Buttermilk mashed potatoes was our favorite dish at Thanksgiving, and inspired me to make buttermilk panna cotta. I thought this panna cotta would go well with Bouquet White Dessert Wine because of its light texture and vanilla flavoring, but I was wrong. Too sour. The problem: cultured buttermilk is fermented skimmed milk in which bacteria has turned lactose into lactic acid. The idea of pairing two fermented products didn’t bother me. After all, wine goes splendidly with cheese. But, buttermilk is too acidic an ingredient for dessert wine, even with all the cream in the recipe. Then I figured it out.
I cooked honey vanilla panna cotta and paired it with Bouquet White Dessert Wine, which also has a honeyed flavor. The Red Dessert Wine went well with it, too, because honey vanilla is such a delicate and agreeable flavor. I also made coffee panna cotta. As expected, the White Dessert Wine was too bright for the coffee flavor, but the richer Red Dessert Wine, with its dark berry flavors, was beautiful with the dessert.
Panna Cotta looks like a restaurant-only dessert, but is simple to make. The ingredients are gelatin powder or leaves, cream and milk, sugar or honey, and a flavoring – vanilla, chocolate, coffee. It just takes a few minutes to cook. But be patient while it chills, and dip the mold into hot water briefly before releasing the dessert onto a serving plate!