A fortified wine made in Andalucía in southern Spain, sherry ranges from very dry to very sweet in flavour.
Real sherry comes only from Spain, so avoid lesser-quality ‘sherries’ from elsewhere.
Once opened, dry sherries should be drunk within 2-3 days of opening and kept chilled. Sweeter styles keep longer but should be drunk within two weeks of opening.
The range of sherry styles is very broad but whether dry or sweet, sherry is great in cooked dishes.
Dry styles (such as fino and manzanilla) are excellent in soups or used to steam fish and shellfish. Medium sherries (including amontillado and oloroso) are excellent for slow-cooking poultry and meat dishes and for de-glazing cooking pans to make quick sauces.
Sweet styles (such as cream and pale cream) are a must for trifle and other desserts, while the very sweetest (Pedro Ximénez), made from semi-dried grapes, is great over ice cream.
Do not use sweet sherry in dishes that call for dry sherry or vice versa.
Alternatively, sherry vinegar adds an authentic taste to Spanish dishes.
Article by Susan Low
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