Teresa Zuniga Odom/Southern Señora
It’s Girl Scout cookie time! This is the time of year when all your New Year’s resolutions about losing weight take a slight break when that cute little Girl Scout in your neighborhood asks you to buy cookies! Seriously, how can you say no to a young girl learning about marketing, money management, people skills and entrepreneurship by selling these cookies? They are SO good and everyone has their one favorite…or two…or THREE!!!
Two years ago, a friend posted a Girl Scout cookie and wine pairing photo on my Facebook wall. I was getting more and more into wine and food pairings and I had a good laugh at the photo. Girl Scout cookies and wine? I wasn’t so sure. But the thought was tucked away in my mind and this year I decided it would be fun to try it out.
First, I did a little online research. Sure enough, most of the information I found was based on the photo my friend had shared with suggestions to pair Samoas (chocolate and coconut cookies) with Rioja and Trefoils (butter cookies) with champagne. Sounded simple enough. Then one afternoon I was at a food and wine event at Perry’s Steakhouse and asked their corporate sommelier, Susi Zivanovich what she would suggest. She said to go with dessert wines like port, madeira and something I had never tried before — sauternes. Next, I found an article in Food & Wine magazine pretty much debunking all the pairings I had originally come across. They also agreed with Suzi about the dessert wines. And I figured since it was Food & Wine magazine, they should know!
So, I set about getting a Girl Scout Cookie and dessert wine pairing pulled together with a few friends. I headed to Trader Joe’s, World Market, Publix and Vintage Wines to gather all the suggested wines in the Food and Wine article. These are the wines I ended up with:
- Emma Reichart Dry Riesling – $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s
- Moscato d’Asti Villa Alena – $8.99 @ Trader Joe’s
- Schloss Biebrich Rose Sekt (Sparkling Wine) – $6.99 Trader Joe’s (Okay, so I did add a sparkling wine because I was curious even though it wasn’t suggested. More on that in a bit.)
- Chateau Pleytegeat Sauternes – $11.50 on sale (Regular price $15) @ World Market
- Blandy’s Madeira – $20.99 @ Vintage Wine Shop
- Taylor Tawny Port – $8.49 @ Publix
For several days, I mulled over how to set everything up. I saw a few photos of pairings online where chalk boards were used and it looked nice enough but with six wines and seven cookies, I thought it might get a little crowded looking on the table. Plus, I wanted to add the suggested cookie pairings next to each wine and needed a little more room to write. I found a roll of butcher paper in my hall closet and it was just enough to cover my dining room table. The wines were lined up from light to dark on the left and the cookies were lined up next to their main suggested pairing (as much as possible), on the right. Then I grabbed a large Sharpie and got to work labeling everything! The pairings looked like this:
- Riesling with Toffee-tastic (gluten-free buttery with sweet crunchy toffee bits) and Savannah Smiles (zesty lemon wedge dusted with powdered sugar)
- Moscato with Trefoils (shortbread) and S’mores (graham sandwich with creamy chocolate and marshmallow filling)
- Sparkling Rose with Savannah Smiles (powdered sugar lemon)
- Sauternes with S’mores and Samoas (crisp cookie coated in caramel, sprinkled with toasted coconut and striped with dark chocolate)
- Madeira with Do-Si-Dos (crunchy oatmeal sandwich cookie with peanut butter filling) and Tagalongs (crispy cookies layered with peanut butter and covered with chocolate coating)
- Tawny Port with S’mores, Tagalongs, Samoas and Do-Si-Dos
Usually at wine pairings you get a tally sheet to keep up with what you liked best and any other notes you want to make, but I decided to go a different route with this. Having a paper and pen to add to a wine glass and plate of cookies seemed too much to handle. As my guests tried a cookie and wine, I asked them to put a check mark beside the ones they thought paired the best. By the end of the tasting we had a good idea which ones paired best. For our tastes, this is what everyone liked the best:
- Riesling – Savannah Smiles were the overwhelming favorite of all cookies and wines. The Dry Riesling and lemon cookies pairing was so good everyone went back for more!
- Moscato – There was a tie between Trefoils and S’mores and personally I liked both of these cookies with the Moscato. I’m not a big Moscato fan so this surprised me!
- Sparkling Rose – only one person really liked pairing this wine with the Savannah Smiles which proved the Food & Wine article was right about champagne. On the other hand, everyone enjoyed drinking the champagne when the tasting was over.
- Sauternes – Hands down the Samoas won with this suggested pairing. Was it the coconut or the chocolate? For me I think it was the coconut and the fact that this was a really sweet wine, so I think the coconut balanced it out.
- Madeira – I paired this with both types of peanut butter cookies and everyone preferred the chocolate covered Tagalongs with the Madeira. So…this lead me to believe any of the chocolate cookies would work. S’mores for me was a close second even though I didn’t officially pair this one with the Madeira.
- Tawny Port – This is the wine that had the most suggested pairings, four total. Again, the Tagalongs (with chocolate) were a hit and tied with the S’mores (also with chocolate).
- EXTRA WINE PAIRING – I have to add that one of my guests brought a white blend wine, Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc & Viognier, to try with the peanut butter cookies. She had gone to Vintage Wine Shoppe and they suggested this pairing. FYI – this was the place where I bought the Madeira wine. We added it to the table and both cookies paired really well with this wine!
Last but not least…the Thin Mints. These are probably one of the most popular Girl Scout cookies but the thought of having wine with a Thin Mint didn’t seem like a good idea to me. The mint flavor was sure to overtake anything that we tried. In fact, I don’t think I saw anyone try the Thin Mints at my pairing. I know, I didn’t try to pair them, and I believe the Food & Wine article suggestion was to put these cookies next to the coffee! Now THAT’S the perfect pairing!
I’m thinking about making this an annual event at my house. Several friends are already saying they’d love to be included and I love planning a good party! Meanwhile, if you are interested in trying out any of these pairings, you need to go ahead and get your cookies soon! In the Birmingham area, you can reach out to Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama and click on the cookie link for further information. Or you can click on the “Find Cookies” button and enter your ZIP code to find out where booth sales are taking place. And if you are sticking with your losing weight resolution, remember that you can freeze the cookies until you are ready to give these pairings a try.