For wine and desserts to work well, the wine must be at least as sweet as the dish. Weight and texture are also important. Successful marriages can be devised by analysing and balancing keynote characteristics. Vin Santo, Tokaj, Madeira and Pedro Ximenez reveal nuances of nuts, marmalade and mocha, complementing chocolate-based dishes and Christmas pudding. They are delicious with old-fashioned vanilla ice cream, the cold cutting through sweetness. Good Muscats have an uplifting grape character, which works well with dried and fresh fruit. Less well-known, red Vins Doux Naturels complement often tricky chocolate desserts and wine-poached fruit. Sauternes, with the best of its aspirant consorts, combines naturally rich, grape sweetness with a freshness borne of healthy acidity. They should always be delectably vibrant, never cloying. Sauternes complements cream based desserts, such as crème brûlée, crème caramel. A well-balanced dessert wine, such as a sweet German wine, can easily replace pudding itself, sips of richness balanced by freshness, a perfect end to a meal. German and Alsatian dessert wines and New World equivalents are also delicious with orchard fruit. Or why not have a bubble or two?
See below for our recipe suggestion and matching wines
Our dessert recipe: Peaches in Thyme Syrup with softly-whipped Vanilla Cream
Ingredients 4 ripe peaches 300ml double cream 1-2 tablespoons icing sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup vermouth 1 cup sugar 1 cup water Fresh thyme Lemon juice
Score a cross on the bottom of each peach and blanche for a few minutes in boiling water, until the skin begins to come away at the score and can be easily peeled. Remove with a slotted spoon, plunge into cold water and cool completely. Remove from water and peel.
Put the vermouth, sugar, water and thyme in a pan and simmer until reduced to about 1/3 of the original volume, add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste and set aside to cool.
Softly whip the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla.
Serve each peach with a generous dollop of cream and drizzle with syrup.