Review: Passion for Pairing by Jean-Vincent Ridon

Tuesday, 4 May, 2021
Debi van Flymen CWM
Debi van Flymen CWM reviews Passion for Pairing like she would a fine wine. Let's share her taste for this book by sommelier Jean Vincent Ridon.

Appearance: A glossy, coffee table book that explores Jean-Vincent’s passion for wine and food combined with Gerda’s photographic prowess. Eighty-five inviting and drool worthy dishes from sixteen chefs, accompanied by a short story and wine pairing. These stories focus on the integrity of ingredients, inspirational winemakers, talented chefs and exhilarating wines.  Jean-Vincent’s wealth of experience in the hospitality and wine world, from the back of house to Sommelier and Winemaker brings these stories to life. He shares his passion and explains his recommendations well-seasoned with memories of experiences. An introduction neatly sets the framework for what follows and the reader shouldn’t feel compelled to work their way from page one to page two hundred and thirty-five in sequence as each spread is an entertaining morsel.

Nose: Passion for Pairing passes the smell test. It is authentic and written from the heart with a great deal of knowledge and experience. This book is not a recipe book. It is not a book of lists urging you to opt for particular wines when facing a variety of meals. Offering insights into what makes pairings work, the reader is left feeling they are in control with some general guidelines loosely framing the narrative. Pairings don’t only focus on posh nosh. Bunny Chow, samoosas and spare ribs can be found shoulder to shoulder with dishes like Chantel Dartnall’s very sexy “Little Black Number” (on page 197).  With each spread, you can smell the dish and the wine in the magnificent descriptions while learning something along the way. Did you know that the origins of Crème Brulée date back to the 1600’s?

Palate: This is a refreshing tome full of passionate pairings (not just wine, by the way). Well balanced with a wide variety of dishes from simple, humble street food to fine-dining examples paired with a proudly South African wine and an international suggestion too. The length can be varied depending on whether you attempt to digest it in a single sitting or avoid gastronomic overload and devour it a few stories at a time. Intensity of the images and writing bring each dish to life. There is complexity in the story-telling which approaches each dish differently. The concentration of information makes this so much more than a decorative volume. It is a broad reference, bound to become a classic thus suggesting it will be age worthy.

Conclusion: Jean-Vincent Ridon’s “Passion for Pairing” is an outstanding book that presents a wide array of dishes with thoughtful pairings, highlighting some of South Africa’s rich history, talented winemakers and chefs in artful storytelling. Could not be prouder of, or thrilled for, Jean-Vincent that this book won the prestigious Gourmand Cookbook Award, Best in the World, in the category of Food & Drink.

Debi van Flymen
Cape Wine Master

Buy Passion for Pairing online on Signal Hill Wines - SHOP HERE

Debi van Flymen CWM
Debi van Flymen CWM

Jean Vincent Ridon
Jean Vincent Ridon

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