Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Snack Pairing of the Month - Jan

People who drink wine like to talk about "pairings," by which they mean matching wines to specific foods. For example, a crisp, dry Sauvingnon Blanc is supposed to match well with seafood, while a big, earthy Syrah/Shiraz, it is argued, works best alongside something rich and meaty like steak or stew. You can be an utterly cantankerous, ornery and obsessive nerd about wine and wine pairings, and this is 100% socially acceptable. Wine nerds even get a fancy-pants name: oenophiles.

Regular nerds don't drink a lot of wine, at least not while they're engaged in nerdery. But they do eat a lot of salty snack foods! Yet, to my knowledge, no scholar of nerdly pursuits has, to date, attempted to pair specific salty snacks to specific nerdy occasions. That time has come, my friends. Given that nerdery has, like wine and haute cuisine, shed its parochial roots to become a truly global phenomenon, so too should snackery. So without further ado, I present to you your most refined snack pairing of the month!

Salt Licorice (Sweden/Finland)

Nordic types like their licorice, and they like it salty, though technically it's not salt you're tasting...it's ammonium chloride, which you may recognize as an ingredient in cough syrup. But that's not enough for these thrill-seeking vikings of taste: sometimes their salty licorice is also covered in ammonium chloride powder! I grew up with the stuff, but it's an acquired taste for the uninitiated--a friend once described it to me as "freaky weird." That's an understatement. 

Pairs with: Moody Scandinavian films like Let the Right One InHour of the Wolf or Valhalla Rising. Moody Scandinavian books like Karin Tidbeck's Jagannath. And basically anything with vikings, trolls or Moomins.