Wednesday, December 10, 2014

10 Food and Wine Pairings To Get You Through the Holidays

This seems to be the busiest time of year. You have a house to decorate, gifts to buy, parties to attend, meals to plan and not enough hours in the day to make it all work seamlessly. But you don’t have to sacrifice enjoying a decent meal paired with a complimentary wine during the rush. Here are ten suggestions to help make your holiday season a little less stressed and a bit jollier.

Beef Stew
1) Soups and stews are the staples of a winter meal and the heavier the better when it’s cold. For beef stew or chili consider pouring a substantial red like Cabernet or Syraz. For a creamy chicken or seafood chowder, a bottle of lightly oaked Chardonnay will do nicely. Serving more of a broth-based soup like Chicken Noodle or French Onion? Go with a glass of Pinot Noir.

Spaghetti & Meatballs
2) Busy nights call for simple meals and what’s simpler than spaghetti and meatballs. Mix up your favorite tomato sauce, pour over the pasta, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top, toast some Italian bread and pour a glass of Chianti. The acidity in the wine works with the tomatoes and the fruit-forward flavors will make the meal taste special.

Take Out
3) Sometimes it just has to be takeout! If you’re ordering a spicy Mexican meal, reach for a Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc. Opting for Italian? Grab a bottle of Sangiovese or a Zinfandel. For an Indian meal, uncork a dry Traminette or Vidal.

4) Party appetizers can run the gamut from savory to sweet and include everything from finger foods to tapas. Best to start the evening with a glass of Traminette or a sparkling wine: both have broad appeal and go with a multitude of flavors.

Fish Dinner
5) For a meaty Salmon or Tuna dinner serve a Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. If you are having a more flaky fish like Tilapia or Flounder, a nicely chilled Sauvignon Blanc will enhance the meal.

Chicken Dinner
6) Having a GNO (Girl’s Night Out) for the holidays? Opt for a roast or grilled chicken meal and savor a glass of Pinot Noir or a nicely oaked Chardonnay. If you’re more of a wing girl, pass on the beer and try an off-dry Riesling or even a Malbec to put out the fire.

Steak and Potatoes
7) Having dinner out with the in-laws or your kid’s latest flame? Time for some major yet classy comfort food; think steak and potatoes served with a big bold wine like a Cabernet or red Zinfandel. By the end of the meal you’ll feel mellow, regardless of the dinner conversation.

8) For those who serve wild game during the holidays, go for a wine with an earthy taste. Cabernet Sauvignon is excellent with venison and a Barbera or Zinfandel will enhance the flavors of wild boar, goose and duck.

Cheese tray
9) Ah, the holiday cheese tray. You never know what flavors you’ll encounter on one of these little forays so be prepared for anything with a glass of dry sparkling wine. If you are a die-hard red drinker, opt for Pinot Noir’s friendly approach to most cheeses.

Dessert Tray
10) Since it’s the holidays, you must have dessert. (Trust me.) Revel in those tiny bubbles with tarts, fruit crisps and trifles, be it a sparkling Moscato or demi-sec champagne. For a more caramel-chocolate based dessert enjoy a classic Port.

And if you’re suddenly craving a sweet/salty fix get out the potato chips and savor them with a dessert wine. Seriously! Sherry, Port or Madeira all work well with salty foods.

The holidays are here: Go out and enjoy the festivities!

~ Joy