Seaweed, once relegated to sushi rolls and miso soup here in the US, has long been a staple food in many cultures, particularly in Japan and other parts of Asia. However, they are making their way into the mainstream and onto people's plates and into their homes in a vast variety of ways. It’s not hard to see why. These nutrient-rich marine plants are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them a popular choice for the health-conscious. But healthy doesn’t have to mean boring. Like any good superfood trend, seaweeds are now being paired with wine.
Aside from its incredible health & environmental benefits, seaweed is known for its umami flavor - a savory taste that is often described as "meaty" or "brothy." This flavor profile makes seaweed an ideal pairing with both red & white wines that have complimentary savory notes.
But how do you pair seaweed and wine without it being a flavor disaster? We’ve got some tips to help you create a perfect match made in the ocean.
nori and pinot noir
Nori is a type of green seaweed that is often used to make the sushi rolls we know and love. It has an earthy, toasty taste that is very slightly salty. These flavors make it a great pairing with Pinot Noir, a light-bodied red wine that has notes of cherries, raspberries, mushrooms, cloves and hibiscus. The acidity in the wine helps to balance the saltiness of the seaweed, while the umami flavor of both the nori and the wine complement each other perfectly. Pick up a bottle of Pinot Noir next time you have a sushi night and give it a try.
kombu and sauvignon blanc
Kombu, or Sugar Kelp as we like to call it here at Nautical Farms, is a type of kelp that is often used to make dashi, a Japanese broth. The presence of sugar alcohol mannitol in Sugar Kelp creates a light sweet flavor but it is also bursting with umami and salty flavors. Its rich, savory flavor pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc, a crisp white wine that has grassy and citrus-led notes. The acidity in the wine helps to cut through the richness of the kombu, while the herbal notes in the wine enhance the umami flavor of the seaweed. Check out our Sugar Kelp (Kombu) offerings in our seaweed shop.
wakame and chardonnay
Wakame or more commonly known here in Maine as Alaria is a type of seaweed that is often used in salads and soups. Its delicate, slightly sweet flavor pairs well with Chardonnay, a medium-bodied white wine that has notes of vanilla, butter, and oak. The creaminess of the Chardonnay helps to enhance the sweetness of the seaweed, while the oak notes in the wine complement the seaweed's umami flavor. Pair your favorite Chardonnay with our Organic Alaria Flakes or Whole Leaf today.
When it comes to seaweed and wine pairing, it's important to experiment and find what works best for your palate. Don't be afraid to try unconventional pairings - you might be surprised by what works well together, but here are some general tips to keep in mind:
- Pair seaweed with wines that have similar umami flavors.
- Consider the texture and saltiness of the seaweed when selecting a wine.
- Look for crisp, acidic wines that balance out the saltiness of the seaweeds you are using.
- Consider the preparation method of the seaweed. For example, seaweed salad with sesame oil pairs well with a dry Riesling, while seaweed in a miso soup pairs well with a light-bodied red like Pinot Noir.
Pairing seaweed and wine can be a delicious combination when done right. By considering the type of seaweed, the wine's acidity, the preparation method, the overall meal, and experimenting with different pairings, you can find the perfect match for your taste buds.