Monday, September 29, 2008

Food and Wine Pairings for Christmas, New Year's Day, Hanukkah

Here are some tips for holiday parties that will allow guests to have a
good time and take home some new favorite food and wine pairings to use
in their own kitchens.

For a dinner party where the guests will be a mix of red and white wine
lovers, I suggest buying a bottle or two of both a German or Finger
Lakes Riesling and aPinot Noir from Burgundy. Riesling is a wine that
many novice wine drinkers will be familiar with, and choosing a dry
version will enable the wine to pair with a wide variety of seafood and white meats with fruit or cream based sauces.
Pinot Noir is a light, tasty red wine that can pair with many foods, especially meats with mushroom-based sauces. Encourage guests to try both wines with each dish and offer their impressions of which wine pairs best with each course.

Adding a wine and food tasting element to Hanukkah and Christmas parties can
be as easy as purchasing a few dozen plastic wine glasses.
Instead of the traditional separation of food and drink, arrange a group of
empty wine glasses next to a selection of finger foods. Place a
handmade sign directing guests to try the 'Cabernet with the aged
cheddar cheese' or the 'Sauvignon Blanc with the chips and mango salsa,' in front of the snacks and let guests choose their own wine and food pairing.

For more suggestions on appetizer pairings, watch my video on pairing wine with cheese:

A perfect after-dinner wine for enjoying Hanukkah 'gelt'
or the chocolate treats from the Christmas Stocking is Port. Port is a
fortified wine and meant to be sipped and savored slowly, so portions
are smaller than table wine. The residual sugar in Port wine allows the
wine to pair very well with sweeter chocolate as well as nuts and
savory blue cheeses. For the adventurous wine drinker, chill a bottle
of Brachetto d'Acqui. This is a slightly sweet red wine with a little sparkle in the glass. Brachetto pairs well with both chocolate and fresh strawberries.

New Year's Day party wine and food pairings are focused on the drink of the night - sparkling wine!
Put out the classiest pairings early in the night and save the more
interesting matches for after the ball drops. Champagne and other dry
sparkling wines pair with salty and oily foods. Early evening snacks
can include Caviar and a wide range of traditional hors d'oeuvres.
After midnight, get creative by inviting your guests to try their leftover
bubbly with familiar favorites like potato chips, french fries, fried
chicken and salted popcorn. For guests that like their wines a little
sweeter, serve a bubblyMoscato d'Asti. This fruity sparkler pairs well with fresh fruit and berries with cream or other not-too-sweet desserts.

What are your favorite holiday food and wine pairings?

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