Odd Pair: Donuts

The other night we had dinner at Backstreet Café. For dessert, we decided to try the potato donuts dusted in cinnamon and sugar and served with a decadent milkshake. Donuts have now made their way onto the dessert menus of fine dining restaurants with the likes of crème brulee and flourless chocolate cake, which got us thinking. We pair port or sweet wines with dessert. Can we do the same with donuts?

We picked up three kinds of classic donuts from Shipley's - plain cake, glazed cake and cinnamon-and-sugar cake. We thought these choices would be the closest to what we would see in a nice restaurant. To pair with our donuts, we chose the Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling 2008 from Washington's Columbia Valley. The winery calls this particular wine its "everyday Riesling," since it's great to drink alone or with food. We don't think they meant to pair it with donuts, though.

The slightly sweet wine has nice refreshing peach and citrus flavors. The winery describes it as an off-dry Riesling - not quite dry and not quite sweet. We would recommend it as a good starter wine for those who aren't sure if they like Riesling.

The wine went surprisingly well with the glazed cake donut. The citrus notes of the wine highlighted the lemon juice in the powdered sugar glaze, while the crispness cut the super-sugary taste of the donut. We would actually serve this pairing at a nice restaurant instead of the decadent milkshake.

The other two donut pairings weren't as successful. The cinnamon killed the wine. The combo left both the wine and the cinnamon-and-sugar donut tasting dull and boring. The plain cake donut was nothing to write home about either. The wine dominated the subtle vanilla flavor of the semi-sweet donut. These two donuts needed the sweet creaminess of a milkshake to round out the dessert.

For some les odd pairings, the winery suggests pairing the Riesling with fresh fruit, crab, mild cheeses or chicken. They even provide you with some recipes pairings on their website. You can pick up a bottle for less than $10.

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