RKS Wine: Penniless Pensioner’s Engagement Party: A Very Special Dessert Brought to the Guests from The Douro in Portugal!

After the oysters the guests are to retire to listen to an hour concert put on by the Toronto Medieval Consort with wine glasses a fill. For those who have not nodded off a grand dessert awaits that I personally advised Celine Serpent would be unique and rarely ever tried in Canada.

I have used my contacts in Portugal’s Douro Valley to bring in the “kitchen ladies” that are local ladies who cook traditional Portuguese foods for both guests and field workers who eat the same as us guests eat. This food is in a league equal to Michelin starred restaurants. Years ago at a media tour on a hazy and cool November afternoon deep in the Douro after a Port tasting at a well known Port producer I met a couple of these ladies beaming with pride making us a very special and time consuming dessert of crepes in Port Wine Sauce a delicacy unique to the Douro. This very special dessert is called ,. It is best served with a Vintage Port but as that starts at least $90 a bottle PP stomps his foot and says, “Absolutely Not”. Serpent will send her private jet to pick up two of these kitchen ladies to prepare the dessert and they will arrive to the delight of the guests and if they do not obtain a standing ovation I’ll be surprised.

Almost embarrassed at the penny-pinching PP I have selected a cheapo Tawny Port but cheap in price Port in no way demeans its quality! It’s more a question of suitability. This Portuguese dessert is a rarity and can it suit a Tawny? There has been so much wine consumed I hold my breath and think back to PP’s comments about the lushes PP has noticed in Serpent’s friends. Their tastebuds will be so slammed a Vintage Port on them might be a criminal waste!

We select an Offley Tawny Port. On the nose it immediately suggests compatibility with this rich Portuguese dessert. Deep aromas of Quebec raisin pie, blackberry, cassis and damn it the very backbone essence of all Ports which is more instinctual than descriptive ! On the palate a nice burn with enough acidity to meld with the crepes. Perhaps a Vintage Port would be too much power up against the power of the Port Wine sauce in the pancakes. The palate is rich but not enough to dominate the crepes. It is full of plums, blueberries, spice, Christmas cake and a nice burn to complete the feast.

This has been a tiring contract trying to balance my professionalism with the cheapness of PP. But I have done my best and look forward to the wedding hoping that PP can finally access his Panamanian bank accounts and my budget increase to match the blissful marriage of Celine and PP!

(Offley Tawny Porto, Sogrape, Villa Nova Gaia, Portugal, $15.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 18454, 750 mL, 19.5%, Robert K. Stephen Set the Bar Rating 91/100).

This has been a tiring process but a good learning experience. Picking out wines that compliment classic food pairings or that match at least in theory but not pedigree. Do I have to go bargain hunting for the wedding wines or will PP’s gold bars and Panamanian bank accounts be forever frozen?

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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