How to finish a bottle of sweet wine – Part 2
In the first part of this blog entry, I served a sweet white wine, Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, with three different desserts and these pairings worked beautifully.
In this second part, I’m coming up with the rest of the dinner menu to pair with this wine. The goal here is to be able to finish an entire bottle of sweet wine between two people at a single dinner so none of the wine goes to waste. I know that sweet wines are hard to drink in large amounts and they are also less conventional to pair with savory foods. However, the menu that I came up with works really harmoniously with the wine from start to finish.
First up is the appetizer. A classic pairing with sweet white wine is foie gras. You can go with either goose or duck, the latter having stronger flavors and former being more delicate in flavor yet unctuous in texture. If opting for canned or jarred foie gras, it’s always best to go for entier, meaning the liver was cooked whole, and mi-cuit, meaning it is the cooking time is a lot shorter. The best duck foie gras is made in the Perigord region, in the southwest of France. Perigord is the ultimate duck region!
My favorite duck foie-gras producer is Vidal:
I’m serving the foie gras with some homemade brioche. It takes a long time to make brioche from scratch but it is well worth the effort!
You really can’t go wrong with the foie gras and sweet wine pairing. So opulent and delicious!
For the main course, I got inspired by Asian flavors. Sweet and spicy flavors in food go really well with sweet wine and I decided to make pork tenderloin. I marinaded the tenderloin in Japanese dried red chilies, ginger, garlic, and shallots. I then used the marinade to make the sauce, adding jus and some of the wine – it is the wine that gives this dish its sweetness. I seared the tenderloin and served it with some pea puree, blanched cherry tomatoes, and greens. I loved the interplay of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors.
The wine worked with this dish for a couple of reason. First, with a spicy dish it’s better to choose a sweet wine, as that will alleviate the heat. You definitely want to stay away from tannic wines as spice accentuates the bitter flavors that come from tannins. Second, sweet foods always pair best with sweet wines, and worst with dry wines (see more on this in Part I of this entry).
Now for the cheese course! When it comes to cheese and wine pairings, one of my favorites is blue cheese and sweet white wine. Such an amazing pairing! The sweetness and the richness of the wine work wonderfully to soften the sharp and salty flavors in the cheese. For this very reason, I also love sweet fresh figs with blue cheese. At the same time, the pungent and strong flavors in the cheese are perfect to moderate the sweetness of the wine, making the wine appear lighter not only in terms of flavor but also texture. For the cheese course, I have a very special blue cheese that I brought back from Istanbul. It is called Obruk cheese and it is aged in sheep’s skin. When you buy it, it still has the skin attached on the outside.
Obruk is drier and saltier than many blue cheeses, such as Gorgonzola or Roquefort and the flavors are more concentrated. I love this cheese! If you take a trip to Turkey, I definitely recommend giving this a try.
The final course is, of course, dessert, which I covered in Part 1 of this entry. If you haven’t already, check out: How to finish a bottle of sweet wine – Part I.
For lots more pictures of food and wine, check out my Instagram account:@thatperfectbottle