IN THE interests of scientific discovery and developing the human race, this week I have mainly been eating ice cream and sherry, in the same bowl.
I hasten to add that this pairing came to pass not because I’m clumsy (which is true) – but for once I intentionally poured unctuous nectar into a bowl of the yummiest vanilla ice cream.
Now I’m a bit of a sherry lover. I began a secret affair with Harvey’s Bristol Cream one Christmas and if I’m peeling sprouts I feel out of sorts if there isn’t a gooey, finger-printed glass on the go with Judy Garland and the Munchkin kids singing from the TV screen.
But sherry with ice cream? Well let me tell you, as ice cream weather looms, it would be unfair of me to keep that little duo to myself. Bristol Cream may be synonymous with the Harveys brand, but I’ve now discovered Harveys VORS Pedro Ximénez (PX) and there’s no turning back.
The Pedro Ximénez grape is sun-dried to a raisin texture and once fermented, those raisin base notes develop flavours of liquorice, black treacle and chocolate as it is aged (in this instance, for at least 30 years). I drizzled my ice cream with a glug – who knows, perhaps a tablespoon – of PX and the sweet-cold mix was swamped with bonfire toffee flavours and rich fruit pudding.
In fact, next time I might add some raisins to a glass of PX and let them soak up the lusciousness for a few hours. Or you could just sip PX from a glass (minus raisins). The gold-medal winning PX has an RRP of £21.10 for 50cl and is available from Morrisons, Waitrose, TheDrinkShop.com and Booths.
Dispel Harveys’ cream sherry tag even further with the tangy, salty, Harveys Fino (RRP £7.73, Waitrose, Booths, Morrisons) which is ideal with a bowl of plump olives. Once opened, drink a pale lemon fino within a week or it loses its delicate, herby, yeasty balance.
Harveys VORS Fine Old Amontillado (RRP £21.10, 50cl TheDrinkShop.com) began life as a fino so some of its traits are in its DNA – but the sherry is then allowed to mature and develops citrus peel and nutty depths.
Also in my glass …
After all the heady sherries, I turned to a drink with hardly any alcohol. (At this point all my friends are bolt upright, stunned like alarmed meerkats.)
Torres Natureo (£5, Asda) begins life as a wine but once fermented, the alcohol is stripped out, leaving just 0.5% abv. It’s a sweet hit of something grapey with hints of peach. Straight from the fridge, it was lovely, thanks very much.
Published in the saturday extra magazine April 27, 2013