Rarely do we think of eating apples or pears in any form other than their natural state: straight from the tree or the supermarket produce bin to our mouth, right after a quick fresh-water wash.
But when there’s a winter chill in the air, there’s no better time to poach some fruit and breathe in its wonderful aromas. Just as the scent of high-quality coffee percolating can bring a smile to an adult’s face, so, too, can the aroma of baking fruit bring joy to all of a home’s inhabitants, including the very smallest ones.
For a fruit-focused meal, begin with a recipe as simple as broiled chicken with apples and ginger. Then for dessert, poach apples and/or peaches, and top the fruit with whipped cream or crème fraiche.
Here’s some good news: You’ll probably need to open two bottles of wine in order to achieve truly sublime pairings.
With the chicken dish, look for a slightly sweet wine or one that is dry but full of fruit flavor. The latter could include anything from an Italian Prosecco possessing ripe apple or pear notes, to a fruit-forward red wine such as some renditions of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. That second wine would work, in part, because of the inclusion of ginger in the chicken recipe.
To accompany the poached fruit, open a bottle of Sauternes, the famous dessert wine of Bordeaux. Frankly, cold weather outside and a warm fire inside provide reason enough to indulge in Sauternes. But when the sweet elixir is paired with poached pears and/or apples, it’s the very definition of hedonism.
Adding to the experience is the contrast between the warm fruit and the chilled wine—a true delight for the senses.
For a more affordable American alternative to Sauternes, look for “Late Harvest” renditions of Semillon or Sauvignon Blanc. Because they’re so sweet, a little bit goes a long way—which is why most wineries sell them in “half-bottles” that contain 375 milliliters of wine.