Reviewers’ Food & Drink Tips for Super Bowl Sunday

We’re counting down the final days to Super Bowl LII, when the Philadelphia Eagles take on the New England Patriots at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. 

Whether you’re in it as a die-hard fan or perhaps you only want to watch Justin Timberlake’s halftime performance, one thing is for certain: food and drink will be had. And if you’re lucky, you’ll partake in an epic tailgate party.

Curious as to what you should be pairing with your spread? Not to worry—our reviewers are here to the rescue. 

“As a long-time Buffalo Bills fan, the words ‘Super Bowl’ and ‘wide right’ cause me to wince,” says managing editor Joe Czerwinski. “So, forgive me if my tips for enjoying football on TV are geared more toward the regular season than the big game. I’m sure they’ll work just as well—after all, every summer I renew my DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket to be sure of seeing every one of my team’s games.”

Czerwinski’s food of choice? Wings. “There’s nothing else that encapsulates football and Buffalo like chicken wings slathered in hot sauce, Blue cheese dressing and frills like carrot and celery sticks are optional, but help to counter the heat if you’ve gone overboard on the spice.” 

At home, Czerwinski grills his wings on the lowest temperature possible to avoid scorching, or he roasts them in an oven at 425˚F. “Spatters of chicken fat on the oven interior should be expected,” he adds, “which is why the grill option is preferred. Both avoid the extra fat of deep-frying.”

Though the traditional sauce of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, and butter is, indeed, preferred, anything goes: “A touch of barbecue sauce lends sweetness, Worcestershire sauce adds a savory note, or spike the heat with your favorite ultra-hot sauce.”

For the pairing, Czerwinski recommends beer—the more “authentic” choice. “Keep it sessionable, as properly hot wings demand plenty of liquid accompaniment. High-alcohol and extra-hoppy beers provide less refreshment and may even accentuate the spice.”
Photo courtesy of Pausa restaurant.

The Wine Advocate managing editor follows his wings course with homemade pizza that’s ready to come out at halftime. This is where the wine comes in. With pizza, there are plenty of vinous options, largely depending on your individual tastes and toppings. “One of my favorite choices is Lambrusco,” he says. “Not the sweet white or pink stuff, but serious, dark red and secco [dry], whose acids, bubbles and tannins will cut through the cheesiness of the pizza. Look for a recent vintage [or fresh nonvintage] from a serious producer, like Cavicchioli, Cleto Chiarli, Fattoria Moretto, Medici Ermete, or Paltrinieri, among others. With their modest alcohol levels [typically under 12% ABV], you can knock back a few glasses without feeling too much pain the next day.”

Reviewer Mark Squires—and devoted Eagles fanatic—plans to drink something sweet: “Final decisions include old Tawny Port and some Moscatels from Setùbal,” he says. “I think sweet things will be necessary because nothing will be sweeter than seeing the Eagles kick the Patriots back to Boston. I do have some Boston sympathizers in the family. I try to ignore them. They've had enough sweet things over the last decade. Every dynasty ends.”

“That's just me, of course,” Squires continues. “Reasonable minds may differ on wine choices. For everyone else, I would recommend breaking out bubbly to celebrate when the Eagles beat the Pats. Use some fresh whites to start, so you don't get too drunk and miss all the plays where the Eagles make the Pats look bad. Then, you'll still have some alcohol tolerance to pop a big red with your main course. I hear big reds going really well with goat. Or, as some might spell it, G.O.A.T. A nice Mouro 2003 will be awesome with freshly slaughtered GOAT. But save some sweet wine for the end. The worst that happens is that the Evil Empire wins and you have to drink yourself to sleep.”

Duly noted.

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