Cupid takes aim: Pairing wine with dessert

(Written for the Los Altos Town Crier)

When I imagine Cupid stringing his bow and taking aim at a soon-to-be-in-love couple, I envision a platter of some sweet concoction and a goblet of dessert wine beside him. Both seem to be the most fitting fuel for the winged master of amore as he goes about his happy business of sparking love.
Of course, I also imagine that pairing wine with dessert comes easily for Cupid, who knows a thing or two about passionate pairings. For us mere mortals, however, deciding on which wine to drink with dessert can be a bit more hit and miss. To get your aim right this Valentine’s Day, I’m offering some thoughts on dessert and wine pairing.

Pairing basics
When selecting a wine to serve with dessert, I first consider “mouthfeel” – the physical and chemical interaction of the pairing in your mouth. Dark chocolate, for instance, has a creamy, slow-melting mouthfeel with hints of roasted nuts and dark-cherry flavors. It pairs perfectly with a late-harvest Zinfandel.
Apart from mouthfeel, the basic guidance for dessert and wine pairing is to make sure the sweetness of the dessert matches the sweetness of the wine. In other words, you don’t want your dessert to be much sweeter than what you are drinking. If the dessert is too sweet, it will “dry out” the wine.
With these two guiding principles in mind, it’s easier to select a wine that complements your Valentine’s dessert of choice. Whether your date is a fan of fruity pastries, creamy puddings or blocks of chocolate, the following hints will guarantee a sweet ending to your Valentine’s Day.
For the rest of the story, head over to the Los Altos Town Crier.


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