Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Pairing Wine with Sweet Food

        Lifestyle | Wine Facts

iStockphoto |

Some sweet wines are almost a dessert in themselves, but match them up with the right dish and you have a decadent treat.

You thought there was just sweet wine and sweet wine? Think again. Just as there's a big difference between a simple fruit salad and a wonderfully wicked Boston cream pie, there's also a difference in the types of wines that can accompany them.

There's nothing quite like a glass of heady sweet wine with the perfect dessert. Finding the right combination isn't too difficult, providing you stick to remember a couple of simple rules.

Remember two things when looking for a perfect dessert partner and you won't go wrong. First, just as desserts vary markedly in sweetness, so do sweet wines, and the ideal match for a dessert needs to be at least as sweet as the dish; otherwise it will be overwhelmed. Second, is the dessert tangy and fruity or rich and creamy? Tangier desserts call for a wine with fresh acidity, such as Riesling or Chenin Blanc, while richer ones prefer something softer, such as that chocolate-friendly grape Muscat or Sémillon.

Restaurants are a good place to experiment with different styles, as many offer a variety of stickies by the glass. And don't be afraid to try fortified wines, such as tawny ports and sweet sherries (chilled of course) with dessert.


Many French sweet wines, such as Sauternes, are better with blue cheese and foie gras than dessert.


Do any dry wines go with dessert?


Some people love ripe New World Cabernet Sauvignon with chocolate desserts.