The Christmas meal is well and truly consumed. Everyone is starting to feel more stuffed than the turkey they just ate. Now it’s time for the “pièce de résistance” – your marvellous dessert – what everyone is here for right?
This year instead of serving just the regular tea and coffee, give your guests a touch of something they will rave about for months to come.
Make your dessert experience unforgettable with an addition of a lovely dessert wine. A good sweet wine can really enhance the after-dinner experience. While some can be enjoyed on their own, dessert wines are best when paired with food, and using the wine to enhance the dessert and vice versa can lead to some pretty mind-blowing combinations. While there are many dessert wines here are but a few suggestions to get your
One of the most significant categories is fortified wines. These are made by adding grape spirit (brandy) to a wine either during or after fermentation. The most well known are sherry and port. Two of my favourties are Gran Barquero Oloroso PX and a lovely Sandeman Vintage Porto. Try serving these with a mixed aged cheese platter and crackers and of course with the Christmas pudding. These will be high in alcohol and usually highly sweet although sherries can be very dry so don’t assume any sherry will do.
One of my favourite wines is a late harvest or “noble rot” sweet wine. Don’t be put off by the “rot” as it is not really rot. They are grapes that have been exposed to a fungus called botrytis that causes the moisture to be extracted leaving a raisiny type grape with just the sweet sugars resulting in a lovely tasting sweet wine. Two common types are Riesling and what is arguable the world’s greatest sweet wine, Sauternes. Either of these will go nicely served with cheesecake crème caramel or even strawberries and cream.
But one of my new-found favourites is a Tokaji from Hungary. This wine is excellent with some black forest cake, cheesecake or crème caramel.
Any of these wines will give your dessert dishes that extra flair that one wouldn’t normally expect from a Christmas dinner. Again, the main thing is to experiment and find the combinations that you enjoy the most.
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