One of the most noticeable things about Middle Eastern food is that it usually comes in lots of forms, all at once, like a Mesopotamian mezze! There’s all sorts going on, with many textures and tastes on offer in whatever combo you want.

This can make things complicated if you try to pair a couple or more wines with the varied repast. It’s better to make things simple and go for the common denominator of a refreshing sparkling white, as this will work with all the different flavors. It’ll cut through the olive oil, wash away the saltiness and soothe the heat. Perfect.

Try a Chardonnay

Chardonnays tend to be more acidic, so if you’re not into fizz, you’ll find it works just as well to complement and (in some cases) tame the flavors. It can be quite complex, with lemon and flowers going on, which is just perfect for Middle Eastern dining.

What to pair with other Middle Eastern classics


You can’t do Middle Eastern without hummus and this chickpea paste’s earthy but complex taste needs something to compete with it, like a fresh, sprightly Californian Sauvignon Blanc.

Grilled or slow-cooked lamb

More rich, earthy flavors here, but with lamb you need a red. Lamb and Syrah are perfect partners, with the hints of spice and pepper in the wine working well with the seasoning in the lamb. The wine should also serve to cut through any fattiness.

Any eggplant dish

Eggplant has an underlying bitterness to it which always comes through despite the smoothness of the baba ganoush. Rather than hide from it, you should pick it out some more with a Gewürtztraminer as this wine also has a bitter undertone. It also has a slight spiciness to it that’ll go well with ras-el-hanout or harissa dishes.

Back to the hummus

You may be serving hummus as the main attraction or as the anchor to your table, in which case, put it first when you come to choose your pairing.