Pastry making is the only cooking science that defines itself as an "art" and desserts are one of life's great pleasures. But what wine should you pair them with? Let's see together the few rules you need to know to pair desserts well, not make mistakes and end lunch in a perfect way.
What you need to know about desserts and how to pair them with wine.
What does dessert mean?
From French: the last course , when the table has been cleared.
Are dessert and sweet the same thing?
We talk about desserts with reference to cakes and biscuits, while the term dessert is broader , also including all fruit-based preparations, semifreddos, ice creams...
What characterizes desserts?
Common elements of all desserts are sugar and flour (called "strong" if it is left to rise, "weak" if used to prepare desserts that do not rise, for example for fried desserts or shortcrust pastry).
At what point during lunch is dessert served?
Dessert is served as the last course , at the end of lunch.
Since when do you eat dessert at the end of the meal?
In Western cuisine, serving dessert at the end of the meal is a recent thing, typical of the contemporary age : in medieval times and in the modern age (from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century) dessert was generally served interspersed with savory or sweet and savory flavors were even present in the same dish. Today some memories of this way of cooking survive, especially in some northern cuisines: tortelli with pumpkin and amaretti (Brescia), boiled meat with mustard (Emilia Romagna, Piedmont, Lombardy), pasticcio alla Ferrarese, Roman-style cod, with raisins and pine nuts.
Rules to know for pairing desserts and wines well
1. The golden rule is that a dessert should be paired with a sweet wine .
2. And then: if there are liqueurs in the preparation, combine the same liqueur.
These are the characteristics of the dessert to keep in mind to match the right wine:
- Structure of the dessert , which requires a wine of equal character, structure and persistence (matching by analogy ).
- Amount of sweetness , which requires a wine of equal sweetness (matching by analogy ).
- Tendency towards fat , which requires matching by contrast . If the dessert has a strong tendency towards fat, pair it with a wine that really cleanses the palate (sparkling wine).
- Succulence or, on the contrary, a sponge effect , which requires a combination for contrast . If the dessert has great succulence, it should be paired with sweet wines of good alcohol content and structure (for example a passito wine ). On the contrary, if the dessert "dries" the mouth it is a good idea to pair it with low-alcohol, fresh and effervescent sweet wines because they restore salivation (for example Asti spumante).
- Aromaticity , determined for example by syrup and flavored fruits, which require pairing a wine with the same aromaticity, by analogy .
For further information on the principles of food-wine pairing, we have written a small guide .
Our suggested dessert-wine pairings
Panettone and Picolit or Asti sparkling wine.
Pandoro and Recioto di Soave.
Millefeuille with cream and Sauternes.
Almond paste and Zibibbo.
Lemon and Albana late harvest soufflé.
Chocolate and Vernaccia di Serrapetrona soufflé.
Vanilla and Malvasia delle Lipari soufflé.
Chocolate cream puff and Recioto della Valpolicella.
Tart and Aleatico Passito dell'Elba.
With ice cream, however, pairing it with wine is practically impossible: the low temperature anesthetizes the taste buds and the milk gives the wine an unpleasant flavour. It goes with water.
- Read also: what are fortified wines
At what temperature should sweet wines be served?
Sweet and aromatic sparkling wines are served at 6-8° C; Passiti and white liqueur wines at 10-12° C; Passiti and red liqueurs at 14-16° C.
For an easy and clear overview of serving temperatures: click here .
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