What are the best wines for traditional Christmas Desserts?
Christmas is quickly approaching and it’s time to get ready for big celebrations, quality time with family and friends and endless meals made of delicious food and wine.
To get you in the mood for the upcoming feasts we have decided to spend a few words on Christmas desserts and their perfect wine match because, we all know that the typical sweets of this period are so rich in flavor with dry and candied fruits, nuts, spices, chocolate (and much more), that it may be difficult to find their best alcoholic companion!
Let’s start from the major rule in wine and food pairing: dessert goes with sweet wine. As much as we want to be open minded with wine and food, you should never match a dry wine with dessert…That’s a no-no.
Italian Christmas desserts
If this year you want to give an Italian twist to your Christmas dinner, you will probably choose Panettone or Pandoro, traditional buttery desserts from Northern Italy, soft and dry with raisins and candied fruits. With these delicacies there is nothing better than some Italian bubbles to cleanse your palate and exalt the fruity notes: our suggestion is Moscato d’Asti, gentle on acidity and delicately sweet.
Northern European countries such as Denmark and Sweden will instead serve rice pudding at the end of the meal and, to digest everything, they would normally drink some gløgg, a super-alcoholic version of vin brûlé. But, if you have not the “physique du role” for this, or, like me, you are just not a fan of vin brûlé, the right wine could be some Riesling Vendage Tardive (late harvest) from Alsace. Alternatively, fire up Wine Picker, a digital sommelier to find more options.
In France, as well as in many other francophone countries, Christmas dinner ends with a Buche de Noel; this rolled cake comes in several different variants but the chocolate one is the classic choice. The magical wine match is made with red sweet wines such as the local Banuyls and Maurys. In fact, these wines are great companions for chocolate, especially when this is dark and slightly bitter.
Eastern Europe has a wide selection of spicy cakes, often based on very long preparations, and one of the most popular is the polish Makowiec, a scrumptious strudel like cake filled with walnuts or poppy seeds, butter and honey. It is rich and intensely flavored. Drink tawny Port with it.
British Christmas pudding
Last but not least, you may wonder what to match with the traditional British Christmas pudding. We left it at the end, for a specific reason. It is probably the trickiest match of all Christmas desserts, as, due to the use of brandy in the recipe, some think that it should not be accompanied by any wine.
But hey, it’s Christmas…it’s the end of the meal, you want to finish on a high note.
No worries, we have the wine for you: try it with an Hungarian Tokaji…not a cheap option, maybe, but the perfect choice to end your dinner in style!
Merry Christmas and…cheers!