Category Archives: other whites

Grilled Figs Paired with a Sauternes

grilled figs paired with a Sauternes

Passing through the produce aisle at Whole Foods, on the way to pick up a store made dessert, the fresh figs on sale caught my eye. Yes, during the middle of a busy week, I was trying to keep our 20th anniversary dinner pretty simple. But my mind quickly got racing to pairing ideas…a dessert featuring grilled figs paired with a Sauternes sounded worthy of a special occasion, I thought. (we already had a special bottle lined up for our main course…stay tuned for a post about that soon!)

2007 Chateau de Malle Sauternes pairs nicely with grilled figsSo I grabbed the figs and came up with a simple yet tasty recipe, recapped below. Then I headed to the wine shop to grab a bottle we’ve enjoyed before, the 2007 Chateau de Malle Sauternes. 


6 fresh figs, stems trimmed and sliced in half lengthwise
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup honey plus 1 extra tbsp honey
pinch of cinnamon
dash of dried sage
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted lightly (optional)

Preheat a grill to medium high. Combine the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the balsamic and the sugar in a bowl. Gently toss the figs in this mixture, and set  aside while the grill heats up.

Combine the mascarpone with 1 tablespoon of honey in a bowl and set aside.

Heat the remaining 1/2 cup of honey in a small pan on medium heat, and stir in the cinnamon and sage. Once the honey has liquefied a bit, turn the heat to low keep warm while the figs are grilled.

grilling figs to pair with a Sauternes

Grill the figs. If you have a grill pan, use that to avoid losing any figs to the grill. Set the figs skin side down the grill pan, or carefully set them directly onto the grill. Grill about 4 minutes on the skin side, then carefully turn over to sear the other side by grill for about 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove the figs to a plate.

Serve the dessert by adding a tablespoon or two of the mascarpone to each plate. Then place several figs on top of each plate of mascarpone. Finish the dish by drizzling the heated honey over the figs and cheese, and sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top if you are using them.

grilled figs with honey and mascarpone

Enjoy with a Sauternes! Sure, a lot of things go well with a Sauternes. But this grilled fig with honey and mascarpone with a Sauternes is definitely a great pairing! The 2007 Chateau de Malle Sauternes has notes of honey and hazelnut, and a super-long, luscious finish. It could be a nice dessert on its own, but pairing the Sauternes with this sweet and savory dessert is a great combination.

If you’re not familiar with Sauternes yet, I encourage you to get acquainted! This wine from Bordeaux is made from a blend of made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, known as “noble rot”. There is surely a lot of interesting info on the web about it, but the Wikipedia entry is a good starting point.

Green Fig Ice Cream and Albarino

wine pairings for ice cream: green fig ice cream with Albarino. Culinary Cam photo.Happy Ice Cream Week! What can ice cream week have to do with wine pairing? Surely there can’t be wine pairings for ice cream, right?

Guess again! For our “Refreshing Summer Wine Pairings” July theme, Culinary Cam made some green fig ice cream–which sounds totally tasty on its own!–and paired with with Cambiata Albarino. I think Spain when I hear Albarino, but this one comes from Cam’s backyard, a.k.a. the California coast. I love ice cream, but it’s one thing I haven’t tried paired with wine, maybe ice cream week is a time to remedy this!

The Albarino sounds very refreshing. Though it is not a dessert wine per se, Cam’s description of it gives a hint as to why it would work well with her ice cream:

“You might get a whiff of aromas of almonds and vanilla. This wine is beautifully balanced, lush and tart with a subtle minerality on the finish.”

Perhaps I had Cam’s fig ice cream in mind when I grabbed some figs on sale yesterday, planning to make a dessert with them for tonight’s anniversary dinner. Stay tuned for details of that pairing! Meanwhile, for the details on how to make the green fig ice cream and more info on the Albarino, head over to Cam’s post on her site, Culinary Adventures with Camilla.

photos courtesy of Culinary Adventures with Camilla.

Cambiata Albarino

A Great Gewürztraminer for Your Next Spicy Indian Meal

Sipp Mack Gewürztraminer with Indian foodI had to post about a good wine to go with Indian food soon here on Wine Pairing Weekend. The popularity of that subject was one reason I started this site.  The original Cooking Chat post I wrote years ago on Pairing Wine with Indian Food is still my most viewed post of all time. So clearly people are hungry–or thirsty–for this information.  People are looking for wine pairings for all kinds of food, but the challenge of matching the spices of Indian cuisine is clearly of particular interest. From time to time, I’ll dip into the Cooking Chat archives to share some of the best wines for Indian food I’ve found!

Earlier this year, I paired the 2011 Sipp Mack Gewürztraminer from Alsace with homemade Indian food. On this occasion, I picked out a new recipe to try from my FOOD and WINE Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes book, the Gingered Red Lentils with Garlic (a version can be found here on the Garlic Shoots blog). I started realizing that we were in for some kick, counting how many hot chili peppers I was putting in (3 serrano, 1 jalapeno plus two dried chilis) not to mention other spices. Not many wines can stand up to such heat, so I was pleased to have one that can chilling as I cooked. I also made Aloo Palak to go with it.

As expected, the Sipp Mack Gewürztraminer was a great pairing for this spicy Indian dish. has a nice mouthfeel, not quite full bodied but substantial. There’s a bit of residual sugar, giving it some honey-like sweetness along with ripe pairs and cinnamon. That sweetness helped cool off and refresh the spicy bites I was taking. It was not over the top sweet, but a well-made wine with just the right touch to make it work with the spicy food–including subtle spice notes in the wine, as is typical with Gewurz. Generally speaking, Gewürztraminer can be a great option with Indian food, and this Sipp Mack in particular is worth trying if you can grab it. I’d imagine you might have more luck picking up a more recent version of the bottle.

Sipp Mack Gewürztraminer, great with spicy food.

Chicken Veggie Stir Fry with a Verdejo

veggies for stir fry with chickenRiesling or perhaps a Gewurztraminer is my inclination for a stir fry. Tonight I made a version of this Chicken Veggie Stir Fry, but didn’t have either of those on hand. I did have a 2013 Blanco Nieva Verdejo, and it did the job nicely. Floral notes on the nose, some good acidity and citrus, went nicely with the variety of veggies and the chopped mango I added to my stir fry sauce. A thumbs up to this pairing!

Pesto and Picpoul-de-Pinet

Picpoul de Pinet pairs nicely with pesto.Picpoul might not be one of the best know grapes. However, this white varietal native to the Languedoc area of France is very food friendly. I particularly like the Saint-Peyre Picpoul-de-Pinet. Picpoul is known to go well with seafood, but I’ve come to enjoy the way it works with pesto, too. Sauvignon Blanc is the most common pairing for pesto, but give the Picpoul & pesto combo a try for something new! More on this pairing in this Cooking Chat post. As you an see, this is not a new idea! Blogged about it back in 2010, and still come back to it as shown in the photo below.