Chicago United Latino/a Pride Summerdance | Chicago Community Bank, 1800 S Halsted | Pilsen | 3-8pm
Welcome to Thunderdome…for guacamole. Yes, in about 48 hours, Chicago’s United Latino/a Pride will be hosting Guac-Off! This is cause to rethink the basic, glorious necessaries of what goes into guacamole and get creative. Think Zocalo’s Fruta Guacamole with fresh mango, guava, habanero and crushed walnuts or even something a little more simple like their Rojo with sundried tomatoes instead of fresh and serrano instead of cayenne.
Washing down the prized treasure is also something that should be just as important as the for-your-eyes-only recipe. Yes, there’s ying and yang, call and response and chew and swallow.
The schools of thought with any wine pairing first originate in apathy. First, you choose to care. If you’re drinking a wine that’s so pleasing, it could make dirt taste good (pica, aside), carpe diem! LIkewise if you are just generally apathetic to the drinking part of living. Many folks I know and love could care two sh!ts about wine and food pairing. True story.
Second, as Master Sommelier Randa Warren once heralded during a master class I took, “Food changes the way wine tastes.” The parenthetical here is that it isn’t the other way around; wine does not change the way food tastes. Concerning guacamole, no matter how complicated and divine your guac, it still isn’t as complicated or chemically able to reflex the way wine does. That’s the glory of wine. That’s why the Greeks devoted an entire God to wine (and ecstasy) — Dionysus — and why there are wine bars and not milk bars or beer cellars.
Having said all that, red wine with guacamole will be tricky. No matter how light, it tends to get tannic and even peppery. The raw onions or heat from whatever source you’re using (peppers, cayenne, etc.) don’t do well with reds. In the worst case scenarios, the heat will intensify, the tannins will dry and a metallic taste will come out. This will take more than minty gum and breath spray to return your mouth to a pleasing place for kissing or even talking behaviors with other innocent, lovely folk who might suffer in the wake of your red-guac dragon breath.
Whites, then, are where to turn to. Because of the luxuriant fattiness of avocados, you’ll want a white with some body. Think whole milk versus skim. This is especially the case with dominating flavors of raw onions and garlic. A white with good acid is also important. It will also help to neutralize any spicy heat as well as cleanse the palette. Might I suggest a wine that I’ve been a little insane about: Aveleda Fonte’s Vinho Verde. It’s Portuguese and sells for around $7 a bottle!
The vineyard website doesn’t do the wine description justice, but that might be on account of things getting lost in the translation. Minerals and lemon tinged with a naturally occurring and delicate carbonation, and living in the background, enough sugar to stand up to the heat and complexity of guacamole. Depending on what type of guac you’re stuffing your face with, the wine brims with a subtle, fruity sweetness or even fills out your guac-gasm with a minerally finish, leaving you refreshed and ready to eat even more.
Drink well, and may the best guacalero win!