Sherry Pairings: Crickets or Christmas Cookies?

Crickets or Christmas Cookies from Sue with sherry?

With Sherry, what would you choose: Crickets or Christmas Cookies?

If you thought I meant “crickets” as in silence in response to a query about sherry, read on to learn why sherry should be part of your winter. If you chose CRICKETS instead of COOKIES, you’re probably from Mexico; crickets (aka Chapulines meaning crickets in Nahautl the indigenous language) are a Mexican delicacy that pair really well with sherry I discovered in Baja California at a session at OIV 2022.  And while crickets are tasty, Sue’s Christmas cookies really hit the spot if you’re looking for an after dinner dessert rather than a snack. 

Jerez

Strictly from Jerez in southern Spain, sherry offers a unique flavor profile in various styles including Manzanilla, Fino, Oloroso, and Cream Sherry. Each year the sherry acquires a different name and different qualities depending upon its exposure to air which oxidizes it or by its flor (yeast). Each year a portion is taken out; the wine is transferred over the years from one barrel to another, combining older sherry with newer. (Links to more sherry info and more pairing ideas below). 

We paired an assortment of Sue’s cookies with two sherry wines: a fino which is very dry and which you could also pair with fish and a oloroso which is a bit richer and which you could pair with meat, even beef. Both wines are intense with a depth of flavor and a lingering finish that you only find in a fine sherry wine like these which are ideal for finishing a meal or an evening but can also work with food as one of the ingredients — for example, it’s common to add it to a carb, shrimp, or lobster bisque– or paired with the meal at the table.

We’ve also written about sherry paired with bisque and pie here and plus more sherry  here and a wonderful Spanish soup with garbonzo beans .

What in the world is sherry and why does it have such an unusual flavor? Read more here in Part 1 and Part 2 of Quest for Sherry here. 

If you have more of a sweet tooth, check out Cream Sherry and candy here.

And there will be more sherry in the new year for you dear reader as I’m bound and determined to attend next year’s OIV which will be held in the Jerez region of Spain!


Valdespino Ynocente  Fino

 

Valdespino Ynocente  Fino

ABV: 15%
SRP: 
Grapes: Palomino
Sample for my review.

Fino Sherry is a biologically-aged, dry, white wine, produced in Jerez de la Frontera and El Puerto de Santa María using Palomino grapes aged under a layer of yeast then stored in American oak using the traditional solera y criaderas system. Fino sherry compliments a range of food pairings including seafood,  turkey, sweet potato, and gravy.

Appearance:  Pale yellow, clear, bright 

Aroma: Fermented grape, musty, rich, herbaceous, enveloping, Engaging, butterscotch, pine, “The Floor” The generational thing of the yeast of the floor. Solera, chamomile

Palate: “Oh wow”, exclaimed Gretel, and Gwen agreed that it was a wow experience. Light and bright and complex, bay leaf mid palate, walnut finish, the skin and the bitterness of a toasted walnut. 

Pairing: This may not be your go to when it comes to thinking about sweet deserts and sherry. Sue made a very nice Almond Lemon Ginger bar which was surprisingly nice with the wine. While I liked it with the lemon and the ginger, Gretel appreciated the rich cocoa hazelnut cookies with the sherry. 

El Maestro Sierra Jerez 1830 Oloroso

El Maestro Sierra Jerez 1830 Oloroso

ABV: 19%
SRP: 
Grapes: Palomino
Sample for my review.

Oloroso Sherry is an oxidatively-aged, dry, white wine using the second pressing of Palomino grapes grown in Andalucia, Jerez, Spain. The term Oloroso means fragrant and the wine offers dried fruits, leather, and exotic spices. While naturally a dry fortified wine, you might also find naturally sweet Oloroso, often in a vintage sherry. Consider pairing with ham, mashed potatoes, and Brussels sprouts.

I’ve actually purchased this before because Sue and I are both teachers, and I love the name!

Appearance:  Golden caramel color.

Aroma: Musty, grape must, herbs, menthol, caramel, root beer 

Palate: Very dry, not sweet at all, menthol, sassafras, this is not a rich creamy oloroso, the herbal quality is very similar to the fino in many ways.  

Pairing: Very nice with the toffee bar, loving the richness of the dark chocolate and the toasted pecans. This was  our surprising favorite treat. The dark chocolate was what put it over the top.

On a different occasion, I paired this sherry with pecan pie flavored with a spiced rum, and wow, what a wonderful pairing as I knew from this post. Usually I add chocolate chips but I didn’t this time however, clearly they would work well also from the experience with Sue’s toffee bar above.  

sherry

 

 

 

 

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