What goes well with Coq au Vin?
February 14, 2013 5:03 AM   Subscribe

I'm having dinner with some lovely friends who I haven't seen for ages. Coq au Vin will be the main course. What can I bring that will complement this dish in an amazing way? Wine, side dishes, hors d'oeuvres - all suggestions appreciated.
posted by h00py to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Well, whenever you're cooking with wine, at least you know that that kind of wine will go with the food well.
posted by steinwald at 5:07 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

What steinwald says, in this case a Bourgogne.
posted by ouke at 5:11 AM on February 14, 2013

Coq au Vin is traditionally a filling, flavorful and rich dish, and it's kind of a one-pot-meal deal. So side dishes might be amiss. You might want to do something fresh and crispy and light. Maybe some really wonderful fresh fruit for after? Pears, maybe.
posted by Mizu at 5:13 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Wine, bread, cheese, grapes and strawberries, sorbet after? It's a hearty dish and is full of flavor so I would suggest something light & crispy!
posted by Yellow at 5:19 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Pardon me if this question is too obvious, but have they asked you to bring wine or contribute to the meal?
posted by tel3path at 5:26 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Pardon me if this question is too obvious, but have they asked you to bring wine or contribute to the meal?

Even when someone tells you not to bring anything, you should never arrive at a social occasion like this without something in hand.

I would bring wine if they have not asked for anything specific, but I would suggest to them that I also bring a nice loaf of bread. If they agreed, I would bring bread and a bottle of wine.
posted by OmieWise at 5:33 AM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: They are cooking and I'm attending. I'd like to surprise them with something wonderful and apt.
posted by h00py at 5:38 AM on February 14, 2013

I personally HATE it when I go to the trouble of planning a wonderful meal and someone shows up with THEIR dish. Drives me nuts.

That said, of course you need to bring something, a bottle of wine for the host to enjoy at a future meal, croissants and a bag of coffee for breakfast the following morning, a pretty bouquet of flowers, catnip for their kitties, candles, a Dragon Fruit a small box of exquisite chocolates.

There are lots of small things that are good hostess gifts. Attempting to upstage your host/hostesses meal is NOT one of those things.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:47 AM on February 14, 2013 [6 favorites]

Like RB says above, unless specifically requested, bringing side dishes is a bit of a no-no. If requested though, polenta goes well. You can find recipes like this one or this one where cheese is added, but I think how much cheese, if at all, is optional for going with coq au vin. You can bring it, but it is best made there.

Wine is the simplest option, but over and above that a small selection of good quality artisan cheese is a great addition. Easy to bring, no mess, no mucking about with the main meal and you can offer the option to your hosts in advance.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:55 AM on February 14, 2013

Response by poster: No upstaging intended.
posted by h00py at 5:58 AM on February 14, 2013

Best answer: Good, crusty, locally made bread.
posted by jbickers at 6:01 AM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

Is she making them with artichokes? If so, it's pretty much the side dish. You can try asparagus, spinach salad, agree with the polenta. Or go for a dessert. I would say more like a creme brulee or tart. Otherwise a beautiful white wine (vionier) or beautiful flower display.
posted by stormpooper at 6:09 AM on February 14, 2013

I agree that a side dish isn't always a welcome surprise to a host who has gone to the trouble of planning an elaborate meal, but wine is always appropriate, or if you want something different, a nice cheese and a good baguette - find a good cheesemonger, get something from Bourgogne to complement coq au vin if they want to do a cheese course after dinner, but don't be too upset if they stick it in the fridge to eat it later. Or flowers. Flowers are great.
posted by hungrybruno at 6:12 AM on February 14, 2013

Please don't "surprise" your hosts by implying that they can't plan a meal without your help. Take a bottle of wine, but don't expect that it will be sevrved.
posted by Dolley at 6:15 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you haven't been specifically asked to bring something, it is usually best to bring something they can enjoy at another time, just in case. So a bottle of wine or some nice chocolate. That is something that they can serve with the meal if they like, or save for another time.
posted by hrj at 6:16 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you are a dinner guest the only acceptable thing to bring is drinks and perhaps chocolate or some small after dinner thing.

They have planned the meal and if they are cooking Coq Au Vin then they may already have desert / cheese covered. I also would never bring bread.

Actually a small bottle of Pastis, Ricard, Pernod etc to drink as an apertif before the meal might work?


or I will occasionally bring something for pre-dinner drinks - Champagne, Sekt etc.
posted by mary8nne at 6:22 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

There is absolutely no obligation to bring a gift to a social occasion like this, though it's nice to do so as long as the gift isn't too disruptive - make sure flowers are already in a vase when you hand them over, for example.

It's absolutely wrong to try to contribute part of a meal that somebody else has invited you to as their guest, and hasn't asked you to contribute anything. They planned the meal, possibly around certain guests' dietary issues, and you shouldn't show up and impose food or drink on them that they weren't expecting. I realize this question is well meant but it can be frustrating when you're trying to give hospitality to your friends and they find ways of not accepting it or of converting your party into their party; it's a bit controlling and might unintentionally come across as implying that the food and drink they were offering wouldn't be enough.

Your duties as a guest are to show up on time, with or without a hostess gift; to send them a thank-you note immediately afterwards; and to invite them over on a later occasion according to your capacities as a host, even if beans on toast is the best you can do.

If anyone thinks I'm being a curmudgeon: I fully understand that there are worse problems than friends trying to impose gifts or food on me. It's a good fault, to be sure. But I've had people say "oh let us bring something" and when I said I had it covered, they were adamant that they were going to bring salad and that nothing was going to stop them. Well, okay. They showed up late "sorry we're late - got lost" (I was one street away) and held up a grocery bag "I'm afraid the salad is still in a separated state, haha we really are the most disorganised couple!!!1!!!" I tried to say that was quite all right and we would manage just fine without a salad; meanwhile, the other, now delayed, courses were slowly congealing in the oven. Worse, my house was without reliable hot water so in order to do the necessary dish washing, I had spent a whole afternoon watching big pots of water come to a boil on the stove. Needless to say I had dirtied every dish and there was no way to get them the chopping board and knife they were stubbornly demanding, except by filling up another pot and starting the whole process again. I was nearly in tears by then, but that didn't matter. They'd got salad greens and they were gonna use 'em.

Then the other occasion when I tried to have a Halloween party and I carefully planned a theme with a haunted-house atmosphere and a special table setting, and my friends insisted they were going to bring food, pumpkin-related paper plates, and decorations. I guess they were under no obligation to like or be interested in whatever ideas I had about themes and whatnot, and they most likely only meant to be generous, but I did feel that the hospitality I was offering was getting rejected out of hand somewhat.
posted by tel3path at 6:52 AM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

wine, chocolate, finger-edible fruit, or flowers. agreed that something they can both use with the meal with minimal effort IF THEY CHOOSE or save to enjoy later is especially gracious.

one person's traumatizing experience doesn't mean social pleasantries have to go out the window for everyone else.
posted by dynamiiiite at 7:40 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Unless approved by the hostess, I would not bring anything to be served the night of the dinner party. At my dinner parties, I've usually already selected the dishes for all courses.

High-end flowers, preferably in a vase, an unusual orchid plant, a small box of handmade chocolates are all good. A good bottle of wine is nice but please don't be offended if it isn't served as they may have already selected particular wines to pair with their dishes.

That said, champagne is always nice and goes well before dinner or after. Suze, Lillet blanc or Lillet rouge, and Kir Royale are nice French aperitifs. Pernod, Pastis and Ricard mentioned above are anise flavored and may not be popular with everyone. Calvados, French apple brandy, is a wonderful after dinner drink.

If you don't want to bring a food item, good wine glass charms nicely wrapped would be quite nice.

My personal recommendation would be Calvados.
posted by shoesietart at 9:55 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Champagne does go with every food. As long as you're prepared to have them not serve it that night, you probably can't go wrong with champagne.
posted by tel3path at 10:50 AM on February 14, 2013

Nthing the "do not bring dinner food" above. Flowers, before or after-dinner liqueur, champagne or something lovely for their breakfast.
posted by cyndigo at 1:39 PM on February 14, 2013

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