Grilled Pound Cake
Served with Grilled Balsamic Peaches, Whipped Cream, and Blueberries
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons White Balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
6 large, ripe peaches, blanched, peeled, and cut in half
6 slices purchased pound cake, sliced approx. 2 inches thick
4 tablespoons softened butter
1 pint heavy whipping cream (2 cups)


1. Prepare and clean barbeque grill and heat to medium high.
2. For peaches, whisk together 3 tablespoons brown sugar and vinegar.  Add blanched, peeled peach halves.  Marinate 30 minutes. 
3. Brush each slice of pound cake with softened butter.  Place on grill diagonally, to make grill marks, and grill until lightly browned.
4. Beat 1 pt. heavy whipping cream (2 cups) with mixer at high speed, gradually adding in 1/3 c. confectioner’s sugar.  After peaks forms, turn off mixer and stir in 1 t. vanilla.
5. Arrange pound cake slices on plate, top with grilled peach halves and remaining peach marinade.  Add whipped cream and finish with farm-fresh blueberries and a sprig of mint.

Recipe courtesy of Kathleen Erickson, Savour Wine & Cheese Shop, 2011.

Whether a beautiful bowl of bright red strawberries, a creamy dish of tangy mango sorbet, or a classic grilled pound cake with peaches and cream, the key to pairing wines with dessert, especially in the summer, is to keep it simple, and “let the wine shine.”  All the recommended summer dessert wines here are sparkling, as they have a natural acidity to give balance to their sweet berry or peach flavors.  Like good lemonade that is both “sour and sweet,” these fruity sparkling wines both mirror and intensify the luscious flavors of fresh farm-stand fruit.  What a great way to celebrate the bounty of our summer harvests!Wine Choices Vietti  Moscato D’ Asti – a light, sweet, refreshing sparkling wine from Asti in Piedmont, Italy, made from the Muscat grape, this wine mirrors and intensifies the flavor of the juicy summer peaches, with its notes of white peach, candied pear and honeycomb.  Just over 5% alcohol, it is fun and refreshing.  Serve it very cold to bring out the wines natural acidity, which balances its sweetness. ($15.99)

Domaine Patrick Bottex Vin du Bugey-Cerdon “La Cueille” Rosé – This wine is totally unique and nothing but pure fun.  It hails from the Savoie region of France, which lies in the French Alps.  At 8% alcohol, it is not as sweet as a Moscato, but it bursts with summer raspberries, dark cherries, and fresh strawberry.  Served well-chilled, it is one of my favorite summer drinks – so refreshing!  It is made from the Gamay grape (of Beaujolais fame) and a local grape, known as Poulsard.  If you want something unique to share with your guests that they have likely never tried, this is it.  Also, consider this when you are looking for that perfect wine to bring to the Thanksgiving table.  From New England cranberries, to chestnut stuffing, to succulent turkey, this wine is a lighter alternative to other Thanksgiving wines that plays beautifully against the sweet and savory flavors of a classic Thanksgiving dinner.  ($21.99)

Beppe Marino Brachetto Bramusa D’Asti, Piemonte – Made from the Brachetto grape, also found in Piedmont, Italy, this bright, berry-red sparkler delivers intense, concentrated notes of fresh summer raspberry to the dessert table.  Many know of Banfi’s much more widely-distributed “Rosa Regale,” but this wine is far more complex, rich, and satisfying.  It is very sweet, so serve it well chilled, as it can be overpowering.  With the peaches, it is like a decadent peach melba.  With the mango sorbet, it is light and palate-cleansing – perfect for a sunny summer lunch on the deck.  But, my favorite paring is flourless chocolate cake, with a dusting of powdered sugar and a garnish of fresh raspberries and mint – absolutely memorable for Christmas or Valentine’s Day! ($19.99)

One of the more intimidating problems is what to do for dessert. I don't have time to bake. And in the middle of the summer, it's often too hot and the meal would be too heavy if I had an elaborate dessert. So one of my best kept secrets is beautiful dessert wines.

The secret to having a dessert wine-- particularly in the summer-- is to let the wine be the dessert, and to have very simple accompaniments with it. In the middle of the summer, there's nothing I enjoy more than a beautiful bowl of fresh ripe strawberries. I picked up some peaches at our local farm stand. I picked up a pound cake on the way home, put it on the grill, brushed with butter. Some apricot preserves, blueberries, fresh pears, you already have a wonderful dessert.

Now, to make it really special, I choose some of my favorite sparkling dessert wines. Here we have an Italian Brachetto. Brachetto is again, very sweet. It's a sparkling wine, low in alcohol, light, and when it's chilled it's very, very refreshing for the summer. It has a glorious red color and a strawberry taste. So it's a beautiful accompaniment to a bowl of strawberries. It mirrors that particular taste.

If you don't have a Brachetto available to you, you can easily find Moscato. Moscatos Also come from Italy. This is a Moscato D'asti. But Moscatos are made all over the world. They're inexpensive wines. Once again, low in alcohol and sweet.

Finally, if you are more adventurous, this is one of my favorite wines. This is a Bugey-Cerdon from the south of France. It's a rose color. It has a great frissant, beautiful bubble and sparkle to it. And I loved it with fresh fruits.

When you have it with the grilled pound cake you get a little bit of contrast-- a little bit more complexity-- because of the char on the pound cake. Gives you a little bit of earthiness to contrast with the great sweetness of the Bugey-Cerdon.

But my absolute favorite thing to have on a hot summer day is a beautiful, ruby red glass of Barchetto and a bowl of mango sorbet. Mmm. The most refreshing summer dessert. Enjoy.

Wine Pairing: Desserts
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