Perfect match

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 October, 2008, 12:00am

Although mangoes are primarily a tropical fruit, there are many types grown in many countries. In this part of the world, those from the Philippines are generally regarded as having the most flavour, although the big and beautiful mangoes from Queensland are also popular because they're quite fleshy. But for real taste, you can't get much better than the small 'kidney' mangoes.

For a simple, wholesome dessert, peel a kidney mango, cut off the 'fillets' and freeze - it's like mango sorbet, only a lot easier. But mango and mango-based desserts are actually quite difficult to pair with wines because they contain a good dose of caffeic and gallic acids, which can make smooth wines feel coarse. And the sheer intensity of the mango's fruity richness and sweetness can flatten most wines.

Champagne Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, Reims, France

There's no way an aged champagne will work with mango or any dessert made with it - the wine will simply have all its microscopic faults magnified. This pure and classy Blanc de Blancs is the perfect match with mango sorbet, whose slight egg-white creaminess binds with the champagne's light gas, making the combination even lighter and fluffier. The intense mango flavour is given some direction by the champagne's velvety but defined citrusy character and up-front richness. The combination is like an adult, sophisticated version of ice cream soda - perfect at the end of a hearty meal, or just an afternoon treat.

Available for HK$630 from Moet Hennessy Diageo (tel: 2976 1888)

De Bortoli Noble One 2005, New South Wales, Australia

De Bortoli Noble One is not just a household name in Australia, it's a benchmark for sweet wine globally. The first vintage was in 1982, and with almost three decades of super quality, just the mention of Noble One is enough to get the saliva going. It's all about complexity and balance; it's undoubtedly sweet but has an array of complex fruitiness. There are notes of fresh, tinned and dry peaches and apricots, along with honey and fragrant white flowers. It's a perfect match with mango parfait. The intensity of the mango richness is offset by the lightness of the parfait technique. The wine encompasses the parfait and with its immense complexity, gives the combination width and depth. The troublesome acids in the fruit are tamed by the overwhelming lusciousness of the wine.

Available for HK$210 (375ml bottle) from Concord Fine Wines (tel: 2111 3009)

Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or Highland Malt, Scotland

Whisky is probably the last thing you would think of with a mango dessert, but try this with a Grand Marnier flamed mango crepe and you will never look back. Chill the Nectar d'Or for the slight contrast that brings aromatics and texture to the foreground. The sauternes cask finish in the whisky is the perfect match with the warm crepe and mango.

Available for HK$780 from Moet Hennessy Diageo (tel: 2976 1888)