The Pairing Menu for Bubbles and Bites
2010 Michele Chiarlo, Moscato d’Asti “Nivole” (Piedmont, Italy) paired with crème brûlée
2009 Rosa Regale, Brachetto d’Acqui (Piedmont, Italy) paired with a Manjari Mousse Cup
NV Nino Franco “Rustico” Prosecco (Veneto, Italy) paired with Finale’s signature Cheesecake
NV “Anna de Codorniu” Brut Cava (Spain) paired with a Fruit Tart
NV Chandon, Brut (California) paired with a Key Lime Tart
Glenn – We were fortunate to be invited by Mindy Valone of CM Communications to attend the “Bites and Bubbles” tasting at the Park Plaza Finale, an event pairing desserts with sparkling wines. Dessert and sparklers – how could we ever refuse such an invitation? Recently, Zagat cited Finale as one of the top five “dessert spots” in Boston. A trip to either the Harvard Square or Park Plaza locations verifies this claim. Chef Nicole Coady interprets the canon of modern American desserts in an extremely delicious fashion. For this event, five desserts were paired with five wines. We began with the simple but perfect crème brûlée and progressed to more complex challenging flavors. As evidenced by the desserts we sampled, flavors and textures were spot on. And the wine selections were appropriate to each, complementing the sweetness and assertiveness of each “bite”.
Katrin – I have been getting over having had the flu for the past week or so, and it has definitely had an impact on my sense of taste and smell. Everything is still a bit off, particularly wines, and unfortunately I missed some of the more delicate interactions between the wines and the dessert pairings. The order of the tasting didn’t help that fact at all. We started with the sweetest wines and moved on to the driest. It was difficult to enjoy the Prosecco, and even more so the Cava and sparkler from California, after tasting the Michele Chiarlo Moscato d’Asti and the Rosa Regale. Their sweetness lingered and affected the flavor of the drier wines. Nevertheless, the desserts were incredible, and I was particularly struck by the smoothness of the crème brûlée, incredibly silky mouthfeel of the chocolate mousse, and the lightness of the cheesecake. Delicious!
Glenn – From Katrin’s wine perspective, she found the wines out of order. However, from my culinary perspective, I found the progression satisfying. The key for me was acidity. The sweet, low acid, low alcohol wines were paired with simple desserts such as the crème brûlée and the chocolate mousse while the more acidic cheesecake, fruit tart and, most acidic, key lime tart were matched with drier more acidic wines.
Katrin – Jon Sherwood from Horizon Beverage was our knowledgeable guide through the sparkling wines. He did an excellent job making the complex process of how sparkling wine is made accessible to everyone there regardless of how much they knew about wine and talking about the regions in which the wines were produced. One of my biggest wine pet peeves is hearing people refer to all sparkling wines as Champagne, so I was relieved that Jon explained the difference right at the outset.
Glenn – There was a tag team approach to the evening. John Sherwood would discuss each wine as we were guided through the pairings and then he would hand-off to Chef Coady who would discuss the dessert. The duo would then circulate among the guests answering questions. It was this face-to-face interaction which elevated the evening beyond a mere tasting event. During the evening, we learned that one of Chef Coady’s passions is vanilla. She explained the different varieties she uses and how they effect flavor – Tahitian for floral tones, Mexican for an earthy accent. And she’s leaving shortly for Madagascar, one of the world’s center for chocolate production. Now that trip will be sweet as was our evening.
Katrin – Many thanks to Chef Coady for the wonderful pastries, Jon for sharing his wine knowledge, Brian Berry, the manager of Finale, for his hospitality, and of course Mindy Valone of CM Communications for putting it all together!
Finale offers a varied program of dessert and beverage events. A calendar of these special evenings can be found here.