When it comes to pairing food with beverages, I try to keep things pretty simple: usually red wine for meat, white wine for fish, and if I'd rather have beer, maybe think about an IPA with spicy food or a dark, robust beer with dessert. Cocktails? Literally whenever. There aren't any hard or fast rules, though.
Therefore I don't consider myself fanatical about pairing events. I may go once in a while (especially if it's at a restaurant I've yet to try), but I'd rather experiment on my own and, if my tastebuds react poorly, so be it. That said, I get it. Looking to enhance your experience as much as possible? Then pair away, friend.
Here in Houston we have pairing events for just about everything. A quick glance of my inbox shows a sushi and beer pairing night, a dinner with 13 courses coming up in December, a steak and whiskey night, and the list just goes on. But I was surprised to see an announcement of another kind of pairing event coming up Oct. 31 at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in The Woodlands. Yes, that's Halloween night, and the event is apropos: a Halloween candy and wine pairing event.
According to Fleming's, "guests will indulge in a wide variety of pairings and will learn what candy combinations treat and which ones will trick." Some of those combinations include licorice and rosé and candy corn and moscato.
Now, I'm told candy corn should be somewhere between velvety and caramel sweet, but I couldn't tell you because I've had candy corn maybe twice in my life. It's not my thing, I don't get it, and I don't plan on trying any more of it. I suppose moscato's sweet and fruity profile probably plays off candy corn well. I'll trust Fleming's here.
Did you know there are like a million pieces that discuss Halloween candy and beer pairings? According to Draft magazine, candy corn goes well with pumpkin ale (this seems a little too on the nose), Snickers works with oyster stout (good luck finding one around Houston), and Butterfinger is perfect with English pale ale.
This seems like a lot of work. What I love about Halloween candy is the randomness of it all. As a kid I'd just dump out the whole stash on the floor and start rummaging through this and that with no strategy. As an adult with kids who are too young to eat a lot of candy (this is the golden time, parents), the move is to grab one, maybe two pieces of whatever candy you can get quickly without the kid seeing you, then hide it in your pocket until later. This doesn't allow for any time to go to Spec's to find the right bourbon barrel stout to pair with my mini 3 Musketeers.
Pairing beverages with Halloween candy goes against the spontaneity, variety, and sheer weirdness of Halloween candy. What happens when you've eaten all that Moscato candy corn and now have three bags of SweeTarts, a Mr. Goodbar, two individually wrapped strawberry Twizzlers, and a single mystery flavor Dum Dum?
I suppose there's a place and a time to pair, and maybe it's when you—whoops—buy one more family-size bag of Kit-Kat bars than necessary for annual trick-or-treat visitors. Then, and only then, can you plan ahead and get that bottle of merlot. Do those two work together? Maybe you should go to Fleming's on Halloween and find out.
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse will host a candy and wine pairing event 5-7 p.m. Oct 31. For more information, call 281-362-0103.