 80 Degree Days

Gwendolyn Alley of Wine Predator is thrilled to give us her ideas for Valentine’s Day: Share a Special Red Wine Paired With Comfort Foods with Your Sweetheart

Sue Lau of Palatable Pastime is sharing her notes for Rigatoni with Bolognese Sauce

Please join us this morning at 10CST on Twitter using #WinePW to share your favorite comfort foods and wines.

My Song Selection: This song feels like comfort to me.

Get your own bottle of 2013 Borra Vineyards Heritage Field Blend wine and let me know what song you pair with it.


24 responses to “Finding Comfort in Food & Wine”

  1. I like how you’ve rounded out the mac as a meal, with the beef & veg. It’s funny, I always think it needs to be the main…but unless it has add-ins, it just doesn’t feel complete. Love what you’ve done here.

    Very cool blend of Barbera, Carignane, Petite Sirah, and Alicante Bouschet… I’d love to try this one.

    Thanks for sharing. Cheers!

  2. I am so intrigued by the Borra Vineyards Red you chose to pair with that delicious meal. I’ve never heard of them but, since I can receive shipments here in FL, I’m going to order a few bottles. Can’t wait to try!

  3. I agree with you, when comfort food comes to mind, it typically is something that is not the most healthy! I modified my recipe to be a little more healthy. I am always looking for ways to cut calories. It is often a rather simple change that doesn’t make a huge difference – although Mike yells at me when I try to substitute whole milk or heavy cream with my nonfat- (it never works out LOL)

  4. Mac and cheese and pot roast are two amazing comfort foods-well done! And the wine was the best choice ever! Thanks, Michelle!

  5. I am impressed that you were able to limit the mac and cheese to a side dish. Of course, the roast sounds very comforting as well and the wine sounds amazing. I, too, enjoy the wines from Lodi.

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