Wine friendship cake: pairing Plavac Mali & desserts
In May of 2012 the Taste of Croatia team held a workshop at Dalmatia Wine Expo in Makarska, the most charming wine event in Croatia. We gave ourselves quite a culinary challenge by pairing strong, full bodied Plavac Mali wines with a dessert we designed especially for these feral beasts in the glass. We served 2009 Saints Hills Dingač, 2009 Duboković Medvjedica, 2009 Mrgudić Bura and 2009 Mrgudić Mare Postup, all with alcohol exceeding 15%. But the wildest beast of the bunch was the 2011 Dingač 3A+ Tradition, whose alcohol content soars at 17.5%. This very enjoyable wine, which reminds me of a great ruby Porto, is made by our friend Alenko Radović, who was delighted to send us a sample bottle.
It is true, wines with alcohol above 13,5% are lately not very popular on the global wine market. If one would try, heaven forbid, to artificially decrease the alcohol level of these authentic Dalmatians, it wouldn’t be the same wine; it wouldn’t tell the story of the sun-bathed isle of Hvar, the Kaštela hinterland or the southern slopes of Pelješac. The “heat” in the bottle is a natural consequence of locale, and this should be respected.
With this workshop we wanted to give to these authentic Dalmatian wines a completely new role in gastronomy, to show that they can be successfully paired with carefully designed desserts even if they are bone dry.
Dry wines and desserts are not a perfect couple. Physiology of our taste buds is such that if you drink a dry wine AFTER something sweet, the wine will be perceived as unpleasantly tart. In that case the dish penalizes the wine and that should be avoided. If the same wine was tasted BEFORE the dessert, this tartness wouldn’t appear.
Without going too much into the theory of food and wine pairing, we will explain the trick. It is possible to smooth out that sugar-induced-tartness if the wine has a persistent aftertaste AND is abundant in polyalcohols (like glycerol), which give a rounder, softer, mellower mouth-feel. All the above mentioned wines satisfied these two conditions and paired very well (at least this is what we heard from 24 participants of our workshop) with a cake Taste of Croatia team designed especially for them.
The recipe will follow soon...