It’s pretty safe to say that the first taco I ever ate came from Taco Bell.
Which would make perfect sense, since that chain is credited with introducing the taco to people across North America beginning in the early 1960s.
And so it has come to be that, in 2015 alone, Americans ate 4.5 billion tacos. That’s billion with a B.
Yes, quite a few of those were prepared at Taco Bell outlets, along with other chains like Del Taco (my personal favorite among the large chains). But more and more are coming out of food trucks and even gourmet restaurants, with ingredients far different from what was used to make the fast-food tacos of my childhood.
Some of today’s tacos are quite spicy, which makes pairing them with wine something of a challenge, but many are not. As with all dishes, when it comes to wine pairing, we pair with the dominant flavor of the dish.
I recently had a shrimp and bacon taco in a corn tortilla, expertly prepared by a food truck operator. I took it home and enjoyed it with a glass of Sem-Chard from Australia — a delicious, refreshing melding of Semillon and Chardonnay.
From that same truck, Michelle opted for a carne asada taco on a flour tortilla — tortillas are among the few things on which we don’t see eye-to-eye — and I suggested a glass of Malbec to accompany it. Michelle gave the pairing two thumbs up.
A few other taco-and-wine pairing ideas…
* Chicken Tacos with Bell Peppers — Sauvignon Blanc.
* Braised Pork Tacos — Chardonnay or Gruner Veltliner.
* Beef-and-Bean Tacos with Salsa — Zinfandel.
* Lamb Tacos — Cabernet Sauvignon.
* Skirt Steak Tacos — Syrah.
* Baja-Style Fish Tacos — Dry Riesling.
Like many, your first inclination on National Taco Day may be to reach for a cold cerveza to accompany your favorite “Mexican sandwich.” But as you can see, there are many types of wine that pair quite nicely.
So, stop by your favorite food truck or Mexican restaurant, or pick up some tortillas and get creative with ingredients you have in the refrigerator or pantry. Then enjoy those tacos with a good glass of wine.