Perfect match

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 April, 2009, 12:00am

Anyone who was around in the 1970s will remember that no party was complete without a bowl of sour cream and onion dip. Yet for all its cheesiness, it's one of the cleverest food matching concepts: the rich, refreshing sour cream is highlighted by the zesty bits of diced onions, whose crunchiness adds a textural high note to what would otherwise be a cloying mouthful. A couple of additions will up the wow factor. First, mix in a chopped hardboiled egg to add texture that blends in perfectly (it also means you can use less sour cream). Second, don't add chopped raw onion; use onions fried to different degrees. This will enhance the dip's richness while adding onion flavour and sweetness to contrast with the sour cream. Finally, a decent sprinkle of chilli powder will unite all of the flavours.

The best wine with this dip needs broad flavours and lots of direction. The following chardonnays are regarded as some of the best produced in Australia today. For the perfect match with these wines, use softly sweated onions rather than onions that are raw or cooked too dark.

Shaw and Smith M3 Chardonnay 2005/2006, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

The M3 vineyard in the Adelaide Hills has been producing some of the most celebrated single-vineyard wines in Australia. The wine is essentially French in style; if you must put a name to it, try Chassagne Montrachet. The velvety texture is admirable, as are the incredibly broad and complex flavours. They'll link up happily with the dip, especially if it contains hardboiled egg and fried onion. The sour cream's richness is cut and balanced by the wine's crisp natural acidity and warm, lingering alcohol.

Available for HK$218 from Links Concept (tel: 2802 2818)

Bannockburn Chardonnay 2005, Geelong, Australia

This is another classic, a strictly adults-only chardonnay. Stunning in structure and incredible in the immensely complex flavours all wrapped up nicely in one silky mouthful, this is the perfect match with the dip. The chopped boiled egg is vital in lending a more solid platform to the wine and the dip, while also binding with the wine's silky alcohol.

Available for HK$258 from Oliver's (tel: 2869 5119)

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2005, Margaret River, Australia

This Leeuwin Estate Art Series is, without doubt, one of the best not just in Australia but in the world. It has been going for more than three decades, each vintage smarter and more reflective of the growing season than the one before. It's a perfect match with sour cream and onion dip. The nutty tones of the fried onion set up a close link with the rich fruit and flavours from careful winemaking. An extra sprinkle of chilli powder will set a high note for the combination.

Available for HK$675 from ASC Fine Wines (tel: 3923 6700)