Best Holiday Appetizers and Wine Pairings
The Holidays are officially here and as we all know that pretty much equates to an all month long wine and cheese party. Not to fret, Abbey saves the day again with some stellar appetizer and wine pairings that not only taste great together but won’t leave you with the feeling that you’re going to have to spend a lot of time at the gym next week.
Abbey has partnered up with Corby Distilleries to select her 4 favorite wines to go with her 4 favorite holiday appetizers. Her first selection is her Cherry and Caramelized Onion Bruschetta. She recommends pairing this with a Campo Viego Rioja due to its complimentary flavors of bold cherry, plumb, blackberry, and peppery vanilla. Start by brushing slices of a whole grain baguette with a touch of olive oil and then sprinkle them with Fleur de sel, also known as French sea salt. Bake these at 400′ until golden brown. Next sauté a sweet onion low and slow in a touch of olive oil until caramelized. Once caramelized add in sweet cherries, honey, balsamic vinegar, a pinch each of salt and pepper, and of course the red wine. Simmer the mixture until the cherries break down and you are left with a jam like consistency. When it’s to serve up this delicious appetizer Abbey lays a few thin slices of plum over the toast then sprinkles them with crushed pistachios and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Recipe here:
Next on the list is Abbey’s Mushroom and Ricotta Bruschetta. Her preference of pairing on this one is a Reserve Chardonnay, especially the one from Jacob’s Creek, due to its creamy texture and light peach flavor. The light peach flavor is naturally complimentary to the ricotta cheese without overpowering the flavor of the mushrooms. To make this appetizer heat a tsp. of oil in a medium saucepan and sauté some mushrooms until golden brown. Add in garlic and thyme leaves then stir for 30 seconds. After that pour in the chardonnay and add a pinch each of salt and pepper, simmering until the liquid evaporates. Next smear your toast with some part-skim ricotta cheese, top with some lemon zest, add your sautéed mushrooms and garnish with some fresh parsley. Recipe: http://www.abbeyskitchen.com/blog/recipe-healthy-white-wine-mushroom-ricotta-bruschetta/
Her third appetizer is Manchego Stuffed Prosciutto Wrapped Dates. Keep an eye on your platter when you’re done making these as they are quite addictive. Abbey recommends pairing these with a Cabernet Sauvignon and personally likes the unique flavoring of the Buried Hope brand due to it’s strong notes of ripe blackberry and plum. It also helps cut the richness of the prosciutto and cheese. First place a small piece of manchego cheese into the cavity of a pitted date, then wrap it in a small piece of prosciutto. Bake these wrapped dates at 350′ for 12 minutes or until the bacon crisps up and the cheese begins to gently melt. As that’s cooking simmer 1/2 cup of cabernet and a touch of honey until reduced to a thick, sweet syrup. Toss the wrapped dates in the sauce, plate them and serve warm. Recipe:
Finally, Abbey unveils her appetizer recipe for Poached Pear and Almond Goat Cheese Skewers. This recipe is best complimented by a Sauvignon Blanc, Abbey prefers the one from Stoneleigh, but as always feel free to go with your favorite. The fresh acidity is this particular wine stands up well against the tanginess of the goat cheese and the passion for flavors in the wine pair nicely with the fruitiness of the pear. Into a small saucepan Abbey combines white wine, water, honey, lemon rind, lemon juice, peppercorn, and a cinnamon stick. Simmer the mixture until the honey is completely dissolved. Add to this balls of pears made using a melon baller on your favorite type of pear. Simmer this until your pear balls are slightly soft but not falling apart. While that’s simmering roll some reduced fat goat cheese into small balls and toss then in a healthy amount of toasted sliced almonds along with some dried cranberries, getting an even coating. Now take one of your pear balls and one of the goat cheese balls and skewer them with a toothpick. Voila, you now have you final appetizer complete.
Anyone would agree these are all serious upgrades from your traditional cheese and crackers. Take your holiday appetizers to a whole new level this season and leave your friends and family thinking “Those are the best holiday appetizer and wine pairings I’ve ever had”.
For more tips on staying healthy, recipes, and information fit for consumption by foodies everywhere stop by Abbey’s blog, and by all means don’t forget to subscribe.
Disclaimer: These recipes were developed in partnership with Corby Spirit and Wines.