Do you remember being young? Little and being taken somewhere nice to eat? What was the one thing that was said that brought feelings of hope, expectation and also possible impending doom?
PinWell for me, it was “You won’t get any pudding if you don’t finish your meal.” As Pink Floyd put it into the chorus of Brick in the wall part 2 “If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding.
”How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?”
Pudding, in my opinion, is just the best bit of any meal. There used to be a bar in Covent Garden that only served puddings and wines to match.
The screens showed Charlie Chapin films and Italian Football on alternate screens. Just a beautiful place to waste away most of a day. It’s not there now.
However, I still love puddings. Do I really need the meal?
Well, here is the point to this. Here is a beginner’s guide to dessert wines, why they work and what might be worth choosing.
Why Dessert Wine
Puddings should be sweet, sugary, sticky and delicious. They should coat the mouth with sweetness. As soon, then, as you add any sort of liquid into your mouth it is going to be met with a wall of sweetness.
If the drink isn’t sweet there is going to be a clash. It will lead to a rather unpleasant taste sensation in the mouth. The pudding will suddenly not taste as beautiful and the wine will taste way too sharp. Both ruined. The sensation of fillings melting. Unpleasant.
There are many ways to create sweet wine. Delay the harvest, let them dry out or use natural methods of Botrytis. There are many many dessert wines, and most UK supermarkets will carry a selection, but you might have to hunt for them. Quite often they are sold in half bottle size.
This will give you an idea why they are hard to find on the shelf and how much to drink. They are really sweet, and sometimes very high in alcohol. They are designed to accompany the pudding. Think on!
Choosing the right one!
Here are just a few desert wines and an idea of what would pair with them.
Pedro Ximenez Sweet Sherry, from Spain. Accompanies coffee cake well, but as someone said recently when they caught is scent for the first time ever “It smells of Christmas.” It also makes a great pairing with a chocolate brownie and vanilla ice-cream. Drizzle it over the top. Adds something wonderful to a hot chocolate drink too!
Banuyls, from France, makes a wonderful accompaniment to either banana fritters of, as summer approaches, Banana splits.
Riesling, from Germany. Look for the word on the label that indicates it is the sweet version, a great word here that only the Germans could construct Trockenbeerenauslese. If you have an apple or cherry and pastry combination, especially cold as a summer desert in thin slices, think tarts!
Sauternes, also from France pairs well with deserts with lots of honey, but if you can construct a Banana, Pear and Chocolate crumble, this is the wine you are looking for.
From Italy try out Vin Santo. Nothing more complicated needed than some biscotti. Dip, dunk and enjoy.
I mustn’t leave out my particular favourite dessert wine. Coming from the South West of France is the joy that is Jurancon. They produce a sweet called Jurancon and a dry which is called Jurancon sec. Buy the Jurancon.
It is sweet and full of fruit flavours. You should find mango and ripe pineapple in there. My recommendation would be to pair it up with any custard filled pastry or quite simply a crème brulee.
These are just a few ideas to really make what is the best part of the meal even better. Treat yourself to a wine made simply to make the pudding even better. Think about that for a moment.
Pudding….made better! Wine, just for the pudding! What really could top that? Try it and see. If there is anything better than a really great pudding, it’s a really great pudding with the correct desert wine.