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Christmas baking and wine; why not!?

If you only enjoy cookies and croissants with your punch in the run-up to Christmas, you're missing out. After all, the pleasure can be significantly enhanced with precise matching to gingerbread, speculoos and the like. We rummaged through our cookie jar and cellar to find the best combinations for you.

The combination of cookies and wine has not yet become a real ritual in this country. The Tuscans have a head start on us when they dip their cantuccini in vin santo with relish. Yet Austria, the nation of sweet wines AND pastries, is the one that would be called upon here. The official attempts once made by "Wein Burgenland" to pair Beerenauslese wines in confectioners' shops came to nothing. So you need to be proactive to find the most delicious combinations with vanilla crescents and gingerbread.

Gingerbread loves the Traminer

The patisserie has an unbeatable tip for the latter, because good sommeliers almost reflexively serve gingerbread as a mousse or parfait with Traminer - up to the sugar level of a Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA). It's one of the truly heavenly pleasure pairings. The spices of gingerbread and the sweetness of pineapple and rose in wine are almost a textbook example of how food and drink can harmonise.

While we're on the subject of tried and tested combinations; you can also learn a thing or two from the Christmas drinking habits of the British. It may be a cliché that sherry is only uncorked once a year at the holidays - but the Spanish wine definitely has potential as an accompaniment to Christmas cookies. Cinnamon stars, for example, go wonderfully with a Pedro Ximenez, but with its dried fruit notes it is also a great accompaniment to dried fruit bread or date cookies.

Nutty note in the drink too

Its slightly less sweet "cousin", Oloroso Sherry, on the other hand, is perfect with hazelnut biscuits. The caramel-sweet base and the nutty flavour notes complement each other almost perfectly. Which, by the way, also works well with the almondy "Spekulatius".

The wine with the pre-Christmas panettone is also almost "canonical". The Piedmontese rule of thumb is simple: the more fruity notes candied orange and lemon zest add to the yeast dough, the better a glass of Moscato d'Asti goes with it. Fragrant and aromatic with subtle nuances of mandarin and grapefruit, it carries on the sweetness of dough and dried fruit. The local equivalent would be a Muskat Ottonel or a Rosenmuskateller (at least Auslese!) with Kletzenbrot.


The Windringerl challenge

The only difficult part is the Austrian meringue, which, with its mix of egg whites and sugar, presents a challenge for tannins (in red wines) and acidity (in many white wines). The middle ground of a fruity rosé however, can be chosen for its slightly acidic nature, such as the new Prosecco rosés. Please only choose one with a slightly higher dosage and maximum Pinot Noir content (15%). This approach can also be remembered beyond the holidays for macarons, especially those with red fruits such as raspberry or cherry.

Vanilla croissants and the variety

And the biggest classic among Christmas cookies? What's the best thing to drink with vanilla crescents if it's not tea or coffee? The slightly sweeter sparkling wines - from semi-dry sparkling wine to fruity crémants - are ideal here. White Burgundy varieties matured in wood (Chardonnay or Pinot Gris) also add suitable aromas of tropical fruit and vanilla. Especially if you don't want it to be too sweet. This combination generally applies to cookies with a high butter content and little to no jam.

A special treat, however, would be the Fior d'Arancio, the Muscat speciality of the Colli Euganei around Padua. In addition to the sweet version, it is also made into biscuits, again with residual sugar, which covers the vanilla sugar like a glaze. However, the almost forgotten wine Chadeau is also a wonderful accompaniment to the croissants. You can then dip almost as extensively as with Vin Santo.

Roland Graf
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