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Pair Like a Pro

03/13/2017 01:32 ● Published by Family Features

When it comes to pairing wine with food, even experts agree that desserts can pose a challenge. A wide variety of flavor combinations can make it hard to find the perfect selection to serve with your sweet treat. While there’s no exact science to wine pairing, these simple tips can help you make your selection. 

Sweet Cheesecake
A good rule: the lighter the dessert, the lighter the wine. Avoid heavy reds for a sweeter dessert and instead pair with a crisp white like Chardonnay, such as Joseph Carr from Sonoma, California.

Citrusy Lemon Meringue Pie
Lemon flavors can sometimes be polarizing, but complementing this dessert with an equally citrusy wine can work wonders. Try pairing with a food-friendly pinot grigio or a sauvignon blanc.

Rich Chocolate Cake
Red wine with chocolate seems like a no-brainer, but not all red wines are created equal. For a richer delicacy like this devil’s food cake, try something like Villa Pozzi Nero D’avola, a more fruit-forward, easy-drinking red varietal.

For more tips and wine selections, visit winefix.com.


New York-Style Honey Cheesecake
Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board

  • 2          cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2       cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 4          packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
  • 3/4       cup honey
  • 1/4       cup flour
  • 5          eggs
  • 1/3       cup heavy cream
  • 1          tablespoon lemon zest, grated
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla
  • fresh berries, for garnish
  • fresh mint, for garnish
  1. To make crust: In small bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs and butter until well blended. Press mixture evenly onto bottom and sides of greased 9-inch springform pan; set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 350° F.
  3. To make filling: In electric mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, honey and flour. Beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in cream, lemon zest and vanilla.
  4. Pour cream cheese mixture over crust; bake 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 200 F and bake 1 hour and 30 minutes longer, or until center no longer looks wet or shiny.
  5. With oven off and door ajar, let cheesecake cool 1 hour in oven. Remove cheesecake to rack to cool completely.
  6. Cover and refrigerate cheesecake at least 4 hours before serving. Garnish with fruit and fresh mint. Pair with chardonnay like Joseph Carr.


Honey Devil’s Food Cake with Rich Chocolate Frosting
Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board

  • 1 1/2    cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2    cups unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
  • 2          teaspoons baking soda
  • 1          teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 2          cups honey, divided
  • 1/2       cup 2 percent low-fat milk
  • 1/2       cup vegetable oil
  • 2          eggs
  • 3          teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1          cup boiling water
  • 1          cup heavy whipping cream
  • milk chocolate shavings, for garnish
  1. To prepare cake: Heat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
  2. In large bowl, combine flour, 1 cup cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups honey, milk, oil, eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla; beat 2 minutes. Gradually beat in water.
  3. Divide batter between pans. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until sides pull away slightly from pan and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Turn onto wire racks and cool completely.
  4. To prepare frosting: In medium bowl, combine remaining cocoa powder, honey and vanilla, and cream. Beat until just thick and fluffy.
  5. To assemble: Spread frosting evenly over sides and top of one cake layer. Place second cake layer on top. Spread remaining frosting evenly over sides and top.
  6. Garnish with milk chocolate shavings. Pair each serving with a glass of prosecco, like Nero D’avola from Villa Pozzi.

Photo courtesy of 275847/Shutterstock.com (cheesecake)
Photo courtesy of Barnaby Chambers/Shutterstock.com (chocolate cake with wine)

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