Once you get a feel for food and wine matching you don’t always need to taste a wine with a dish to know what will work. So it was with a simple, seasonal dessert I had last week at my favourite local, Culinaria.
It was described as a gooseberry and saffron custard but in fact was more like a crème brûlée with its crunchy sugary topping. The original was apparently conceived by Joyce Molyneux of the Carved Angel at Dartmouth, who has been a big influence on Culinaria’s chef Stephen Markwick.
I wasn’t in the mood for a sweet wine but if I had picked one it would have undoubtedly been a southern French Muscat which goes really well with gooseberries. Cream is a neutral factor in a sweet wine match - it pretty well always works - but the clincher was the addition of saffron which has a slightly bitter note that would have really enhanced the fruitiness of the wine. I almost wish I’d had a glass . . .
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