Pairings

Pairings

My top pairings with strawberries

My top pairings with strawberries

With Wimbledon in full swing, I’m sure you’ll be enjoying a bowlful or two of strawberries this week. But what to drink with them?

The classic Wimbledon pairing of champagne is to my mind too dry unless the champagne is rosé or demi-sec but there are plenty of other possibilities depending on how you serve your berries.

Unsweetened strawberries or served plain with a little sugar

Perfectly ripe berries, especially wild strawberries can be delicious with an off-dry sparkling wine such as Moscato d’Asti, Asti, Extra Dry prosecco or even a sparkling white zinfandel or Australian sparkling rosé like Jacob’s Creek. You could also serve them the French or Italian way macerated in a light red wine such as Beaujolais with a little sugar - a (reasonably) healthy alternative to cream!

Strawberries and cream

The perfect foil for a classic dessert wine such as Sauternes or (more economically) Muscat-de-Beaumes-de-Venise. Alternatively if you don’t want to serve wine you could choose a contrasting but complementary well-chilled fruit juice such as passionfruit or mango.

Light airy strawberry desserts such as mousses, soufflés or gâteaux

Demi-sec or rosé Champagne or similar sparkling wine.

Strawberry tarts or shortcakes

The additional sweetness you get from the pastry or shortbread means your wine needs to be sweeter. Sauternes or similar wines from the Bordeaux region will probably work but I’d be inclined to go for a luscious new world botrytised or late harvest semillon or sauvignon. Sweet wines from the Loire such as Coteaux du Layon can also work well

Strawberries with meringue such as a pavlova, sundae or Eton Mess

Light and airy but typically sweeter than a gateau. A sweet wine with good acidity such as a late harvest or Beerenauslese riesling can be good or try a strawberry or raspberry liqueur topped up with champagne (like a kir royale or strawberry or raspberry bellini)

Strawberry cheesecake

I really enjoy fruit flavoured beers with the rich but slightly savoury flavour of cheesecake and a strawberry beer such as the Belgian Fruli is quite perfect. It would also be a good choice if you served strawberries with mascarpone. (If you can’t get hold of a strawberry beer try a cherry or raspberry-flavoured one)

Strawberries with dark chocolate

If strawberries are served with or dipped in chocolate the chocolate becomes the key element to match. I would choose a sweet vin doux naturel such as a Maury. (You don’t want quite as intense a red fruit flavour as you would look for with a chocolate and cherry dessert)

Strawberries with orange

Strawberries and orange have a surprising affinity but will tend to strip out the fruit flavours in any accompanying dessert wine. Try a frozen shot of Cointreau or a small glass of Pimms No 1 Cup, made slightly stronger than usual.

Strawberry ice creams and sorbets

Matching wine to ice cream can be tricky unless there are other elements to the dessert and you are simply serving a scoop in place of cream. I quite like to serve a chilled liqueur that will pick out the fruit flavours such as a delicate, strawberry-flavoured ratafia di fragola (Carluccio’s used to do a delicious one - I’m not sure if they still do)

Since I first wrote this article a couple of years ago there's a new generation of pink moscatos and other sparkling reds and rosés which would work really well too. See these suggestions in my Guardian column

Got other ideas? Do email your favourite pairings to us at greatmatches@matchingfoodandwine.com. To subscribe to our free monthly newsletter and be eligible to enter our fabulous prize draws click here or to get notice of posts as soon as they're published click here.

Comments: 5 (Add)

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Fiona Beckett on August 12 2017 at 07:32

What glamour though I'm sure that must have been as much about the occasion as the combination!

Evelyn on August 12 2017 at 01:42

Back in the 1940's, my dad and I would enjoy
Pimms #1 in a copper mug, served with cold
lobster....

Adrian Levy on July 10 2015 at 00:09

I would surely opt for a nice glass of Braquetto d'Aqui to go with my Eton Mess.

Fiona Beckett on July 16 2013 at 11:27

I do agree with you, Regula - I used to love the tart fresh fruit beers and they've really become quite sickly - more like a flavoured cider. Good luck with your beer sommelier school!

Regula @ Miss Foodwise on June 25 2013 at 10:58

I'm very lucky to be able to get my strawberries from a local farm, they are sold from the farm straight from the field and ones you have tasted them you will never buy a punnet in a store ever again...
I like strawberries with a chocolaty stout or porter, I'm not very fond of our new Belgian fruit beers although our traditional kriek beers are very delicious indeed. Recently however the kriek and fruit beers have become sweeter and sweeter which is a terrible shame. The real kriek beers are out of favour because of their natural sour taste (because of the geuze or Lambic), I love them. Some really have the flavour of cherry kernels which is delightful indeed. From the kriek beers I would choose an Oud Beersel, it has a kernel flavour that will work nice with the strawberries and isn't very sour. It is hard to get, but worth it to have a look!
I'm starting Belgian bier sommelier at school in september, I hope you will enjoy to read my musings from class on my new beer blog!

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