This lemon syllabub and tuile recipe only came to mind after a chance encounter with a dessert wine. I have finally discovered one I can drink and enjoy. A South African late harvest Reisling. I have never liked Reisling or dessert wines before now so how can M&S have convinced me otherwise?
I discovered this gem of a wine whilst at The M&S Wine pairings event, hosted by Sue Daniels – one of the M&S wine specialists – who lead our taste buds on an international wine tour followed by a food and wine pairing session.
Tasting wines is something I love to do. If you love good food, it’s only natural to appreciate good wine. In France – where we have holidayed so many times as a family – visiting wine caves and bringing back locally sourced, well priced wines is a must. The best experiences so far have been in the tucked away cobbled French back streets. So many of the wine caves serve tasting plates of tasty regional cheeses and cured meats with excellent bread and olives. Speaking to the wine experts about what to choose makes the whole experience so much more valuable and not necessarily more expensive. If you have a budget in mind, they will bring you the best of what’s available in that price range.
At M&S they take their wine buying seriously and have on board a small team of experts who are responsible for working out what their customers are looking for. As a company, they build up strong relationships with their wine producers and have worked with many of their suppliers for years so they have a good understanding of what their customers are looking for.
Trying the wines initially, without the food to match, was a real education in taste, aroma and flavour notes. We covered wines from England, France, Spain, Argentina and South Africa. Each wine had unique characteristics explained to us in detail by Sue whilst we all gave our feedback on favourites, ones to stock up on for Christmas and those we could happily do without (none for me). The wines were also competitively priced (£8-£14). The only reason I don’t usually buy wines at M&S is because I never know what to go for. Now that I do, it could become a little dangerous for me and my wallet.
My standout wines – even though I loved them all – were these ones:
Marksman English Sparkling Brut Blanc de Blancs – a great example of a top quality refined English Champagne
Paul Cluver Late Harvest Reisling – a honey nectar, liquid amber fragrant bottle of the finest dessert wine
Pairing food with the wine brought a whole new element to how each wine tasted. Some things were revelatory, like how a dessert wine works brilliantly well with a good Stilton/Roquefort. Sweetness in food makes wines seem alot drier than they are which makes Resiling a great option to balance this out. Salty foods go well with rich reds which balance out the tannins. Umami flavours go with tannin heavy wines Eg; Camembert – they balance each other out BUT if you have an umami AND a salty taste Eg; Parmesan/Soy sauce that can strip the wine of all its flavour.
My favourite food and wine pairings were:
Marksman English Sparkling Brut Blanc de Blancs, 2011 with Kidderton Ash goat’s cheese and mixed antipasti
Castillo de Monterey Godello, 2015 (Monterrei, Spain) with Serrano ham
Chapel Down Lamberhurst Estate Bacchus, 2015 with chilli & coriander king prawns and chargrilled calamari with a pepper dressing
Houdamond Pinotage, 2012 (Stellenbosch, South Africa) with Special reserve Gruyere and Cornish Cove mature Cheddar
Paul Cluver Late Harvest Reisling, 2014 (South Africa) with lemon & bilberry pots
All of the above mentioned wine and food can be found right now at M&S. You can follow the latest food and drink news from M&S over on Instagram @marksandspencerfoodpr. Or, follow them on Twitter @MandSnews – you can check out their food and wine pairings with the hashtag #mandswinepairing for inspired combinations.
Taking inspiration from the delightful little lemon and bilberry pot that was the perfect partner for my new Reisling love, I am sharing with you my lemon syllabub and tuile with blackberry compote to go with the rest of the bottle I will be drinking it with.
This simple, refreshing dessert makes a welcome addition to any sweet course, especially good for those of you who are looking for an alternative to the traditonal festive fruit laden desserts we associate with Christmas.
I was a guest of M&S. All opinions my own. Recipe commissioned by M&S.