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48
Food
and drink
by
Shari
Darling
I love watermelon, but have always
thought of it as a kind of useless fruit,
made up of water and sugar. But it is
delicious and serves the purpose of
quenching thirst and cooling off the
body in the summer heat.
New evidence reveals that watermelon
is yet another important super food,
one that also happens to pair nicely
with its appropriate wines!
Watermelon is considered a high-
lycopene and citrulline food. Lycopene
is a carotenoid phytonutrient that
contributes toward our cardiovascular
health and bones.
Citrulline is also an essential amino
acid that our bodies convert through
the kidneys and organs into another
amino acid called arginine. A cup
of watermelon provides about 250
milligrams of citrulline. This means
that watermelon improves the
body’s blood flow, another beneficial
contributor to cardiovascular health.
Impressive levels of phenolic
antioxidants, flavonoids and vitamin C
can also be found in this South African
fruit. Concentrations of these healthful
nutrients depend on the watermelon
variety.
The key to attaining all of these
wonderful health benefits is
ensuring that you eat a fully ripened
watermelon, one in which the flesh is
dark pink to red.
The first reference to watermelon
was found in hieroglyphics on tomb
walls about 3,000 years ago in Egypt.
Merchants took watermelon on their
travels along the Mediterranean Sea,
where it eventually made its way to
China in the 10
th
century. By the 13
th
century, Europeans were introduced to
watermelon.
African slaves brought watermelon
with them to North America by way
of the Atlantic Ocean. It found its way
into the English dictionary in 1615.
Watermelon is sweet and therefore,
demands a wine with sweetness,
whether you’re using it in a salad,
gazpacho or dessert. The sweeter the
dish, the more sweetness is required
from the wine. Italian Moscato, a sweet
sparkling wine, is a lovely complement
to watermelon-based dishes – it’s
sweet and bubbly, refreshing for
summer sipping. Icewine is a natural
complement as well. Icewine can
be used to make a sweet martini or
served over ice with lemon. Be sure to
chill Icewine until it’s ice-cold. Tawny
port also works with watermelon. Pour
tawny port over ice with a wedge of
lemon.
I’m not sure where I found this recipe
about 10 years ago, but I make
watermelon cake every year, at least
once. I put the cake on a cake stand
with a decorative cover. I present the
covered cake stand to my guests. They
always ooooohhh and aaaahhh at
the sight of a cake stand, expecting
and anticipating a decadent cake for
dessert. I open the lid. Voila! They see
a large, white-iced cake decorated in
fresh berries, toasted almonds and
drizzled in chocolate.
Little do my guests know that this
decadent-looking cake is simply
watermelon, yogurt and fresh berries!
When I slice into the cake and serve
slices to the guests, they are always
utterly surprised to find that the
interior is pure watermelon – not flour,
butter, eggs and sugar!
Watermelon cake is the healthiest and
loveliest summer dessert ever.
Here is the recipe.
For more information on
wine and food, go to
Water
melon