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Nibbling chocolate and sipping icewine (Canadian spelling), sounds like a great idea, but the exercise can be disappointing. According to some experts, chocolate goes much better with vintage port Banyuls from southwestern France. Desserts that contain chocolate and citric acid go well with icewines, particularly sparkling icewines, which is pure Canadian invention.

     Ontario wineries now produce icewine from Vidal, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Gew├╝rztraminer. The 1999 vintage Gewurztraminer icewine from Stoney Ridge won a double gold in Verona, Italy a few years ago and is still available at the winery boutique at reasonable cost.

     Most icewine connoisseurs think Riesling icewine to be superior to any other, and in fact they go very well with dessert containing citrus, like caramelised tangerines, citrus fruit salads or compotes.,

     Ginger and pear cake could be matched with a Vidal icewine, but Riesling would elevate this ingenious cake to heavenly heights. If you want to go very fancy you can cerate an icewine sabayon and sprinkle it with a few raspberries to see how divine this combination can get. Sabayon requires egg yolk, a sprinkling of sugar, a little icewine, a bain marie, and a lot of elbow grease.

     An expertly made tarte tatin (an upside down stove top apple pie) is an excellent match with an iced apple wine, the equivalent of grape icewine. It is considerably less expensive, but to some, even more satisfying than regular icewine. Gewurztraminer icewines are best on their own to appreciate their delicacy and fine exotic fruitiness!
     If you want an exquisite experience, try fresh a peach, apricot, pineapple and raspberry salad with a Chardonnay icewine.

     When it comes to chocolate, expertly made milk chocolate truffles go well with Vidal icewines, although Vignole (another hybrid planted in New York State’s Finger Lake region) can also be a fine match.

     Some wineries make icewine from grapes frozen in freezers. They are just sweet and possibly drinkable, but not be compared to icewine that are made from grapes frozen on the vine.

     Icewine is nature’s gift and a celebration of mankind’s ingenuity to create a divine wine. Enjoy this truly nectar of the gods in the right context and the right time to appreciate its delicacy.

Article contributed by Hrayr Berberoglu, a Professor Emeritus of Hospitality and Tourism Management specializing in Food and Beverage. Books by H. Berberoglu


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