"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages..." recites the ringmaster. The circus used to be about clowns, trapeze artists, elephants and daredevil stunt acts. Today however, we find a more contemporary circus in the form of Cirque du Soleil. And no where else is this more seen than the Las Vegas strip. Cirque du Soleil offers 7 shows of pure genius in a number of top notch hotels. For a girl who has never been to the circus, I suddenly have the entire zoo in my backyard. Mystere was the first Cirque du Soleil show I had ever witnessed and completely not what I had anticipated. Instead of animals they use performers to play the role of mysterious creatures while contorting their bodies to enhance the illusion. Loud music blares as these performers use their bodies, costumes and props to tell a story. For that hour or so in the theater I was lost in the world they had created, much like I was as child who would pretend to have my very own circus at the dining room table with iced animal cookies. I don't think I could have ever imagined up the thread of genius that runs through every Cirque du Soleil storyline and performance, but I was surely just as excited.
The thought of pairing iced animal cookies with wine was just too exciting to hold in. I had a moment where I thought, "This is why I do this!" It's one of those fun little pairings that just makes you giggle out loud. Iced animal cookies are lightly frosted shortbread in fun animal shapes with sprinkles on top. My favorite all-purpose cookie wine is Moscato d'Asti. This sweet "frizzante" (semi-sparkling) Italian white wine from Italy is nothing like it's older brother Asti "Spumante" (fully-sparkling). Although both wines are made from the same grape, Moscato d'Asti is more sophisticated with softer bubbles. The wine's peach, apricot and floral aromas work well with the vanilla frosting and heighten the flavor. Moscato has a creamy feeling on the palate as does the cookie after it's been eaten and both are equally light in body. The sweetness of the wine doesn't over power the cookie and the light, lemony acidity helps to wash the flavors off the tongue. Although, I must confess that the wonderful vanilla frosting film left on your tongue after eating these cookies lingers even with the wine. And because iced animal cookies can be so addicting, the low alcohol found in the wine won't have you walking sideways when you've devoured an entire bag. Be sure to chill this wine well before serving. The colder it's served, the better! Other wines to try with iced animal cookies are late harvest/sweet Riesling, ice wine, Banyuls and demi-sec sparkling wine/Champagne. Cheers!