They're enough to make grown men smile like a 5-year-old child. That's what happened when I showed up on set to photograph dipping Oatmeal Creme Pies in wine. My photographer's face lit up like a kid on Christmas morning. "You're going to pair Oatmeal Creme Pies with wine?" he said excitedly! I had never tried them before and couldn't understand what all the excitement was about. I wondered if the cookies were as delicious as they seemed and God forbid, if I had been missing out on indulging in these goodies my entire life.
This isn't the first time I've tried a food initially upon pairing it with wine. Although I indulged in jalapeño poppers and Sauvignon Blanc, I almost spit out a Hungry Man dinner and possibly offended my precious vino by sampling them together. I've learned that some things are better left out of my memory. I wondered however, were Oatmeal Creme Pies going to make me want to call my grandmother and ask her why she deprived me of them my entire life? Why hadn't I tried these individually packaged treats, I mean heck, they fed me Top Ramen?
I soon discovered my photographer wasn't the only one who grinned at the thought of trying Oatmeal Creme Pie's with wine. My fiance, along with a slew of friends who attend my wine tastings all had the same reaction, "Oatmeal Creme Pies! I used to be addicted to them as a kid!" Their eyes smiled along with their lips and I wondered, I'm sure like many of you, does Little Debbie put crack in those cookies?
I was anxious to see if I too would be "hooked" at one bite of an Oatmeal Creme Pie. On the day of the tasting I took out 8 individually wrapped cookies and felt their soft texture between my fingertips. "Tonight, I'm going to devour you!" I thought. Two foods and a slew of wines later, we finally made our way to sampling the cookies. I took a small bite so that I could savor every tiny morsel. Then, I realized that either everyone's taste buds at 9-years-old are horribly underdeveloped, or my palate is completely off because although the cookies were tasty, they weren't that damn good! The flavor was mild and they lacked the complexity of spices that I enjoy in many versions of an oatmeal cookie. The creme pie was soft and almost fell apart in my hands (not good when I'm trying to dunk it in wine) as I went to take a second and third bite. The marshmallow center was just added creaminess and I found myself longing for a bit of a crunch somewhere in there.
I hadn't given up on the cookies altogether, however. I still needed to see what they were like with wine. As usual, two wines were chosen. The winner for me was the R.L. Buller & Son Victoria Tawny. The wine is made from the Muscat grape in the Rutherglen region of Australia and goes through the solera system (process of fractional blending of wines from different years) to achieve its complexity. Robert Parker (wine critic) gave the wine 93 points and said, "No other wine can rival these wines for sheer complexity, decadence in flavor and hedonistic please." After a bite of the food and then a sip of the wine, I like how the fig, raisin, all-spice, brown sugar and molasses flavors of the wine work with the subtle spice in the dessert. Together, they create a sort of pumpkin bread flavor and the vanilla flavor from the Oatmeal Creme Pie also comes to life. Weight wise, they are equally heavy and are also equally creamy on the palate. When paired alongside the wine, I suddenly like the cookie a whole lot better!
Wine featured in this photo: R.L. Buller & Son Victoria Tawny (Available at Khoury's Fine Wine & Spirits $14.99)