For several years, a glass of Muscat in the late afternoon is my way of shared way of celebrating January the first. It started as a coincidence, but now getting together a small group of friends, after family after dinner, to have the glass of Muscat wines which opens the year is a tradition that we never skip.
The one I like best, without going into specific brands, is the classic sweet Muscat (AKA Moscatel in Spain). It is also true that some of the Muscats that can be found today are quite attractive, such as those made from orange peels or flowers. That?s a great idea. The imagination has no limits and regarding mixtures to try is always a good idea, because sometimes you find your favorite flavor.
The choice depends on each one liking, if we seek the purity of flavor or if we prefer originality in flavorings instead. Although I tend to be single-minded, occasionally I love to taste some new Muscat. And there are plenty to choose from: Malaga muscat, muscat de Valencia, Cadiz Muscat, Muscat of Alicante … and besides these regions, which are the most typical producers, new wineries, which surprise us with their contributions, are joining them from all over Spain.
Going out of Spain we change the Moscatel for the Moscato Bianco, Muscat, Muscadet … which are the names as it is known Muscat in Italy or France. We can also find it in Portugal, South Africa, Hungary and the USA.
The results in international competitions reveal that Spain, France and Portugal are, in that order, the producers of the best muscatel of the world and these are the sources that we have to look for when we choose one, especially if we are embarking on this great liquor consumption for the first time.
Those who are just about to taste their first Muscat should accompany it with some kind of sweet made of puff pastry or the famous “Músico” (?Musician?), a traditional Catalan cake absolutely delicious but also a calorie bomb, how could it be otherwise. On a thin pastry base, which may or not be accompanied by a very slight layer of chocolate, you find the cream and on top of it hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts and pine nuts inserted. Depending on the recipe the cake may also include raisins and dried figs.
But we cannot forget that Muscat is not only tasted by the glass, but it can also be eaten as an ingredient in recipes for desserts or sauces to accompany game, poultry and meat.