Aperitif culture comes to us from the continent, and classic aperitif food pairings therefore skew Mediterranean: think olives, cured meats, crostini, even arancini. But for modern British aperitifs – which depart from traditional recipes with bold new flavours, exotic ingredients, and other innovative twists – what should be the snacking serves of choice?
For a dose of culinary wisdom, we went to chef Anna Hansen at The Modern Pantry, known for her eclectic dishes, which feature ingredients and techniques sourced from global cuisines – expect everything from amchur-crusted beef tataki to cassava spring rolls stuffed with chermoula roast pumpkin and carrot-yuzu puree. She has shared her tips and inspiration for anyone looking to serve modern British aperitif’s – with a platter of something delicious on the side.
Anna Hansen: ‘For me, the perfect aperitif snack is three or four bites of something with a real wow factor – something that complements what I am drinking by playing on key notes of the particular drink. Flavours should be punchy, interesting and fresh, without being overly complicated.’
With Kamm & Sons’s flavour profile in mind, what would be an excellent food pairing?
‘I love Kamm & Sons with citrus flavours, black garlic, black cardamom and chilli, so a fantastic pairing would be a dish like prawns crusted in ajowan and krupuk [ingredients used in Southeast Asian cooking], served with a feisty Singapore style sauce.’
What’s your preferred food and drink pairing in the late afternoon?
‘I’ve always been partial to an Eccles Cake from St. John’s – one of my absolute favourite things. I can envision myself sitting outside on a summer’s afternoon with an Eccles cake and a perfectly chilled glass of Belsazar White Vermouth.’
Beyond traditional Italian aperitif serves, what kinds of dishes would work well with modern, British aperitifs?
‘Given the range of flavour profiles available in modern British aperitifs, they’re brilliantly versatile – and if ever there was a time when it was acceptable to try something new, it’s now! Beyond the expected tasty nibbles, I think the latest generation of aperitifs are equally comfortable paired with dishes ranging from salads, grilled fish and meats, to desserts, brunch, and even for afternoon tea.’
‘I am extremely excited about our growing list. Although it is still in its infancy, we have a respectable range of both traditional and modern tipples from producers that span the globe.’
We would highly recommended dropping by The Modern Pantry in Finsbury and working your way through the aperitif list!