Cooking with Sherry vs Cooking with Marsala

Many of my visitors write me because a recipe will call for using sherry or marsala. They want to know what these wines are, if they are interchangeable, and if they can substitute something else instead.

Marsala is a fortified wine (wine with alcohol added) from Italy -

Marsala Information

Sherry is a fortified wine from Spain -

Sherry Information

So they are both fortified wines - but they use completely different grapes, completely different techniques. It is sort of like saying a chicken and a turkey are both "birds". They have similar flavors, but not the same flavors. Maybe a better comparison would be saying lambs and pigs are both small mammals, so their meat has similar flavor but not the same.

So certainly you could cook a dish with marsala and it would be tasty - I love veal marsala for example. But it'd be a different flavor than the same dish with sherry.

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