It's a friend's b-day tonight, and it's cherry season here. B-day friend wants to incorporate the lovely cherries from her own tree in the menu (pretty sure they are bing variety; in any case they are dark and sweet). There will be 8 people, so there could be two options per course or two bottles of same.
Here's the menu (what I know so far):
1) aperitif - champagne + not sure yet
2) salad - spinach, fresh cherries, fennel, warm goat cheese w/almonds; dressing is toasted almond oil, shallots, tarragon, lemon juice, lemon peel
3) rack of lamb, scalloped potatoes with a Turley zin (this is the only set in stone wine choice - friend has been waiting for b-day to open this wine)
4) chocolate overflow cake — a two-layer chocolate cake filled with fudge icing, iced with chocolate cream, and finished with a poured chocolate ganache. Chopped fresh cherries will be on the side for those who want chocolate cake and fruit combo. Coffee will be an option, but not everyone will want this.
So pairing questions. I'm having a mental block about the effects of the fresh cherries and fresh fennel bulb in the salad, and the fresh cherries with the chocolate cake, and how to pair. Any advice or thoughts?
Thanks much in advance, -sou