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Madeira: contemporary food matching with Henriques & Henriques

At the foot of my detailed Madeira report of Wednesday, I wrote up some inspired contemporary food matches with Henriques & Henriques Madeira, from starter right the way through to dessert.  In case you missed it, here’s the heads up on the foodie part. If it speaks to you, make sure you also check out Barbeito’s and Blandy’s websites (here) and (here), which have food and wine matching sections.

Henriques & Henriques Sercial 10 Year Old Madeira with tataki of seared tuna with a soy, shallot & ginger dressing


I must admit I’m not sure I’d actually order Madeira with a main course, which is not to say I think it should be relegated to the dessert course (or worse, the sauce of a main course!) Indeed, my match of the day illustrated how well suited Sercial Madeira can be to Japanese cuisine. Dry and intense with mirin and iodine umami notes from nose to palate,Henriques & Henriques Sercial 10 Year Old was a pitch perfect match for the tuna tataki. I found it too savoury for the alternative starter – tian of crab with guacamole and celeriac remoulade, though the Sercial brought out the sweetness and sea saltiness/minerality of the crab and the lime in the dish brought out the Madeira’s zingy acidity.

Henriques & Henriques Medium Rich Single Harvest Madeira 1998 with wild mushroom, spinach & truffle oil tartlets topped with Yorkshire Blue rarebit, served with mixed leaf salad


This rich, soft Madeira worked well with the equally rich, soft, salty (cheese) tartlets, my only query being perhaps too well – a bit of contrast would have been good.  I’m going to try this with a chesnut and spinach filo in which the secret ingredient is marmalade – I reckon the marmalade will bring freshness and lift.   The alternative dish was a parma ham, fresh fig & dolcelatte salad; the consensus was that the parma ham worked well, less so the other ingredients.

Henriques & Henriques Verdelho 20 Year Old & 15 Year Old Verdelho with smoked duck, buffalo mozzarella, orange and lambs lettuce salad. 


The fruitiness of the Verdelhos worked really well with the duck and orange, the latter’s juiciness teasing out these intense wines’ layers to good effect.  Both Verdelhos were okay with salt beef salad with fine green beans, quails egg and Lincolnshire poacher in a sherry and mustard dressing, but the match lacked the vibrancy and lift of the duck and orange pairing.

Henriques & Henriques Malvasia 10 Year Old with chocolate and cinnamon torte with orange blossom mascarpone cream. 


You can’t go wrong with Malvasia and chocolate, especially when you have orange in the equation.  Though the sticky toffee pudding was fine, I thought the lighter torte the better match.  The richer, more concentrated Henriques & Henriques Bual 15 Year Old (see above) would have been my preferred partner for the sticky toffee pudding.

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