Everything started last December, when I was travelling home, to Turkey, from Canada. Of course, there are some classical Canadian products that I always bring home: Maple syrup is the first one in the list with all the related products as maple chocolate, maple biscuits, maple tea etc., and they are chased by ice wine.
This time, I’ve chosen 2 ice wines of Nova Scotia; both made from Vidal grapes. Just as a small parenthesis here, to emphasis why ice wine is such a special product: The grapes for ice wine can be harvested only after they are frozen and the harvest takes place once the temperature of the environment drops below – 8 degree Celsius. Even this is enough to make it a unique product, but there are also other challenges in the cellar, once the frozen grapes come in to ferment. The fermentation of ice wine takes a lot time, and it takes a lot of efforts to produce ice wine.
Coming to Turkish desserts; there are a lot varieties of Turkish desserts. If I’d make a classification of them I would first divide them in two main categories: the desserts with syrup and the desserts with milk. As one can imagine, the desserts with syrup are heavier than desserts with milk.
In Turkey, the desserts with syrup are generally accompanied by Turkish tea in glass cups or by Turkish coffee.
But this time they will be accompanied by Nova Scotian ice wines:
Turkish quince dessert with kaymak paired with Estate Vidal Icewine 2015 of Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards
Quince is a widely grown fruit in Turkey, there is only one variety of quince that can be eaten fresh, and all the other varieties are cooked before eating; we generally make a delicious quince dessert or marmalade.
To make the dessert of quince, the fruit is cooked in a pot with little water and sugar, or baked in the oven, with their own seeds and some cloves inside. This is the secret to render the quince red, which makes it even more appetizing. It’s generally decorated with some walnuts and served with “kaymak”. Kaymak is a type of creamy dairy product, the most delicious type is made from buffalo milk. It generally has over 60% of milk fat with a dense texture (comparison to double cream for example). To accompany the quince, my mom sometimes makes a compote of apples and puts it on top, to add some extra flavor to it.
Estate Vidal Icewine 2016 of Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards is produced from Vidal grapes produced in Annapolis Valley. The color in the glass shines like a gold, with some amber reflections in it. Aromas in nose are quite intense; dried fruits, poached apple and pear, caramelized pineapple… even some floral notes, honeysuckle. In the mouth, it’s very balanced with its sweetness and good acidity that keep the freshness in the glass.
It was a delicious experience to put together these flavors together. I still believe power of local pairings – food produced with local products and local wine are the most essential pairings that nature presents us. But on the other hand, I also love mixing cultures, put together flavors that wouldn’t come closely in a natural environment. And at that moment, the human factor comes in and create a new vision…
I’ve done these kinds of international pairings before with some local Nova Scotia products, and paired them with wines from Andalusia. To me, they were very unexpected, yet so special: I’ve paired Nova Scotia lobster and season vegetables with Manzanilla, Atlantic salmon and veggies with Fino and spicy pumpkin and wild blueberry mille-feuille with Medium. They were all very harmonious and there is no doubt that I’ll do these types of pairings more!
Turning back to this pairing, I have to say that it was a very good match! The wine flavors of wine was intense enough to embrace all the flavors of quince and the pungent smell of clove. Since we haven’t add so much sugar in the dessert, so it didn’t over power the sweetness of the wine. While quince dessert was so delicious together with the freshness of kaymak, lingering mouth feel and refreshing acidity ice wine created a true harmony.
Baklava platter paired with Vidal Ice wine of Grand Pré Winery
The first dessert of my list was of course “baklava”. Baklava is a dessert made by baking thin layers of thin filo dough that are filled in between with some nuts (generally walnut or pistachio) and sweetened with a syrup.
In Turkey, there are many different types of baklava, they are generally made with the same ingredients, but proportion of ingredients and shape of the dessert can change.
In this platter, there are 3 types of baklava, and 1 roll of pistachio:
- Fıstıklı dolama: Roll of pistachio is basically one thin layer of filo dough, rolled with a lot of pistachio in it.
- Havuç dilimi baklava: Literally translation: “carrot sliced” baklava, taking its name from the shape of baklava which looks like carrots!
- Şöbiyet: The difference of şöbiyet from baklava is having a type of a pudding inside made with milk and semolina.
- Fıstıklı baklava: This is the most common shape of baklava, this one is filled with pistachio.
Bonus of this platter is some ice cream from Maraş. You have probably seen this type of ice cream in the videos of tourists who are holding the cones and struggling to catch some tough ice cream from Turkish men with traditional outfit. Unlike the soft and airy texture of most ice cream, this ice cream has a very firm texture: It’s cut with a knife to serve on a plate and to eat it, you’ll need a knife and a fork as well. We add some of this ice cream to our baklava platter to balance the flavors and give some freshness to it.
The wine that I’ve paired this platter was the Vidal ice wine of Grand Pré Winery. This tube that you see on the photo, is one of the 3 tubes present in Viva Nova gift box. To me, this was the easiest way to share some of the tastes of Nova Scotia, since as well as the ice wine, it has one tube of Pomme d’Or Apple Cream Liqueur, and one tube of Pomme d’Or Iced Cider inside.
What can say about this pairing? If you read any of the “wine pairing rules” that the wine should always be sweeter than the food that it’s paired with. In this one, it was not the case at all; baklava is a literally a bomb of sugar. However, I still enjoyed this pairing since the acidity of the ice wine gave a freshness to my palate. Moreover, the oily texture of the wine combines very well with the butter flavors coming from baklava. This can be a rule breaker pairing, but I loved it anyway. This reminded me the recent article published in the Drink Business, about Tim Hanni MW describing wine and food pairing concepts as buls**t. He believes in personal interests of wine lovers and embracing the diversity of the consumers… He gives the example of a customer who might want to pair Sauvignon blanc with steak, and I am extending this example with baklava with ice wine, because why not?
Here, I’ve shared 2 of the pairings that I’ve created, blending my Turkish roots with my Canadian experience. I hope you enjoyed it and I’d be very glad if they give you some inspiration to match different cultures on your plate!
All images © 2019 by Neslihan IVIT. All rights reserved.