Once upon a time, the only occasion to drink pale cream sherry was round at Grandma’s house for Christmas. But this is a drink which has managed to shake off its fusty image in recent years, gaining a legion of younger fans.
It may have last been fashionable at around the time of avocado bathroom suites and shagpile carpets. But sherry is now enjoying a resurgence. Thankfully, coloured bathroom suites are not.
A lot of this new-found love of sherry is down to the hipster movement. Younger drinkers who want to be different have embraced sherry, along with craft beer, as their tipple of choice.
But it is also down to Britain’s burgeoning Spanish food scene. Sherry and tapas bars are springing up in their droves across the country. Inspired by traditional tapas bars in Andalucia, Barcelona and Jerez, inventive tapas are accompanied by expertly curated sherry menus. Dry sherries like finos which are best served chilled, are supped with tapas mains, but sweet sherries definitely have their place. After being woefully underappreciated for decades, pale cream sherry is popular again.
Pale cream sherry is made by blending fino and light amontillado sherries and then lightly sweetening the blend. It comes into its own when paired with starters and puddings.
In fact, culinary genius Heston Blumenthal, of Fat Duck fame, discovered, along with Professor Don Mottram of Reading University that sherry accentuates the taste and flavour of umani-rich foods. Unami is a taste only recently recognised by British scientists – it’s the fifth taste beyond sweet, sour, bitter and salty. He said the best foodstuf to serve with pale cream sherry was Scotch eggs with caramelised pork.
But there are so many more foods which pale cream sherry is the perfect flavour combination for. Serving with melon and ham to start takes a simple dish and raises the flavour bar.
The creaminess also sits well with rocket and blue cheese salad with fresh pear. It’s also fantastic with fresh homemade pie. A great British-Spanish combination is a warm apple crumble and custard with a glass of pale cream sherry. As an accompaniment to tea-time pastries, it’s also second to none, or you could try with a plain fruit salad.
Pale cream sherry adds an extra, unexpected depth of flavour to what could otherwise be plain and simple dishes.
While it can lift the ordinary, it can also be part of the extraordinary. Champagne may be the celebration drink of choice when it comes to making a toast. But, for couples wondering what to serve with their wedding cake when they cut it, a slice of fruit cake with a glass of pale cream sherry would go down a treat with guests.
And, let’s not forget there’s no reason not to enjoy a glass of pale cream sherry on its own.
With such versatility, it’s no wonder then that sales of pale cream sherry are soaring. This food-friendly fortified wine is far too palatable to be saved only for Granny.