Oranges and Red Wine

Of all the many food and wine combinations that exist, you will rarely see wine paired with individual fruits. There are several reasons for this. For one, the sharpness in many sour types of fruit has the ability to overpower some wines.

However, the main reason tends to be that wines and fruits share a lot in common. After all, wine comes from a fruit and most wines contain fruity notes that you will detect if you explore the bouquet and allow the wine to explore your mouth when drinking.

Why is that important? Well, combining the wrong wine with fruit creates something of a clash. For example, drinking a red wine that has hints of cherries while eating a bowl of cherries will prevent you from spotting the note in the wine. That reduces the wine tasting experience and means you get less out of your purchase.

Of course, as with everything in the world of wine, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to food pairings. In fact, with a little exploration you may find that there are several fruits that go really well with wine. We are going to explore oranges and consider how you can use them alongside a nice bottle of red wine to create a rather delicious culinary experience.

The Orange

We don’t need to speak too much about oranges, right? We imagine that everybody who is reading this has at least tried an orange or two at some point in their lifetimes.

Oranges are a citrus fruit, which means they have a nice little tang to them. That’s why they have been used in cooking for so many years. A dash of orange juice can lend a little bit of extra flavour to a dish. You may also detect notes of orange in various types of white wine. That makes such wine a bad combination for any foods that use orange heavily.

Of course, you can go the opposite route. Orange is not a common note in red wines. Such wines tend to focus more on bringing out notes of darker fruits, such as berries and cherries. Orange, being a more refreshing kind of fruit, is usually reserved for white wines, as we mentioned.

That means combining oranges with red wine is actually a feasible exercise. After all, the sharpness and sweetness of the orange may actually combine well with the deeper textures of a good red.

Alternatively, you could combine the two a little more. That’s where the idea of a spice wine syrup comes in. Oranges are the perfect fruit to serve as a dessert alongside a spiced wine syrup.

Don’t believe us? We have the perfect recipe for you so you can give it a try yourself. Many Italians follow similar recipes in their own cooking and we thinking that people outside of Italy will find a dish that they really enjoy if they follow these instructions.

Orange and Spiced Wine Syrup

The first question you should ask is “what do I need?”

This dish is rather easy to create, so you won’t need to go searching for too many ingredients. Here’s a short list of what you will need to have at your disposal. Bear in mind that this dish serves eight people.

  • A full bottle of a dry red wine. The choice is yours and may actually prefer Spanish wines for this task. Still, there are plenty of dry Italian red wines to tickle your fancy.
  • A cinnamon stick that you have snapped in half.
  • A cup of sugar.
  • Another tablespoon of sugar kept separate from the cup.
  • Eight oranges.

All sounds pretty simple, right? That’s because it is. This is a remarkably easy dish to prepare so you can make it even if you haven’t really cooked before.

So, let’s now go through the step by step. Again, there’s nothing too taxing going on here so you should be able to follow it all quite easily.

Step 1 – Place the wine, your full cup of sugar and the cinnamon sticks in a saucepan and bring the entire mixture to the boil. Make sure you stir regularly to help the sugar dissolve.

Step 2 – Keep boiling the syrup until there’s only a cup of the mixture left. This should take a about 18-20 minutes, so all you need here is a little patience.

Step 3 – Allow the syrup to cool away from the heat and then cover it completely and chill it in the fridge. A lot of people choose to prepare the syrup the day before they start sorting out the oranges.

Step 4 – With your syrup cooled it’s time to work on your oranges. Firstly, grate the peel from two of your oranges. Place this grated peel in a small bowl and mix it with the tablespoon os sugar that we asked you to keep to the side.

Step 5 – Use a knife to cut off the peel from the rest of your oranges. You should also get rid of the white pith that covers the oranges.

Step 6 – Separate the segments of the oranges over a large bowl. Use your knife to be more accurate.

Step 7 – Cover both your orange segments and the peel mixture separately. Allow them to chill alongside the syrup.

Step 8 – With everything chilled, divide your orange segments and any juice you have into eight bowls.

Step 9 – Drizzle some of your chilled red wine syrup over each of the bowls.

Step 10 – Finish everything off with a light sprinkling of your grated orange peel in each of the bowls.

Voila! You now have oranges with red wine syrup. Take a bite and you’ll instantly see why this is such a popular dessert dish.

The Final Word

Red wine and oranges may not seem like the most natural combination in the world. However, with a little know-how and some experimentation you can definitely make it work. We’ve offered a start with the recipe above but the best thing about wine is exploring all of the possibilities yourself to get the most out of your drink.


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