Pairing Grappa and Panettone
Popular wisdom says that a grappa at the end of a meal aids in digestion. Although science cannot credit this hypothesis, it is true that a glass of the Italian spirit refreshes the mouth and invigorates the soul, especially after eating.
This is especially true after a holiday meal. A grappa after all the Christmas treats seduces the senses. As we have already discussed when pairing grappa with chocolate, it is capable of blending with the buttery richness of desserts in a natural way while contrasting with the sugar to balance the sensation.
We are going to explore pairing grappa with the Christmas classic, Panettone. Beware that there is a lot of wiggle room to pair as you taste best.
TASTE AND TASTE AGAIN
Panettone is a rather complex baked good. If done artfully the process includes two separate doughs, long proofing and premium ingredients such as butter, sugar, candied fruit, sultan raisins and a variety of nuts and flavours like almonds, hazelnuts, citrus, chocolate and jams. There are no strict rules to pairing grappa and panettone, it is more a matter of common taste and a little imagination. Taste and taste again with the knowledge that grappa will always reset the palate in your search for the perfect match.
We do have just one rule of thumb: don’t pair grappa with a panettone that has been flavoured with a liquor. The two tastes will overpower the palate in an unpleasant way.
Let’s begin with the undecided. If you don’t know where to begin, or would rather not even start, we recommend to the Panettone Marolo as it has already been “paired” with grappa. It is a premium panettone created for Marolo by the baker Massimo Albertengo. He uses our Grappa di Moscato in the dough, so that you don’t have to.
Choose an artisanal panettone so that the slow rising of the dough gives the cake its prized aromas of bread crust and candied fruits. An industrial product will never deliver the same aromas. A panettone like this deserves Grappa di Barbaresco Rabaja Vendemmia 2006, a jewel of our distillery. This grappa celebrates the most prized Barbaresco cru; Rabaja, showcasing the soft elegance, silky alcohol, warm flavours, and fine aromas of this variety. There is no better match.
Since pandoro and Moscato d’Asti are an infamous pair, we suggest trying Grappa di Moscato, which Marolo makes exclusively from the pomace of Moscato bianco from Canelli. Its limpidity, intense aromas, and delicate flavours balance the buttery rich (make sure to heat your slice up!) pandoro. Looking for a daring pair? Try Grappa di Barolo 9 years with pandoro. The dry sweetness, in all its complexity, is a simple match for such a rich slice.
PEAR AND CHOCOLATE
Let’s just come clean, a pear and chocolate panettone, especially one with a few dark chocolate chips, is our favourite kind. This panettone needs a serious match, a grappa that is capable of enhancing the flavours of cacao and fruit. We suggest Grappa di Barolo 20 years, a masterpiece of patience and long-ageing. The taste of the dark, robust, and slightly toasted chocolate is complimented by the sharp and savoury notes of the grappa, which is then all brought to another level with the sweetness of the pear jam that will underline the quality of such a pair.