Before I started working on this post, I’m embarrassed to admit I’d never tried a persimmon. I’d seen them at the grocery store, but I had no idea what to do with them or if I would like them, so I just took a pass. When I was approached by Persimon brand persimmons to do a wine and food pairing with this unique fruit, I thought it was a good opportunity to learn about another healthy food item I could incorporate into my diet.
Persimon persimmons are from Spain and they’re always ready to eat – they don’t need to be ripened like other persimmons. This is a bonus, as we were able to start working on our recipe right away once they arrived. They’re also bigger than most persimmons I’ve seen (about the size of a large tomato) and they are sweet – sort of like a mango or peach. They’re actually pretty darn delicious and I would love to try then in a dessert or as a cocktail. These would even work on top of cereal or in yogurt.
Persimons actually have a Denomination of Origin designation from the Spanish government – sort of like some wines have designations for being specific to their area. I thought that was an interesting note. Persimons are grown in the Ribera del Xuquer area of Spain by more than 5000 registered producers.
Shawn and I flipped through the suggested recipes for this challenge and were worried about what to try – my cooking abilities (limited) and food restrictions (no red meat), meant a few of the recipes were off limits. The one item that we both thought sounded interesting? Gazpacho. That’s a dish with the potential to be both healthy and delicious, but it’s a bit of a wine-pairing conundrum.
Gazpacho has lots of acid (this recipe even calls for vinegar – a wine-pairing no-no) and it’s a tough one to flavour match. So faced with this dilemma, I did what I usually do when dealing with a wine pairing mystery – I picked up my copy of What to Drink with What You Eat by Andrew Dorenburg and Karen Page. This book was recommended to me by The Wine Sisters (who have an awesome wine blog and wine events company that you should check out) and they were absolutely right about how useful it is.
There are some pairings that are just tougher than others and having an easy-to-use resource like this one is a huge help in figuring out which wine to choose. So what do they recommend for gazpacho? Dry Sherry, which makes a huge amount of sense. However, I didn’t have any on hand, so I went with the second choice – Sauvignon Blanc. The earthy, vegetal notes in a good New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc would likely work extremely well with this very earthy and veggie-heavy dish. My pick in the photo, since we weirdly had no Sauvignon Blanc either, is the 2009 Stratus white blend, which is 32% Semillon, 31% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Viognier and 4% Gewurztraminer. Would that be a perfect pairing? No, but definitely in the right direction - I'd choose a 100% Sauvignon Blanc if we were to make this recipe again. I would also like to try this with the dry Sherry. And, yes, we'll be stocking up on both soon.
There are a wealth of recipes available on the Persimon website, as well as a contest to win a trip to Spain. I highly recommend you pick some up and try your hand at your own pairings. We won’t be passing these fruits by in the grocery store anymore and look forward to making some Persimon cocktails next!
The fine print: Persimon provided me with the Persimons and a gift card with which to purchase the needed ingredients to make this recipe. All opinions are 100% my own.