Match of the week
Pistachio and date cookies with Cavendish Vin de Liqueur
An incredible pairing this week and one I’m afraid you’re unlikely to be able to replicate - so far as the wine element is concerned anyway. But there are alternatives which I’ll suggest.
My cookbook club finally got together in person after over a year and celebrated with a feast from one of my favourite cookbooks Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley’s Falastin, a marvellous book of Palestinian food (Sami himself is Palestinian).
We all brought a dish (I made the sumac onion and herb oil buns which you can see on my food_writer instagram feed) but my friend, food writer Xanthe Clay, made these ma’amoul bars which are light, crumbly cookies stuffed with either pistachio or date paste. They’re delicately spiced, fragrant but not overly sweet and Xanthe served them with strawberry ice cream (bouza) made with mastic and fresh strawberries.
Cue a dessert wine - maybe a muscat - but what we in fact had was a 1956 vintage of Cavendish, a South African 'vin de liqueur' which our host Luke more than generously shared with us. It’s a tawny port-style wine, bottled after 25 years in barrel and still vibrant after 65 years but without that extended oak-aged character that can make older ports taste more about the wood than the fruit. In some ways it was more like a sherry and just unbelievably delicious.
Anyway I reckon these cookies would also make a good accompaniment for other aged fortified wines like tawny ports, VORS sherries, old madeiras or mature Australian stickies for which it’s hard to find a good dessert pairing but with which you might just want a nibble of something sweet.
An amazing experience.
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