Joyeux Mardi Gras! Ah, Fat Tuesday ~ traditionally, it was the day when all good people used up their entire stores of butter, flour and milk to prepare for the Lenten fast. Hence the plethora of doughnuts, fried batter and pancakes. This year, I wanted to try a traditional Fat Tuesday treat: Beignets. I’d never made them before and wasn’t sure what wine to serve with them. Ice wine would be an obvious choice, since it pairs well with anything sweet. Looking in my little collection, I discovered a few alternatives: Warre’s Tawny Porto, Osborne Pedro Ximinez Sherry, and an 08 Amador Foothill Late Harvest Semillon.
I thought about throwing in a rich, red Zinfandel for a thrill but worried that by the end of the tasting, I’d be showing the neighbors my Mardi Gras beads ~ which tends to make things very awkward at the next cul de sac cookout.
I got my dough ready, cut up into rectangles and made sure I had enough powdered sugar. When the oil gets up to temperature, they cook pretty quickly. A warning: when you take these little bits of heaven out of the oil, let them sit a bit. They’re really hot. After I let my lips cool, I did the first pairing with the Late Harvest Semillon. It was refreshing , and the honey-pear essence was a nice counterbalance to the warm, sugar vibe of the beignet. The second offering was the Warre’s Tawny Port, which had a lovely deep cherry scent and flavor that offset the delicious deep-fried taste. The third pairing was with the Osborne Pedro Ximinez Sherry. It poured like molasses and tasted like a little Halloween kiss in my glass. I found myself wanting chocolate. Maybe next time, I’ll use powdered sugar and drizzled chocolate.
As a side-note: When I looked up the term PHAT, it was defined as an acronym for Pretty, Hot and Tempting. That really does describe the beignets, so I thought that it was appropriate for this post’s title. I’m sure if you looked it up on Urban Dictionary, you’d find a very different meaning. So don’t do that. Wait. You just did, didn’t you? Good news for you; tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, so you can atone for that last click.
It was a joyous Fat Tuesday filled with a new favorite treat, and some intriguing, alternate pairings that I might not otherwise have chosen. After all, variety is the spice of life.
Hey, wanna see my Mardi Gras beads?!