Top pairings | The best food pairings for Tokaji Aszu

Pairings | Christmas

The best food pairings for Tokaji Aszu

Tokaj or Tokaji Aszu from Hungary is one of the most historic and delicious dessert wines which now has it’s own dedicated day on December 10th but if you’re looking for the ideal food pairing you can take it much further than the dessert course.

Like Sauternes the grapes are botrytised, in other words affected by a fungus that allows them to shrivel to a delicious sweetness (a process called noble rot). Look out for wines that have 5 or 6 puttonyos a historical measurement of sweetness that related to the number of hods or containers of botrytised berries that were added to the grape must.

It’s richer than Sauternes - less a question of honey and lemon and more tropical fruits and orange marmalade which makes it go particularly well with caramelised and dried fruits. (And, you’ll be pleased to hear, chocolate!)

What desserts go with Tokaji

Roast pineapple

As in this signature dessert of tipsy cake with spiced roast pineapple at Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant Dinner (which has recently re-opened in London)

Caramelised apple dishes such as tarte tatin and this wonderful sounding dish from a Hungarian restaurant called Barta Pince in Mád which accompanies a dessert called Őszi alma (’Autumn Apple’). It contains creme brulée, apple jelly, granola, marinated apples, coffee ganache and apple chips

Dark chocolate, especially with orange like this chocolate marmalade slump cake.

Christmas pudding

Not the easiest dish to match with a dessert wine but Tokaji aszu works really well particularly with lighter, fruitier styles of pud. You could drink it with panforte too.

What savoury dishes go with Tokaji?

Foie gras

The most popular pairing in Hungary where foie gras is as popular as it is in France. And it's true Tokaji goes incredibly well with it, particularly when it’s served hot. You can download a list of suggested servings from their website aszuday.com. And if you don’t eat foie gras it’s also very good with a goose or duck liver parfait.

Sichuan or Thai dishes that combine heat and sweetness such as this dish of smoked caramelised salmon from a wine dinner cooked by two Bordeaux-based Chinese chefs we reported on a while back. Or for a longer list check out he Tokaj website

Blue cheese, especially Stilton. An accidental discovery at London cheesemonger Paxton & Whitfield which I’ve repeated on many an occasion as a lighter (and equally delicious) alternative to port

Photo ©visionsi at fotolia.com

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