top of page

Pair your Xmas meal with... Sherry!

If granny drinks sherry is because she's wise. You shouldn't make a social faux pas when going out with friends; on the contrary, you should leave your prejudices aside, be open-minded, learn from your elders, and start drinking Sherry!

Sherry is a unique drink. And not only because the natural conditions for its production happen almost miraculously just in Jerez (of all places in the world), but because having such an array of styles makes it a very versatile drink with which you can sustain an entire menu from canapés to dessert.

To prove that, allow me to introduce you to Fìon's guide to pairing your festive menu with Sherry:

- Manzanilla: Even if Finos and Manzanillas followed the same method of production (biological aging), in most cases (Finos from Chiclana are sometimes the exception to this rule) Manzanillas are lighter, fresher, and with a clear Atlantic breeze feeling to it. For this reason, we recommend drinking Manzanillas with a salmon/trout terrine or a mackerel/sardine paté, which are always dishes that make up for a great appetizer or even a canapé. If you or your guests are a bit of nostalgic foodies, then you can even pair Manzanilla with a classic prawn cocktail.

- Fino: Finos tend to be a bit more textural than Manzanillas so we can add a bit of a bite to our dishes. The important thing here is that thanks to biological aging, finos have that piercing and vertical mouthfeel that can cut through oily textures. A roasted scallop served with black pudding and celeriac remoulade would stand up amazingly to the challenge. Fish & Chips and sherry? Absolutely! Either cod, hake, or haddock, fino will cut through the fatty feeling, matching also texturally. If you like the communal feeling of a charcuterie platter, then fino is also a great accompaniment.

- Manzanilla Pasada or Fino Amontillado: The sherries fitting in this category are old-ish Finos or Manzanillas whose veil of flor starts to weaken letting the oxygen enrich its character. Try a nice pan-roasted fillet of turbot with a buttery sauce that has gained those nutty aromas, or bake a salmon en croute. If you have a craving for shellfish instead, then smash a lobster thermidor as they can be fully addictive with them. If you're mad for Brussels sprouts go ahead with this style of sherries too. Also, it might seem difficult to find a dancing partner for ingredients such as soy, miso, curry, and toasted seeds, but believe me when I say to give a Manzanilla Pasada a go when using them to spice up your dishes or in marinades.

- Amontillado: I love amontillados with bird game! Aye, they've experienced some oxidative aging, but they still retain a fresh mouthfeel as a result of those previous years aging under the veil of flor. Ducks, pheasants, guinea fowls, and... why not your turkey or goose roast! If you are adventurous, prepare a nutty gravy and the experience will be orgastronomic. Are you veggie? A whole roasted cauliflower in brown butter and hazelnuts is a delight for an Amontillado. Mushroom-based dishes are also great with this style. Imagine some fresh pasta cooked with them or even a beef Wellington with some chestnuts mixed through the mushroom duxelle that wraps the loin... simply mouthwatering!

- Oloroso / Palo Cortado: Welcome to the world of pure oxidative aging. Here we talk about full-throttle sherries (big in ABV and super textural) that can easily stand up to meat roasts and stews: beef cheek, ox tail, lamb shank... you'll be ticking all the boxes! We're in Scotland so if you're thinking about cooking Haggis, Neeps, 'n' Tatties, don't give an Oloroso a second thought. Ah! And try doing an Oloroso sauce rather than a whisky one, you'll welcome us later on!

- Moscatel: The most forgotten of all the sherries. It can undertake long aging in the solera and criaderas system getting as syrupy and thick as PX, however, we prefer Moscateles that have been picked up a bit earlier (preserving fresh acidity and less of an aromatic overwhelming punch) and that didn't undertake asoleo (semi-dehydration) nor oak aging, as they become a glass of sherry that speaks of citrus peels, quinces, bergamots, mirabelle plum compote... imagine all of this with panettone or a classic fruity trifle (Primitivo Collantes does Moscatel Los Cuartillos, which is a perfect example of this). Poached pears in Moscatel... I mean, it'll be a game-changer.

- PX: Despite many consider a glass of PX as a dessert itself, it is also very gastro-versatile. We like to drink them with a mince pie, a clootie dumpling, fig & date cake, or a sticky toffee pudding!

I hope this guide lits your enthusiasm to uncork some nice bottles of Sherry to celebrate with your loved ones! If you do, don't hesitate to share with us how you paired your festive dishes with Sherry.

Director at Fìon, Edinburgh

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page