The Six Best Food Matches for Sweet Sherry

The Six Best Food Matches for Sweet Sherry

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The Six Best Food Matches for Sweet Sherry

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1. Blue cheese

These days oloroso is officially a dry classification, although some labels still refer to traditional terms such as “Oloroso Dulce”. In its sweet incarnation, Oloroso is blended with Pedro Ximénez. The top examples are matured for many years in barrel to create an intensely rich, nutty, complex mouthful, their sweetness balanced by a dark chocolate bitterness.

Similarly to vintage port, this is a style that lends itself well to the sharp, salty tang of blue cheese. If you want to stick to a Spanish theme then try Cabrales, a speciality from the mountainous Picos de Europa in the north of the country. Alternatively, reach for your own favourite blue cheese, whether Gorgonzola, Roquefort or Stilton. For complete harmony between plate and glass, add some dried fruit and nuts to the cheeseboard.


Blue cheese

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2. Walnut tart

There’s a distinctly nutty character to sweet Oloroso sherry that chimes beautifully with desserts on this theme. Indeed, some sherry producers like to describe their portfolio in terms of nuts, aligning the flavour of fino to almonds, amontillado to hazelnuts and Oloroso to walnuts.

The French culinary canon has a perfect match here: walnut tart. It’s not just the nuts that make this pairing sing though. Add the caramelised element of the tart to the lingering burnt sugar character of sweet Oloroso and there’s a pretty heavenly match on your hands.

Don’t feel obliged to restrict yourself to walnuts though. There are plenty of other nut-based desserts that also cry out for sweet Oloroso. Pecan pie is a US classic that’s well worth embracing in any case, but especially if you have a special sherry bottle to show off.


Walnut tart

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3. Fresh oranges

Sweet sherry is a natural dessert wine, but that doesn’t just mean the rich comfort food of a cold winter’s night. After all, this is a wine made in the glorious sunshine of southern Spain. You can almost picture those ripe, bright, juicy Andalucian oranges – but don’t just squeeze them for breakfast; they also happen to go beautifully with cream sherry.

For the simplest pleasure match, try adding a slice of orange to an ice-cold glass of good quality cream sherry. Or take that partnership to the next stage by serving a refreshing summery dessert of sliced oranges that have been happily marinating in cloves, cinnamon and sugar syrup.


Fresh oranges

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4. Cake

There are times when a cup of tea doesn’t quite offer the indulgence required for a cake occasion. Demi-sec champagne is one option, but if warming comfort is called for over outright celebration then reach for some good cream sherry.

As for the cake, a sophisticated bitter orange or ginger-based creation would play deliciously with the flavours in your glass, but so too would any sort of fruit cake. Every nation has its favourite interpretation, from Germany’s festive stollen to the indulgent panforte and panettone of Italy, bollo de higo in Spain and – from a country never to be outdone when it comes to sweet treats – Portuguese bolo rei.


Fruit cake

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5. Dark chocolate

At the very sweetest end of the sherry spectrum – in fact one of the sweetest wines on the planet – is Pedro Ximénez, more conveniently referred to as PX. Almost black in colour, this is Christmas pudding in a bottle, its velvet texture thick with raisined fruit and molasses. For some people this is a dessert in itself, the idea of adding any more sugar to the mix too overwhelming a prospect.

However, if you just fancy a little something then don’t try to compete with that tooth-tingling sweetness; instead aim for contrast with a bitter hit of top quality dark chocolate. It’s a perfect platform to show off the figgy nectar in your glass.


Dark chocolate

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6. Vanilla ice cream

For a more refreshing approach to PX, forget the wine glass altogether and simply drizzle your sherry over good quality vanilla ice cream. The viscous liquid works superbly as a sauce; meanwhile the deep, dark, molten raisin character is shown off beautifully and given a refreshing twist by the cold ice cream. If you’re looking for a dessert that combines minimal preparation with a sophisticated sense of fun, then PX with ice cream is an absolute winner.


Vanilla ice cream

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