Thursday, December 24, 2015

Countdown to Christmas 2 :This Goes with That



After preparing this Advent blog series, I am more convinced that there are many more stories about fruitcake still to be told, but here we are at  Christmas Eve already. If you have been following the blog, I am sure you are someone who enjoys a piece of  scrumptious fruitcake with a cup of tea or a cappucino, or a glass of wine. Culinary experts say that these days our palates are becoming more sophisticated and adventurous , and  contemporary food pairings are exciting challenges.  For me, a piece of my mum's fruitcake and a cup of Lady Grey is just as perfect a pairing as you can imagine. However,  foodie bloggers offer many more matches to explore:

Alcohol is obviously a tried and true partner of fruitcake :
A great opportunity to show off a sweet sherry or Madeira. A sweet oloroso sherry ...is delicious with crumbly, rich fruit cakes as is a sweet 5 or 10 year old Madeira.... A richly flavoured whisky aged in sherry casks- can also be great with a fruit cake. As can a barley wine (strong, sweet beer).
There are those who will argue that a tawny port is the perfect accompaniment to a rich fruit cake, and there are of course thousands who will swear that a  strong red wine can't be beaten as a mate for fruitcake. Even a recipe for "Fruitcake French Toast" uses egg nog instead of milk to soak the bread.
Of course you could just combine the cake with the alcohol  for a cocktail....
What about food pairings? It has long been a tradition to eat cheese with their fruitcake in the United Kingdom. Of course, not any cheese! 
Of course it depends on the cheese. I certainly wouldn't enjoy a washed rind cheese like a Munster or a Stinking Bishop with a piece of cake but a mild hard English cheese like Wensleydale or Cheshire goes rather well. Or a creamy Stilton. .... Others recommend an old cheddar or parmesan or even blue cheese. 
I realise that a few of the following suggestions would hardly tempt the gourmet, but I have tried all of these and I think they make great pairings. 

1. Fruitcake and Ice cream - Just add chopped up fruitcake to softened vanilla ice cream. Add a few more nuts and glace cherries if preferred, and refreeze. A more sophisticated pairing of fruit cake and ice cream can result in a beautiful terrine.. This video shows you how easy it really is. 

 2. Yoghurt can also be used as a substitute for the ice cream in such desserts as parfaits - just your favourite yoghurt, mixed with blueberries, and topped with crumbled fruitcake.
3. Fruitcake Trifle is just another variation of   great pairings -fruit cake, with custard and jelly. 

I hope some of these ideas of great pairing with fruitcake might inspire you over the next few days to see the versatility of your Christmas cake.

Information sources and photo credits:
http://www.drvino.com/2009/12/23/christmas-fruitcake-wine-pairing/
http://thecheeselover.blogspot.com.au/2008/10/fruitcake-and-cheese.html
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/fruitcake-parfaits-recipe.html
http://www.mnn.com/food/recipes/blogs/7-ideas-for-leftover-fruitcake