Title:Culinary writer, cookbook author and president elect of the San Francisco Professional Food Society
Home town: Scarsdale, NY. Living in the Bay Area since 1978

1. How did the idea come about for The Wine Lover’s Dessert Cookbook?
Co-author Mary Cech and I developed the idea together. We met at a chocolate class for culinary professionals and it turned out we both wanted to write a book. We talked about a lot of ideas, but when we hit on pairing wines with dessert, we realized that was the one, because it really hadn’t been done before.

2. What was your role in the book?
I’m primarily the writer in the pair. We both researched the wine and the matches. My job was to make sure the recipes that Mary created were easy for people to make at home.

3. How did you test the recipes?
I made each recipe at least once and often many times. Then we had a large team of recipe testers who tested the recipes under different circumstances, in different geographic areas with different equipment in different kitchens. The testers were great. One woman was a baker. She and her husband had a wine store and he’d send me his wine tasting notes with every recipe!

4. What common misconceptions are there about pairing wine and dessert?
The dessert that is most often mismatched is probably wedding cake and Champagne. It won’t hurt the cake but the Champagne tastes flat and sour. I would suggest using a demi-sec Champagne. The other common mistake is pairing chocolate with Champagne or Cabernet. The Cabernet won’t taste right with it. Port is an obvious match, but there are lots of other chocolate friendly wines like a fortified Zinfandel Port, a Cabernet Port or a Banyul.

In general, the wine should be sweeter than the dessert. For example slightly sweet salty nuts with a sherry pick up the nutty flavors in the wine. A special wine should get a special dessert but a simple one, nothing that would overshadow it. If you had a 1998 Chateau d’Yquem you might want a plain creme brulee with it that has creamy and caramel flavors.

5. What wines do you recommend with something complex like tropical fruits?
There are lots of magical pairings for tropical fruits. Tropical fruit based desserts paired with Beringer Nightingale Botrytis Sauvignon Blanc Semillon are gorgeous together. But they’re also lovely with ice wines.

Take 5 with Jennie Schacht 21 December,2005Amy Sherman


Amy Sherman

Amy Sherman began blogging in 2003, because all her
friends and family were constantly asking her where
and what to eat. Three months after it launched,
Forbes chose her blog, Cooking with Amy, as one of the
top five best food blogs, praising her writing as
“smart, cozy and witty”. Since then her blog has been
featured and recipes reprinted in many newspapers and
magazines in the U.S. and the world.

In addition to regularly updating her blog, Amy is a
guest contributor to the Epicurious.com blog, and
Contributing Editor of Glam Dish. She also writes
restaurant reviews for SF Station.

Her focus on Bay Area Bites is primarily cookbook
reviews along with some interviews and current events.

Amy is a recipe developer and freelance food writer.
She is author of WinePassport: Portugal and wrote the new introduction to the classic cookbook, Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, published by the University of Nebraska Press. She recently completed 45 recipes for a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and wrote her first piece for VIA magazine.

She is currently serving on the board of the San Francisco Professional Food Society and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Amy lives in San Francisco with her husband, tech journalist Lee Sherman.

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