At this year’s GABF, the Farm to Table Pavilion featured a Housemade Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Honey Tuile & Cherry-Peach Puree, which was paired with New Holland Brewing Co.’s Dragon’s Milk. Dragon’s Milk is an oak aged ale with vanilla tones that will teach a first-timer exactly what those words mean in the context of beer tasting.
Rich, caramel malt flavor eases next to the vanilla of the panna cotta to create a deep and complex flavor profile. But, don’t be fooled, this pairing isn’t about sweet-on-sweet. Quite the contrary—at 10% abv, the Dragon’s Milk’s alcohol warmth cuts right through the creamy sweetness of the panna cotta. Panna cotta, Italian for “cooked cream”, is traditionally served with an additional ingredient intended to complement the sweet cream, possibly fruit, nuts or caramel—think gourmet yogurt parfait.
The Culinary School of the Rockies, which was responsible for all of the pairings in the pavilion, served their panna cotta with a small, crisp honey cookie, a tuile, for those of us that didn’t make it through our second semester of French, that was reminiscent of the crisped top layer of a creme brulee and a cherry-peach puree. The tulie ensured a well balanced flavor combination, long after you needed a refill of the Dragon’s Milk.