It's that time of the year when my sweet tooth starts to go crazy, and thankfully, while scouring the web for dessert recipes, I stumbled onto Food & Wine Magazine's Best Fall Desserts slideshow. I’ve always found pairing dessert with sweet wine a harder task than it seems. While matching complimentary flavours in a wine is important, matching sweetness levels is often essential. Biting into something very sweet can make the next thing you drink taste flat and dull by comparison, even if it's also sweet. Fortunately, the best route for discovering dessert pairings is experimentation.
Here are a few desserts from the Food & Wine Magazine slideshow that I thought looked particularly delicious, paired up with a suggestion from the My Wine Canada library.
Black Mission Fig Clafoutis - The photo of this dessert is mesmerizing. I love the gooey texture in the middle of clafoutis—this one is baked with figs and topped with tawny port cream. I also like their suggestion of Madeira as a pairing, as ripe figs often have a subtle green or savoury character that I think Madeira will compliment. Try it with Elephant Island Stellaport—a luscious wine made from Stella cherries and aged using the solera method the Spanish use to blend vintages of Sherry.
Hazelnut Tea Cake with Moscato Pears - Here's an example of a dessert that won't make your teeth ache. It's a little more on the savoury side with flavours of hazelnut and the citrus and floral notes of Moscato d'Asti infused into the pears. Try it with Tawse's Spark Riesling 2013—a sparkling wine with just enough sweetness to match the cake, plus citrus and fruit notes that will sing with the Moscato pears.
Buttermilk Cake with Riesling Poached Pears - I'm not exactly sure why all the best-looking desserts have pears, but this one is quite a bit sweeter than the Hazelnut Tea Cake. The pears are poached in Riesling and it's all topped with vanilla crème fraîche and Riesling syrup. You can't go wrong with a late harvest Riesling, but I think the Coteau Rougemont Poire de Glace, a pear ice cider from Rougemont, Quebec, would make a stunning match.
Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.