Almost everyone has heard the joke about fruitcake: there is only one that circles the planet as a re-gift or as a doorstop.
But, what if you are faced with the dilemma of pairing a wine with the humble dessert that yearns for respect?
The earliest recipe for the fruitcake dates from Roman times. Their cooks made their cakes from pomegranates, nuts and other stuff not available today. Traditionally, fruitcake is a combination of candied red or green fruit, nuts, and a heavy cake batter. The cooked product can be wrapped in a liquor drenched cloth and aged for several weeks.
Champagne or sparkling wine is always a good choice for a festive end to a holiday meal. They run the gamut from sweet to very dry. To compliment the sweet cake, it’s best to pour a dry selection.
Muscat is another choice for pairing. Robert Mondavi has Moscato, a sweet, lively wine and Quady Winery also uses the Orange Muscat for its Essentia. Both selections are best served slightly chilled.
Several California wineries produce excellent ports, which are an alternative to the Muscat or other sweet varietals. Try the tawny port for a surprise.
A late harvest Zinfandel from Lodi will cut the syrupy texture of the fruitcake and bring out the dark fruit and bold flavors of the wine to the table. Or better yet bring your own pairing wizardry along with some fruitcake trivia.
Who knows where the phrase, “Nutty as a fruitcake” originated? Or, who really cares?