Savory Food Wine Pairing

Sweet Wine, Savory Food

Chef Dave Woodall paired our delicious Stella Rosa Imperiale Moscato with a decadent dish of Chickpea Cakes, Duck Confit, and Curried Cauliflower at Red Herring in Los Angeles. Pairing sweet wine with savory food can lead to an adventurous and surprising combination. Chef Woodall displayed his skills by creating a perfect dish to balance the acidity and sweetness of the wine. It can be a challenge to pair a sweet wine with savory food, but the results are definitely impressive.

Chef and also co-owner of Red Herring, Dave Woodall, was up for the challenge. “I’m a fan of pairing sweet wine with salty, fatty, spicy foods,” he says and explains how the abundance and of flavors and textures in his recipe stack up. “The curry adds the savory component, the duck confit is fatty, and the pickled chilis add spice.”

Bringing it all together is the Stella Rosa Imperiale Moscato, which delivers a honeyed sweet fruit that playfully wrestles with the curry while subduing the heat from the chilis; its residual sugars, meanwhile, elongate the buttery mouthfeel of the duck confit. The bubbles dance on the tongue just long enough – until you’re ready to go in for more.

Red Herring is a lively and colorful fine-dining establishment that serves comfort food with a Mediterranean twist in L.A.’s hip Eagle Rock neighborhood. Woodall and his wife, Alexis Martin Woodall, opened the restaurant in August 2016 and will soon open a second location on Grand Avenue Downtown.

Red Herring Chef

~Chickpea Cake with Vadouvan Cauliflower, Duck Confit, and Pickled Chilis~

Chickpea Cake

1 cup chickpea flour

2 cups vegetable stock

2 tbsp butter

Salt and white pepper to taste


  1. Bring vegetable stock to a simmer and whisk in chickpea flour
  2. Stir over low heat until flour is hydrated (2-3 min). Whisk in butter and season to taste with salt and white pepper
  3. Line loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick baking spray
  4. Transfer chickpea mixture to pan and spread into an even layer. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill until set
  5. Remove and turn out on to a cutting board. Using a cookie cutter punch out rounds of dough and fry in canola oil at 350º until crispy and golden on the outside

Duck Confit

1/2 cup salt

2 tbsp picked thyme

1/4 cup pickled parsley (chopped)

2 bay leaves chiffonade

1 tsp cracked black pepper

6 duck legs

1 quart duck fat

1 lemon, zest removed in strips

1 orange, zest removed in strips

4 bay leaves

4 peeled shallots

4 garlic cloves


  1. Combine salt, thyme, and parsley in a food processor. Blitz everything together until you’ve got a homogenous green salt
  2. Transfer salt to a mixing bowl and mix in the bay leaves and black pepper
  3. Toss duck legs in salt mixture and massage the cure in with fingertips
  4. Place legs in a single layer and cover with plastic wrap
  5. Place the container in the refrigerator and let cure for 24 hours

Curried Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, grated

3 tbsp butter

2 tbsp vadouvan curry

2 shallots, sliced

2 cups vegetable stock

salt to taste


  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in curry and briefly fry over medium heat
  2. Add shallot and garlic and cook until softened. Add cauliflower until fully coated in curry butter
  3. Add vegetable stock and salt to taste
  4. Cover the pan and simmer gently until cauliflower is al dente
  5. Remove lid and raise heat to reduce stock, stirring constantly, until butter and stock glaze the cauliflower
  6. Transfer to a parchment lined sheet tray to cool

Pickled Fresno Chilis

1 lb Fresno chilis, seeded and sliced

500 g cider vinegar

350 g water

200 g sugar

30 g salt

15 g pickling spice

2 tbsp mustard seeds

2 tbsp coriander seeds

2 tbsp hot red pepper flakes

2 tbsp allspice berries

1 tbsp ground mace

2 small cinnamon sticks, crushed or broken into pieces

2 to 4 bay leaves, crumbled

2 tbsp whole cloves

1 tbsp ground ginger


  1. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pickling spice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil
  2. Put processed peppers into a heatproof container
  3. Pour boiling pickling liquid through a strainer, over the chilies until they are fully submerged
  4. Cover with a paper towel and let sit at room temperature until cooled
  5. Transfer to the refrigerator and let sit for 3-5 days

To assemble the dish:

Picked Cilantro
Picked Mint
Pickled Fresno chilis
1 chickpea cake
4 Tbsp. curried cauliflower
2 oz. duck confit
1 oz. plain Greek yogurt

  • Place a dollop of the yogurt in the center of the plate and place chickpea cake on top. Spread cauliflower on chickpea cake and top with duck confit. Garnish with chilis, cilantro, and mint.

Cheers! 😀

Interested in more delicious wines and pairing recipes? Check out our exclusive sweet wine selection and treat yourself!