Desserts are always appreciated. Sweet wines? Not so much. Food and wine pairings at the end of the meal too often get neglected. This is unfortunate, because the right pairing can intensify the flavors of the dessert and the wine, thus creating a wonderful finish to the dining experience.If you have underutilized dessert-wine pairings, here are some ideas to consider in your kitchen:
Incorporate sweet wines into desserts.
You might think that sweet on sweet is gilding the lily, but try these effective ways to use sweet wines in production.
Educate both your kitchen and waitstaff.
Involving the entire staff and generating excitement builds a larger dinner check and a larger gratuity.
A tropical cheesecake pairs well with this terrific icewine, which is golden in color with flavors of mango and peach. The creaminess of the dessert, along with the tartness of the passion fruit, will balance the natural sweetness of this top Canadian wine from the Niagara Peninsula.
Feature dessert-wine pairings in wine dinners.
Sweet wines are ideal for special events. If a sweet wine is made at the featured winery, showcase the winemaker’s skill as well as the creativity of the pastry chef with a perfect dessert-wine pairing. Such a match should be considered an attraction in selling the wine dinner.
Familiarize yourself with sweet wine styles and origins.
Balance your wine selections as you balance your pastry menu. Just as you would include a custard, fruit, chocolate, nut, or sorbet or ice cream choice on the pastry menu, consider a range of sweet-wine tastes and styles, such as eiswine/icewine, late harvest, botrytised, dried/ raisinated, and fortified. Depending on your restaurant concept, include wines from both the Old and New World.
Sweet wines are often expensive because of low yields and production methods, but a number of sweet wines are very good values. Develop your list of sweet wines with different price points for all adventurous palates.
Team with the wine director.
Sweet wines present an excellent opportunity for the pastry chef to collaborate with the wine director on menu selection and format.Here are several suggestions:
By expanding your dessert/wine-pairing knowledge, you can help educate the kitchen team and waitstaff (who, in turn, will educate guests) and can work with the wine director to create opportunities to sell sweet wines with dessert. Your interest will result in a richer, grander dining experience and increased revenue for your restaurant. Do not choose between dessert and sweet wine—have both!