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Fortified wines for cooking: marsala, porto, sherry

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 - The wines are our closest ally in the kitchen, not just for that shot that we took while we cook, but for the variety and intensity of flavors and aromas that are achieved by adding them to our recipes. While my neighbor is the largest specialist I know about cooking with wine, as I think all his recipes include its secret ingredient (by all accounts): old wine, I also use Marsala, Porto, Sherry and Madeira to cook quite often.

Many people know the benefits of these wines to accompany desserts. A glass of Porto with some almond cake bearing some black chocolate ... mmmhhhh delicious! Or that sherry, in all its varieties, which take us from the appetizer, to the food (yes, of course you can eat with sherry, choosing the right variety) to get to the desserts and coffees, that may become mythical if you know a good wine to accompany sweet or fragrant Jerez.

Regarding these wines, I loved the article that Paco del Castillo wrote for El Mundo Vinos "The paradox of sherry" in June 2005. In his lines he tells us about the different types of this wine to be found and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of Jerez.

The Madeira wines are also very versatile. Made from four different grape varieties, depending on which they will result in sweet or dry wines. The first would be obtained from the Bual and Malmsey, while the dry ones are those from the Verdelho and Sercial. So it happens with the aging. From the reserve, which have rested for at least five years to the twenty guaranteed in the Colheita, all the way up to the Reserve and the Reserve Extra Velha, 10 and 15 years in wood respectively.

Sirloin steak, duck breast, chicken of course and many sauces, like the famous Madeira sauce, are some of the best combinations for this type of wine in the kitchen.

My favorite recipes with Port wines are prawns, beef round, pork tenderloin (also loin) and quail. Combinations with seasonal vegetables and fittings will depend on the tastes of each one and the chef inspiration.

And finally, in Jerez I love to cook seafood. Hake, red bream and squid or clams are my hits when I use dried varieties. With Jerez sweet varieties I enrich fruit based desserts or I prepare some steaks, turkey or meatballs with a different twist. Delicious!

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