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10 original pairings with sherry wines

Don't know what to pair sherry wines with? Here are 10 original suggestions that are sure to surprise you.

Manzanilla. Prawns in Tempura

Manzanilla is the essence of the sea, a wine impregnated with a saline perfume, so its ideal pairing cannot come from anywhere else. Fresh prawns from the Sanlúcar de Barrameda fish market are one of the most common gastronomic options when we think of pairing manzanilla, but we can give it a twist by battering the seafood, previously sprinkled with the same wine, in tempura. Accompany the dish with a ginger mayonnaise and fill the glasses with a good manzanilla that represents the maximum expression of ageing under a veil of flor in Sanlúcar. Flowers, almonds and, of course, the sea, perfume it.

Fino. Smoked eel with a veil of quince jelly.

Olives, nuts and Iberian ham are some of the most common pairings for Fino. We will opt for a more creative dish such as smoked eel with a veil of quince. The interplay between sweetness, saltiness and smoke is surprising. The quince jelly provides the contrast, while the smokiness of the eel is linked by affinity to the toasted aromas of the American oak in which the fino is aged. The textures are equally surprising, especially if we place our montadito on crunchy thin toast. The quince is grainy to the touch, the eel firm and the bread crackling, all combined with the seductive texture of a good traditional fino that combines freshness and breadth with persistence.

Amontillado. Artichokes confit with Moluengo cheese

It is well known that amontillado and cured cheese are an unbeatable combination, as is the case with artichokes, that flowering vegetable that causes so many headaches for sommeliers when it comes to pairing recipes and wine. Unable to decide on one or the other ingredient, we will combine them in a recipe of candied and charcoal-grilled artichokes with Moluengo cheese. Made with raw goat's milk and wrapped in vegetable ash, this cheese from Albacete has a dense paste and delicate acidity. Its oily touch combines with the bitter and metallic tones of the artichoke; the dry and intense flavour of the Amontillado, with its aromas of nuts and wood, finishes the job.

Oloroso. Game and mushroom cream with truffle flavouring

Oloroso is a wine of such richness and complexity that it demands a dish to match it. Stewed meats, cured cheeses and mushrooms are among its usual companions, but we have decided to take the pairing a step further by going for a dish that is gaining popularity by leaps and bounds, game and mushroom cream with truffle aroma. The tasty structure and aromatic persistence of this great fortified wine are not only capable of coping with the enormous aromatic intensity of a mushroom cream, but also of enriching it with toasted and spicy perfumes.

Palo Cortado. Oxtail hot dog.

We know that the Palo Cortado loves gelatinous meats such as cheeks or oxtail. We are going to go for the latter, but we want to do it in a somewhat rogue way, turning this traditional dish into a modern snack, an oxtail hot dog. Some restaurants in big Spanish cities like Madrid include this wonderful delicacy on their menus, often accompanied by brioche bread, black garlic and some spices or roots to give it an exotic touch. If cooking is your forte and you dare to make homemade tail sausages, go ahead, otherwise, you can always buy any other type of juicy gourmet sausage and let your imagination run wild. Black bread, potato cream ... the options are almost endless. Imagine it in the company of a glass of palo cortado, with its aromas of carob and bitter orange.

Pale Cream. Pears in puff pastry stuffed with walnuts

Pale Cream is a wine that blends the sharp character of fino with the sweetness of the must. It combines aromas of dried fruits and bakery, with fruity and sweet notes from the fruit. Let's try to deconstruct its aromatics and we will understand the reason for the dish. Dried fruit, nuts; bakery, puff pastry; fruit, pears. It seems that the recipe for pears in puff pastry stuffed with walnuts is a perfect match for pale cream, an unusual and daring sherry, sweet and saline in equal parts.

Medium Sherry. Foie, kikos (toasted corn) and garam masala bonbons

Medium Sherry is the ideal wine to accompany dishes with spicy and moderately exotic aromas, although it also loves the fat of products such as foie. In essence, it is a generous liqueur wine obtained by blending a generous wine with a natural sweet wine. Among its aromas, it is difficult to separate those more typical of an amontillado (dried fruits) from the more gourmand ones that may remind us of sweet white fruit.
Served chilled, it is the appropriate wine for foie bonbons with kikos and garam masala, an aperitif that will generate a multitude of contrasts with the wine, as it combines different textures, tastes and aromas. Imagine the fat, toasted cereal, salt and spices embracing the amontillado and finely sweet tones of the medium, a unique wine, perfumed with cinnamon and caramel and dressed in a silky touch.

Cream Sherry. Christmas pudding

Cream Sherry is an oloroso wine sweetened with pedro ximénez wine. It combines the intense character and body of the former with the silkiness and sweetness of the latter.
To accompany it we will opt for a Christmas pudding, a traditional British cake to which we can add a few touches to make the pairing perfect. We would never dare to eliminate almonds, apples, citrus peel or sultanas from the recipe. These, along with other ingredients such as nutmeg and butter, are key elements in any good Christmas pudding. On the other hand, if we choose to replace the usual two spoonfuls of brandy or cognac with two spoonfuls of cream, the same generous amount of liqueur with which we accompany the cake from the glass. This will ensure that the dish and the wine fit together perfectly and both will enhance the other.

Pedro Ximénez. Gamonéu del puerto

Let's look for an aged pedro ximénez, one of those dense and deep wines that stick in the soul with a simple sip.  A pedro ximénez sherry, with its incomparable concentration and outstanding ageing, is a true oenological jewel, the result of the oiliness of this grape and its time in the traditional system of criaderas and soleras.
Its companion must have an even entity, so we should not be conformist in its choice. Let's look for what is, according to many, one of the best cheeses in Spain, Gamonéu del Puerto, one of the tastiest, most popular and oldest cheese varieties in Asturias. This cheese, made in the Picos de Europa and aged in caves, has light smoky tones and small bluish areas due to the action of the penicillium fungus.
Combine the warm aromas of figs, coffee, dates and nuts of the wine with the fresh taste of the raw milk and the salty, smoky tones of the cheese and heaven will seem closer.

Muscatel. Orange cheesecake

Andalusian muscatel is the ideal wine to combine with not excessively sweet fruit-based desserts, creamy cheeses or ice creams. Its colour is dark thanks to the sunny grapes and its aromas conserve the essence of the variety, dressing up with flowers and intensely fruity tones that usually include mandarin or orange.
It was precisely the latter citrus fruit that inspired our pairing, a delicate combination of orange cheesecake and an elegant muscatel. This sweet wine oozes floral and citrus aromas and is extraordinarily long and sweet on the palate. Add a light spicy touch to the cake and the harmony will be even more perfect.