Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Making Memories

One of the parts I love most about wine is how it turns any event into a memorable occasion.  Order pizza on a Sunday afternoon when too lazy to cook?  Uncork a bottle of Merlot, pour in Riedel stemware, and experience the perfect way to relax and wrap up the weekend!  When wine is added to a party or a holiday, the party, holiday, AND wine all become more special.  For Christmas this year, I decided it was time for a very special Christmas dinner for my girl friends, and of course, wine had to be an essential part of the important day for my most loved companions!

First, the ambiance must be set for a special meal.  I brought out my lovely amber cabbage rose Depression glass dishes; having more people than I did antique dishes, I mixed and matched with a friend’s pink and gold floral wedding china.  Gold was the theme, so the table was prepared with a linen table cloth and napkins, gold fabric place mats, beautiful china, gold-plated silverware, red and white Riedel wine glasses, and brass candlesticks.  Now that the table was beautiful, it was time to impress with the food!

The actual meal started with mimosas as a twist on the traditional aperitif.  Though mimosas are often a summer brunch drink, I added frozen cranberries and a splash of cranberry juice to each glass for a Christmas flare.  Keeping with the Christmas idea, I mulled some dry red wine with peaches, blackberries, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, and simple syrup to serve with our cheese plate for the first course.  (For the dry red, I used an inexpensive Beaulieu Vineyards Cabernet.)  The second course was a baked macaroni and cheese made with smoked Harvati cheese and topped with Panko bread crumbs before baking.  This paired well with a semi-dry Riesling; ours was from producer Joel Gott. The main course was Cornish game hen with prosciutto ham in a cream of mushroom sauce served with Hob Nob Pinot Noir.  The crowning glory of the meal was chocolate pot de crème served with a twenty-year aged Tawny port…oh so yummy! 

Though my friends and I get together often, the special food and wine made this meal, and this day, even better.  I’m quite sure that my friends highly enjoyed the dinner, both the food and wine.  More importantly, we truly enjoyed each other’s company.  It is true that wine can make even the simplest meal seem extraordinary.  Though I am not trying to brag, the food was good; however, it was made even better by serving it with wine.  Wine always adds a level of sophistication and happiness to a meal.  My point is, make wine a part of your holiday meals, with friends or family.  For adults, mull wine, make mimosas, pair wine with food, or use wine as dessert (maybe not all of these at once, but just one or two!).  For children, buy sparkling cider to toast with as bubbly, mull apple juice to serve before the meal, or pour water in a wine glass.  The holidays are about making memories, and wine—when consumed responsibly—makes every event memorable.  So cheers to your friends, family, and memories!  Merry Christmas and a happy winey New Year!