What we choose to drink with  food is mostly our choice. But we also can’t deny that there are certain beverages that make certain foods taste even better, hence the popularity of food and beverage pairings. 

For alcoholic drinks, food and drink pairings have become a popular way in which liquor brands and restaurants, sell more of their product. 
But what about those who don’t consume alcohol? Is there a way they can perfectly pair beverages that will enhance the taste of their food? 

We asked Shaun Munro, executive chef at Southern Sun Elangeni and Maharani, to share his food and non-alcoholic beverage pairings. 

“Most foodies that I get to deal with or cook for are into both food and alcoholic beverages (in particular wines) and it makes my life rather easy when it comes to pairing the meal when you have wine to play with. 

“However, it can become a little more challenging when one has to pair the meal without the complexities of alcoholic drink. 

"Everything is about demand equalling supply and I also believe that this concept has not quite had the time to develop as it has with the alcoholic pairing of food through history, time or tradition,” he said.
“When it comes to actual pairing, just like with the alcoholic side, one has to look at flavour compatibility. For example, ensuring that one flavour dominates or overpowers that of another,” he said.

So if you are looking either to give alcohol a break or have been struggling to find the perfect pairing of food and virgin drinks, Munro suggests you try the below options. 

Meal: Goat’s cheese and walnut salad 
Beverage: Fresh or infused fruit juices, like a gingered beetroot and apple juice.

Meal: Cheese burger and fries 
Beverage: Thick strawberry milkshake

Meal: Breakfast or brunch 
Beverage: Virgin bloody Mary

Meal: Exotic Asian meals 
Beverage: Home-made cinnamon-stick-infused ginger beer

Meal: Mediterranean cuisine 
Beverage: Home-made minty lemonade