This month, while traveling through the Provence region of France, specifically the Côtes du Rhône wine region, I had the opportunity to taste magnificent food, delicate wines, and absorb the gourmet culture of the French countryside. There, the French have a particular way of enjoying life: fresh fruits and vegetables from open air markets, a healthy dose of wine, and a slower pace. The climate is perfect for growing Mediterranean fruits – warm, fairly dry, and sun-baked. Provençal wines are frequently paired with fruits grown in the region – pears, melons, apricots, etc. Pairing fruit with wine has been a worldwide tradition for centuries; pears, for instance, are a nice combination with red, white, or rosé wines, and are exceptionally pleasant matched with dessert wines.
In addition to the benefit for your palate, a moderate amount of wine has particular health benefits that complement the health benefits of pears. One such benefit is that wine is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are protective agents that play roles in fending off different cancers, prevention of cardiovascular disease that leads to heart attack and stroke, and they likely have other yet-undiscovered benefits. Likewise, pears are rich in antioxidants, the antioxidant vitamin (vitamin C), and fiber – a heart-healthy component that helps clear the blood vessels. This is just one reason that fruits and moderate amounts of wine are components of the Mediterranean diet. Thus, one could say that combining pears with wine for dessert or an aperitif is part of a therapeutic diet. So go ahead, indulge in a creamy, ripe pear and perhaps a light-bodied wine, and enjoy life Provençal style. Bon appétit!