At Christmas everything around us is adorned by festive decorations, lights illuminate the streets and homes, we are surrounded by various traditional decoration items and fragrant pinetree branches. One of the crowning glories of this festive period is the intimate and cozy family dinner with carefully prepared, mouthwatering dishes which are best accompanied by a truly amazing wine,Tokaj Aszú.
What makes aszús so special?
To many the price of a famed bottle of aszú may come as a shock. However it will come less of a surprise once you’ve learnt how many conditions need to be fulfilled for proper aszú berries to form and even though the climate of Tokaj is particularly suited to aszú production it is still not uncommon that in certain vintages some wineries cannot make aszú at all.
Tokaj aszú is not a wine for everyday drinking, however it can create an unforgettable experience when you uncork it for some special occasion.
Culinary tips for Christmas
There is no better loved holiday than Christmas, therefore this is a highly appropriate occasion to open a bottle of aszú. No table laid for a Christmas dinner is complete without a bottle of aszú. Thanks to the rich diversity of Tokaj aszús there is no limit to the number of potentially exciting combinations with food. Though aszú is a sweet wine its unique aromas and high acidity makes it a good companion to dishes other than desserts.
This characteristic is most welcome as it means that an aszú can actually accompany all the courses of a Christmas dinner.
Starting with starters aszús are great with foie gras served either as roasted in slices and garnished with candied fruit or prepared as paté served with jam, chutney or brioche. A glass of aszú is an excellent partner for saline, pungent blue cheese. Take a star form to cut smaller bites from toasted bread, cover them with spread made of Roquefort, Stilton or Gorgonzola cheese and garnish it with dried fruit. Another suggestion is to remove the seeds of dates, fill them with the cheese spread and then wrap them in thin slices of Serrano ham.
Aszú might also work with the main course. It goes well with chicken stuffed with tangerine, raisins and thymes especially if you’re willing to sacrifice a glass of wine for the roasting of the bird. Likewise with mango and duck or partridge accompanied by apples and grapefruit. The most suitable garnishes are the ones made from vegetables which can easily get caramelized and ares lightly sweeter, like carrots, sweet poatatoes or pumpkins.
Should you want to completely steer away from traditional, classic dishes to the intensely spicy Chinese cuisine with its mix of sweet and hot flavours aszú is once again a great choice to accompany such dishes.
The above examples represent real culinary adventures but let’s not forget about desserts. Classic Hungarian Christmas cakes like bejgli, zserbó, gingerbread, fruit loaf or Florentine biscuit are all heavenly matches for aszús. It can be also paired with non-traditional cakes to good effect be it an elegant French crème brûlée or an English rustic pecan pie, and it is no sacrilege either to dip your almond biscottis into aszú instead of vin santo.
As you can see a bottle of aszú is a wine for all seasons and especially for the festive season. Make sure you buy one and enjoy the happy moments.
Should you open a bottle of aszú during the Christmas holidays, please use the #ToastWithAszu hashtag and share your experience with others!
Source: Wineglass Communication