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Dessert And Wine A Valentines Day Tasting And Guest Pairing From Anatoli@ Talk A Vino!

Pug and wine Print (Easy)

Pug and wine Print (Etsy)

This is Part II of my Valentines Post, the cake will be paired with wine,  I am not adept at pairing so I looked to my friends, the experts for the perfect pairing for this dessert. Anatoli whose wonderful, informative blog Talk A Vino is one of my go to sources when I want information regarding wine and everything involving the wine culture. I will be posting the wine pairing in a separate post. Anatoli has gone above and beyond and we will be comparing 3 different wines, I felt that this deserves a separate post. I had no idea pairing wine or Champagne or sparkling wine with chocolate is difficult but it is. Isn’t that pug the cutest, Michelle from Rockin Red Blog tweeted to me and when I saw it I had to have it, found on Etsy, bought it and I am now the proud owner of this print. The pug looks like my Izzy.

I thought it would be fun to invite some friends over on Valentines Day and have them participate in the dessert/wine tasting.  Anatoli chose a sparkling red, a Brachetto di Acqui from the Piedmont region of Italy. He suggested Rosa Regale and while searching for this wine I also came across one that sounded interesting also and Anatoli gave it his stamp of approval so I got both the one I added is Marceno Brachetto di Acqui, now this is not the wine I ordered, I wanted the Marceno Spumante Brochette di Acqui but they sent the wrong one, same grape so we’ll give it a go.  The other suggestion was a Port Wine. When I told Anatoli I didn’t like Port, he asked if I have ever tried a 20 year old Tawny to which I said no I hadn’t. I decided to add  a bottle of Taylor Fladgate 20 year Tawny port also.

The lineup of wines

The lineup of wines

Here is Anatoli’s Write up:

Pairing Dessert with Wine
When fellow blogger and a wonderful cook Suzanne asked me if I would be interested in providing some suggestions for Champagne or Sparkling wine to pair with dessert, I bravely said “of course”. Yes, “of course”, but pairing dessert with wine is generally not an easy fit, outside of nice Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot with equally nice dark chocolate. And Champagne or Sparkling wine don’t bode particularly well with the desserts, unless we are talking about lightly fizzed Moscato, which generally stands a better chance of pairing with the dessert.
Next email brought in more details about the dessert: it will be a “Chocolate cake filled with blood orange curd.cream and frosted with chocolate nutella buttercream”. Urgh. Lots of ingredients, lots of flavors – no straightforward pairing.
Pairing of the wine and food can go in three different ways. Well, to be precise, there is another option, but it it is not worth talking about as the option #4 is called “fail” – this is when wine and food don’t work together. Three positive variants can be called indifferent, complementing and contrasting. Indifferent simply means that even when you take a sip of wine with your food, both wine and food stay in their own realm and don’t bother each other. Complementing and contrasting usually means that your experience is enhanced by adding wine to the food. Big tannic wine is often works well with the steak by complementing the flavors. Cutting acidity of the white wines can be great with appetizers by bringing out sweet notes. So all of this is good in theory, but then we have a particular pairing to do at hand.
So for the dessert above, I need to think about it. First we got chocolate cake – but then we got blood orange cream, and lots of sugar – we need to go into the sweet wines here, and sweet Champagne is simply not something I have a knowledge of. Moscato? Might be, but I wouldn’t do Moscato with chocolate, we need deeper flavors. So, what to do, what to do – ahh, I know – how about some Brachetto d’Aqcui? Brachetto d’Acqui is an Italian wine, produced from Brachetto grape and typically fizzed and sweet. The red grape profile of this wine makes it better suitable for the dishes with chocolate, and sweetness typically is not overpowering, which should make it a good complement. So my recommendation was Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui, which also comes in a very nice and presentable bottle (remember, your enjoyment of the wine starts form the bottle and the label, so bottle matters).
Okay, so I found a suggestion for the sparkling wine, but considering the complexity of the flavors (don’t forget “chocolate nutella buttercream”), I wanted to suggest something else to complement this dessert. One of the first thoughts was about Pedro Ximenez Jeres, but it might be way too sweet for this seemingly delicate dessert. So, if not Jerez, then may be Port? Yes, Port should work perfectly! Not any Port – the young Vintage port will overpower the dessert, and the young Ruby or Tony will be lost on it. But 20-years old Tawny ( or anything older that that), should work fine, considering the variety of flavor such port possesses – all of the hazelnut and almond flavors, dry figs, raising, dates – there is a lot in the aged Port profile which could make it an ideal suitor of the this dessert. As an additional bonus, going with 20+ old year’s Port gives an additional advantage – lots of choices. You can go with Graham, Taylor, Sandeman, Burmester and many many others, and they all should work quite well with the dessert.
Well again – for me, it is just a theoretical exercise. For Suzanne? She actually will have to do the hard part – entertain people and drink the wines with the dessert – and I’m really curious to know how did it go.

Well, before I will turn it over to Suzanne to tell the rest of this pairing story, I have to also share my scary moment with this pairing (happy food and scary moments don’t bode well together, don’t they?) After all was said and done and Suzanne got the wines and was ready for her evening, I saw her latest post popping up on Friday, talking about “Tartlets With Blood Orange Curd, Whipped Cream And Nutella”. My heart literally sunk – this is the dessert Suzanne is serving, and it is apparently different from the original – and she has the wines – how is it going to work now? Well, Nutella still was the there, and it technically represents both hazelnuts and chocolate, so I shouldn’t lose the hope…
Now it is really the time for Suzanne to tell the rest of the story…

Dessert is served

Dessert is served

First of all I feel so badly that I changed the dessert, well it really was the same flavors but in a different form. My cake failed mainly because of the pan I bought, long story that I won’t get into now. I decided to make the tartlets, I’m sure you saw my FF#55 post. I planned a Valentines Day dinner party and invited some close friends, we had lamb kofta in a tomato sauce with eggplant, basmati rice prepared in the Persian way,  labneh  and lots of salads, and with this I served a wonderful 2008 Napa Valley Zinfandel (Green and Red from Chiles Mill Vineyards) and it paired very nicely it was really a great wine.

I served the dessert to my friends with the Rosa Regale Brachetto di Acqui. The wine was bubbly, and I served well chilled in champagne flutes. Everyone got some of the tart and I also served the chocolate cake with a simple cream cheese buttercream. The wine was light and fruity, on the nose fresh berries, it’s like springtime in a glass, tasting this wine you are immediately overwhelmed with the lovely taste of fresh fruit, strawberries, peaches and nectarines. It’s a bit sweet but in a very good way. All of my guests including myself absolutely loved this wine with the tart, it was in my humble opinion a perfect pairing, honestly it could not have been better. We finished the wine and dessert and at that point could not have anymore so decided to save the port for the next day.

Rosa Regale

Rosa Regale

I want to thank Anatoli@Talk A Vino  for helping me with this very special and highly successful pairing. It was a wonderful evening and thanks to Anatoli’s expertise and intuitive pairing a really wonderful and delicious dessert. Thank you so much Anatoli!! Please check his blog out, there is a wealth of information about wine, including great recommendations, reviews and tutorials. A definite must read for anyone interested in learning more about wine and the wine culture.

A very special thank you to Maia and Laila my young and willing helpers who decorated the Valentines table for me, isn’t it pretty!!!

 

98 Comments Post a comment
  1. Suzanne, it feels like you ventured a little beyond what is usual for you, and that’s always a wonderful thing. I’ve always enjoyed port, but i’m not at all familiar with Brachetto d’Acqui. Now i will be dreaming of it! Your get-together seems to have been a delightful success!
    And i’m glad you gave yourself the gift of the adorable pug print. My first thought was that she looked like Izzy — such a lovely memento. Mega-hugs my friend. 🙂

    February 15, 2015
    • Thank you Teagan, I was definitely out of my element but had a lot of fun. The dessert and wine was great together. That pug print the minute I saw it made me think of Izzy.

      February 15, 2015
  2. Suzanne, I love this post – and that print does look like Izzy! I think this must have been one wonderful party, the food, desserts, wine! I love to hear how wine experts come about with their decisions on how to pair a dish with wine because I always learn so much; much more than when I just read about a certain wine. Happy belated Valentine’s Day!

    February 15, 2015
    • Everything was great yesterday, the food and wine and company. Thank you so much and Happy Valentines day although belated to you also.

      February 15, 2015
  3. Great job . . . to both you and Anatoli! It’s been a while since I had the Rosa Regale, but I remember it to be a wonderful wine. Very festive! Salud!!

    February 15, 2015
    • It’s definitely different than the wine I normally enjoy but was wonderful and perfect with the dessert. Thank you so much.

      February 15, 2015
  4. talkavino #

    Thank you for all the kind words, Suzanne! Glad you and your guests liked the wine, and glad it all worked together! Love the print – the pug seems to be seriously into the wine…

    February 15, 2015
    • Yes, thats a serious wine loving pug in the print. LOL, Thanks so much Anatoli for the great write up, the excellent pairing with my dessert and putting up with my cake flop and change of dessert. You’re the best.

      February 15, 2015
  5. The dessert of course sounds amazing and the wine pairings sound great. I am so excited you used the Pug print!!!! As soon as I saw it i knew you would love it! Perfect pairings of food, wine and art for Valentine’s Day!

    February 15, 2015
    • Thanks so much Michelle. I bought the print on Etsy and should have it any day now. Thank you for thinking of me when you saw this. The pairing was wonderful, tonight I am opening the port and have it with dessert.

      February 15, 2015
  6. Reblogged this on Tho Loves Food.

    February 15, 2015
  7. Oh Heck, my invitation must have been lost in the post. Oh well, it sounds like my share was eaten and drunk anyway.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    February 15, 2015
    • We waited for you David, was so disappointed you didn’t come, darn Post losing your invite. LOL, would have been a wonderfully fun party if you had been there. Next time dear friend.

      February 15, 2015
  8. Wow wonderful post Suzanne. .. love that print which reminds me of Izzy. ..seems you had a wonderful party…

    February 15, 2015
    • We did Chitra, I love that print but at the same time become sad when I see it because I think of Izzy. Thank you.

      February 15, 2015
  9. What a perfect way to spend your day. Friends, vino and great food. The Rosa Regale is a favorite of a dear friend of mine. I had to smile when I saw it.

    February 15, 2015
    • I had never tried it, its a really nice dessert wine. Just sweet enough without being overpowering, Thanks Julie!

      February 15, 2015
  10. What a wonderful post. And great way to spend VD. I just hide in bed and sulk! Not even with a glass of wine. It’ll be interesting to read what you make of the Tawny Port. I used to quite like Port, occasionally. But that was usually after dinner with a friend from Portugal. It can be very sweet. The Port, that is.

    February 15, 2015
  11. I am trying the port tonight with a little cake. I am really interested to see how it is. Thanks Johnny, normally I hide too but decided this year to have a party!!

    February 15, 2015
  12. I love this type of informational post, Suzanne. Plus, I love the idea that you did this by enjoying some good quality time with your friends. I believe that’s called a win-win! Thanks you for sharing all that you learned. 🙂

    February 15, 2015
    • Thank you Serena, it was so much fun to do. I still have taste the Port with the dessert, tonight or tomorrow I will. It was a wonderful party with good friends.

      February 15, 2015
  13. This was such a great post to read Suzanne and a fabulous collaboration of food and wine by yourself and Anatoli! So very interesting to get an understanding of what was running through his mind as he made these choices for you!

    February 15, 2015
    • I wish I knew how to or the science behind pairing. It’s truly an art and my wine friends are so good at it. Thank you so much Margot.

      February 15, 2015
  14. Great fun had by all, that’s a wonderful thing!!!

    February 15, 2015
  15. So I am not the only one obsessed with wine and dessert pairings. Your tart and cake look luscious and bubbly sounds great with it. Lots of great info. here (and also, as you mention, on Anatoli’s awesome blog). I have always enjoyed light desserts with champagne (i.e. your tart) and chocolate with red wine. Like you, I like wines that highlight light sweetness in a dessert – but not overly sweet. Did I miss those recipes, by the way??? Yummers.

    February 15, 2015
    • I am obsessed with wine pairing and I just don’t know enough about wine (other than I like to drink it) to successfully pair it at least scientifically. I love red wine with chocolate and wanted something red but light and fruity and this Rosa Regale fit the bill perfectly, sweet but not cloyingly sweet, light, fresh effervescent really nice with the dessert. Thank you so much Shanna. The recipe for the tart is on my Valentines Day post, thank you so much.

      February 15, 2015
      • I found the recipe (as you probably noticed!). You know, a friend and I tried a sparking Syrah with a chocolate dessert recently… It was intriguing. It’s nice to read about pairings… And to just experiment. Especially if you don’t mind having a glass of wine. 🙂

        February 15, 2015
      • I love sparkling syrah never tried with chocolate will do so. I love reading about and experimenting with pairings. I want to take a course, it’s so interesting and always fun to have a glass of wine.

        February 15, 2015
  16. Loved this post. We need more wine talk with our food! What a fun party it must have been.

    February 15, 2015
  17. So informative Suzanne, and what a great pairing party it must have been 🙂 All that talk of port has me reaching out for some now 🙂

    February 15, 2015
    • Thanks Loretta. I and my friends enjoyed the evening, the tasting was wonderful.

      February 16, 2015
  18. The tartlets look like the best substitute ever Suzanne! And I know next to nothing about wine– Just drink what Larry sets on the table. Fun to read your post!

    February 15, 2015
    • Thanks Rhonda, I know very little about wine myself but want to learn more which is why I am hanging with the experts. The tasting was great!

      February 16, 2015
  19. Look at all those yummy desserts and pretty decorations! Fun idea!

    February 16, 2015
  20. Sounds like you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day Suzanne!! Cheers friend!! 🙂

    February 16, 2015
  21. What a meal!

    February 16, 2015
  22. I can’t get over how perfect that painting is for you, Suzanne!! Where did you hang it? I’m SO glad you treated yourself and bought it.
    What was your very favorite wine from your tasting? What a fun event!!

    February 16, 2015
    • Thank you so much. I haven’t gotten the print yet, I hope to get it today or tomorrow. I will have to have it framed and I am going to hang it in the kitchen which is where I spend most of my time. I haven’t opened the Port yet but out of the other two I like the Rosa Regale. It’s a dessert wine and I generally don’t like sweetish wines but something about this one with the dessert was so good. I am going to do a short post when I open the Port, I saved some dessert to have with.

      February 16, 2015
  23. What a fabulous post!!! I’ve had rosa regale at parties, but i mix it half and half with champagne. then it’s good with just about everything!

    February 16, 2015
    • Oh I love the idea of mixing with champagne. It would add a little, just a hint of sweetness and lovely color. Going to try that!!

      February 16, 2015
      • by itself i thought it was a bit too sweet, but it’s so pretty!

        February 16, 2015
  24. Ps. I love that print! I assumed you’d painted it!!!

    February 16, 2015
  25. What a big array of fine foods! I love it all too! Waw! yum yum yumm!

    February 16, 2015
    • The food was great as was the company it was such a lovely evening. Thank you so much Sophie.

      February 16, 2015
  26. What a fabulous and informative post, Suzanne! Thanks to you to bring your friend Anatoli to talk about the pairing of wines and desserts. A great insight indeed :).

    February 16, 2015
    • Thank you so much Sonal, it was fun to work with Anatoli. I have so much to learn about wine pairing and wine in general and he is a wonderful teacher.

      February 16, 2015
  27. The wine sounds great and the desserts all look so yummy!

    February 16, 2015
    • Thanks Nancy it was a lot of fun and the wine was just perfect with the dessert.

      February 16, 2015
  28. I’ve never actually had wine and cake together at once, but now I think I am going to have to pair the two together for dessert!

    February 17, 2015
    • The right wine is crucial and when it is paired properly it’s a wonderful thing. Thanks Pamela.

      February 17, 2015
  29. I am so in love with that pug in the top image. I LOVE it. And just look at all of these pairings. And that cake… delish

    February 17, 2015
    • I fell in love with that pug, tracked it down and bought the print. I can’t wait to get it and frame and hang in my home. Thank you so much.

      February 17, 2015
  30. LOVE your Pug and Wine print, Suzanne!!! 🙂 🙂

    February 17, 2015
  31. Love the print Suzanne! also sounds like a wonderful pairing party, how fun.

    February 17, 2015
  32. Liz #

    Perfect way to spend your day!!! Love that you have such friends 🙂 Swooning over all. And thinking I need to pour a glass or red right about now 😉

    February 17, 2015
    • Thanks Liz, it was a great evening with friends and food and wine.

      February 18, 2015
  33. What a wonderful cooperation, Suzanne and Anatoli! It must have been an awesome party! 🙂

    February 18, 2015
    • It was wonderful all of it, the collaboration, party and wine. Thanks Stefano.

      February 18, 2015
  34. This sounds like such a fun, delicious Valentine’s Day meal, you outdid yourself!

    February 18, 2015
  35. I don’t drink, but I sure can enjoy the beautiful and delicious looking desserts. 😛

    February 19, 2015
    • Fae, truth be told it’s fun to explore these options but with my dessert I generally like to have a cup of coffee or tea. Thank you so much.

      February 19, 2015
  36. It must have been one wonderful party! Awesome Valentine’s Day!

    February 19, 2015
  37. What a wonderfully informative post! This was a joy from beginning to end. The only way it could be better is to have been there to enjoy it in person!

    February 19, 2015
  38. This is such a great post! Thanks for all the tips on pairing wine with sweets!

    February 20, 2015
  39. What a delightful way to spend Valentine’s Day with friends!

    February 20, 2015
  40. It looks like you had a lovely time and your little helpers did a nice job…and I share a name with one of the gals! That does not happen too often 🙂

    February 20, 2015
  41. Yummy dessert and awesome decoration guess u had a amazing day.. Love the first pic someone enjoying his glass

    February 21, 2015
  42. The pug print is so cute. I hope it didn’t make you sad. Bx 😉

    February 23, 2015
    • Thank you, every time I see a fawn pug or think of my Izzy, it did make me a little sad. :o(

      February 23, 2015
  43. Oh what a gorgeous print! Perfect for your blog. And the dessert looks absolutely delicious.

    February 28, 2015
  44. Love the print!

    March 1, 2015
  45. Hi Suzanne. I’d like to feature a link to this lovely post for my episode 12 (of The Guitar Mancer)… that will be a couple of weeks. The installment mentions champagne, and this post is perfect. Okay? I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend. Mega hugs.

    June 5, 2016
    • Oh thank you and yes of course use it!! Very excited😃

      June 5, 2016
      • Wonderful! I think 12 & 13 are finally getting exciting; things actually happening. 🙂

        June 5, 2016

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