Here is to bring together two countries together on the dessert course: Icewine from Canada and signature desserts of Turkey.
Icewine is such a special wine: Its grapes can be harvested only after they are frozen on the vine and the harvest can take place only when the temperature of the environment drops below – 8 degree Celsius. Once this difficult harvest in freezing weather is done, other challenges start in the cellar. It’s not easy to ferment the frozen grapes due to their high sugar concentration. The fermentation of icewine takes longer than the fermentation of a table wine. After all the challenges pass, this gold liquid arrives in our glasses as icewine, a product that takes a lot of effort and patience to be created.
This year when I was travelling from Canada to Turkey, I brought two icewines from Nova Scotia. When I arrived in Turkey, I decided to make an international pairing and serve them with Turkish desserts. It was a great decision, so I am delighted to share them with you.
Turkish quince dessert with kaymak paired with Estate Vidal Icewine 2016 of Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards
Quince is a widely grown fruit in Turkey, there are different varieties that you can eat fresh, or cook for making a marmalade or a delicious quince dessert.
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 has over 60% of milk fat with a dense texture, as dense as the double cream, to give you an idea. To accompany the quince, we sometimes make a compote of apples and put it on top, to add some extra flavor to it.
The paired icewine is the Estate Vidal Icewine 2016 of Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards, which is produced from Vidal grapes from Annapolis Valley. The color in the glass shines like gold, with some amber reflections in it. Aromas in the nose are quite intense; dried fruits, poached apple and pear, caramelized pineapple, continues with some floral notes of honeysuckle. On the palate, it’s very balanced with its sweetness and good acidity that keep the freshness in the glass.
It’s a fact that local pairings are very powerful but mixing different cultures and putting together flavors that wouldn’t come closely in their natural environment is equally powerful and creates more emotions. The human factor plays an important role to create a new vision to bring it together.
This vision ends up creating a very good match. The flavors of the icewine are intense to embrace all the flavors of quince and the pungent smell of clove. Since not so much sugar was added to the dessert, it doesn’t overpower the sweetness of the wine. While the quince dessert is so delicious together with the freshness of kaymak, the lingering mouthfeel and refreshing acidity of the icewine creates a true harmony.
Baklava platter paired with Vidal Ice wine of Grand Pré Winery
When it comes to Turkish desserts, the first one comes to mind is baklava. Baklava is a dessert made by baking thin layers of 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, generally made with the same ingredients, but proportion of the ingredients and shape of the dessert change and makes a huge different in the taste.
In this platter, there are three types of baklava (havuç dilimi baklava, şöbiyet and fıstıklı baklava) and a roll of pistachio:
- Havuç dilimi baklava: Literally translation: “carrot sliced baklava”. It has no carrot inside, but it takes its name from the shape of baklava which looks like carrots.
- Şöbiyet: The difference between şöbiyet and baklava is having a type of pudding inside made with milk and semolina.
- Fıstıklı baklava: Baklava with pistachio. This is the most common shape of baklava, this one is filled with pistachio.
- Fıstıklı dolama: Roll of pistachio is basically one thin layer of filo dough, rolled with a lot of pistachio in it.
Bonus of this platter is some ice cream from the city of Maraş, in the Mediterranean Region of Turkey. This is a battered ice cream, with the secret ingredient of salep, flour made from tuber of wild orchid. 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. Adding this ice cream to the baklava platter helps balance the sweetness and gives freshness.
The wine pairing of this platter is the Vidal icewine of Grand Pré Winery. It’s sold in tubes in the Viva Nova gift box. There are three tubes in the gift box, including icewine, apple cream liqueur and ice cider. It’s the easiest way to share the taste of Nova Scotia.
The result of this pairing is another success, and the key is the ice cream of Maraş. Let me explain why. In most of the successful dessert wine pairings, the wine is sweeter than the food that it’s paired with. In this case, baklava is literally a bomb of sugar, and overpowers the sweetness of the wine. However, the ice cream of Maraş on the plate saved the day, by decreasing the sweetness of the dessert and adding freshness with the acidity coming from the milk. This way, the pairing becomes more balanced and the sweetness of the dessert doesn’t cause any unpleasant effects. Moreover, the acidity of the ice wine gives a freshness to the palate. Finally, the silky texture of icewine combined very well with the butter flavors coming from baklava. All in all, although it seems like a rule breaker pairing in the beginning, it ends up being an exceptional experience.
These are the two pairings I created blending my Turkish roots with Canadian experience. I hope these can give you some inspiration to match different cultures on your plate, and not to be afraid to bring international flavors together.
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