During the dinner that we prepared ourselves, we had the chance to taste different brands of Sherry Wines, in addition to the generic bottles. I would like to thank PitchPR and D.O. Sherry Wines for organizing and inviting me to this event.
Introduction to International Sherry Week
As someone who loves wine and food, I’m always interested in unique celebrations focused on wine and food. One event that caught my attention was International Sherry Week. This week-long celebration is a global tribute to sherry, a Spanish fortified wine, and offers a variety of activities including tastings, cooking workshops, and educational seminars.
International Sherry Week is an annual event that brings together sherry enthusiasts from around the world to explore the versatility of this drink. What intrigued me the most about this event was the emphasis on sherry not only as a beverage, but also as a significant ingredient in culinary dishes. Let’s make Sherry great again!
What is Sherry: A Brief History and Insight
Before embarking on my sherry-infused culinary journey, let’s take a moment to understand what sherry is. Sherry is a type of fortified wine made from white grapes. It originates from the southern region of Spain, specifically the town of Jerez, which gives it the name ‘sherry’.
The production of sherry goes back more than 3000 years, when the Phoenicians introduced vine cultivation to the region. Throughout the centuries, the process of making sherry has been improved, resulting in a drink that offers a wide variety of flavors and styles. From the light and crisp Fino to the rich and sweet Pedro Ximénez, there is a sherry for every taste.
What sets sherry apart is its production process. It goes through a special aging method known as the solera system. This involves blending younger wines with older ones to ensure a final product with a consistent taste and quality. This unique process, along with the region’s distinctive climate, gives sherry its signature flavor that is loved worldwide.
The role of Sherry in culinary celebrations
Sherry is not only enjoyed in a wine glass, but it also plays a significant role in the culinary world. Its versatility makes it a beloved ingredient in many Spanish recipes, enhancing and adding depth to the flavors of the dishes.
In the culinary world, sherry is used in two ways: as a cooking ingredient and as a drink to pair with meals. Its unique flavors can enhance and complement a wide range of dishes, from savory tapas to sweet flan. Additionally, the different styles of sherry can be paired with various foods, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.
My experience at the Sherry cooking workshop
Attending the Sherry Cooking Workshop was a highly rewarding experience. As someone who loves food and sherry, it felt like entering a culinary paradise. The workshop went beyond cooking and tasting; it focused on understanding and appreciating the art of sherry-infused cooking. The hands-on experience of cooking with sherry was enlightening. It was fascinating to see how the simple addition of sherry could greatly enhance the flavors of dishes.
What made the workshop even more exceptional was the shared passion and enthusiasm among the participants. The joy of cooking alongside fellow sherry enthusiasts, the laughter and stories we shared, and the collective admiration for the dishes we prepared, all contributed to an unforgettable experience.
My favorite combinations
We enjoyed an eight-course dinner that was expertly paired with exceptional sherries. I have three favorite combinations that I would like to share more about.
Dutch shrimp soup with dry sherry, paired with Fino Inocente by Valdespino
This combination was very strong and had pleasant flavors. You could still taste the nutty flavors of the Fino in the soup. The pairing was amazing because the dry, nutty, and fruity flavors of the Fino complemented the salty soup with nice herbs very well.
Tarte tatin with spinach, mozzarella & tomato, paired with Matusalem Oloroso Dulce by Gonzalez Byass
I prepared this dish with Martijn Coenen, and together we created the standout dish of the evening! We seasoned the dish generously with aged sherry vinegar, which added a delightful combination of acidity, saltiness, and a hint of balsamic flavor. Before baking it, we even tasted it with the sherry and adjusted the seasoning by adding a bit more salt and vinegar. The dish paired perfectly with the Oloroso, a 30+ year old sherry with rich, complex, and long-lasting flavors.
Chocolate ice cream with PX, paired with Pedro Ximenez 98 by Alvaro Domeca
Wow! If you want to prepare a dessert that is enjoyable and simple to make, try this ice cream. It is a great combination as the cold chocolate flavors blend perfectly with the creamy sweetness of Pedro Ximenez, a rich and sweet sherry. Consider chilling the sherry slightly to enhance its thickness and allow the fruity flavors to emerge, reducing its sweetness.
Conclusion: My Unforgettable Sherry Week Experience
My experience during International Sherry Week at the Spanish Sherry Cooking Workshop was fantastic. The workshop completely immersed me in the world of sherry, allowing me to explore its unique flavors and its significant role in Spanish cuisine.
Under the guidance of Chef Paul and Sherry Educator Karel Klosse, I acquired valuable insights on how to skillfully match different styles of sherry with delightful Spanish tapas.
A heartfelt appreciation goes out to Paul, Karel, Lisa and PitchPR!
Photo’s by Jeroen Vonk and Vivian Secreve.