The holiday season is filled with celebrations that typically revolve around great meals. Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners often include traditional family recipes with many delicious sides and courses to taste which can make pairing a drink difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Finding the right drink helps complete the meal you spent so much time making! I suggest that you pair wine with the entrée, or try to focus on just one dish or ingredient.
At Christmas, we like to serve roast beef with a light cream mushroom sauce or a beef stew with potatoes and carrots. Red wines from Burgundy are great compliments to these rich meats. An alternative could be white grape juice for kids or those who do not drink alcohol.
If you are serving fish like mussels or scallops or a roasted chicken, a dry wine like a Chablis will pair well as would a refreshing pale ale beer. Take apple cider up a notch for the kids by mixing it with a little sparkling water, that would be a tasty drink.
If you have a dish that includes a lot of cheese like macaroni and cheese or are serving a cheese plate as an appetizer, a Bordeaux or dry red wine will go very well.
If you are serving a salad one that has a salty cheese and acidic vinaigrette a dry rose or Sauvingnon Blanc is recommended.
One tradition that our family does when it is cold outside is we make hot chocolate and serve it with a warm baguette spread with butter to dip into the hot chocolate. If you don’t want the bread, add whipped cream and make it a chocolate cappuccino. If dessert is a sweet chocolate mouse or pecan pie a Pinot Noir or smooth port would match nicely. If you offer guests squares of dark chocolate or a fudgy flourless chocolate cake a lighter Zinfandel or sherry would be a good counter. If apple pie or another fruit based dessert is on the table a dark lager or muled wine would match well.
No matter what you serve this holiday season, we hope it is accompanied by good friends and family.
Written by: Jean-Christophe Gros, Voila French Bistro
Jean-Christophe Gros is the executive chef at Voila French Bistro. He has more than 30 years cooking experience, most of them in kitchens in France. Chef Gros and his family moved to Phoenix from France three years ago to open their own restaurant. Voila French Bistro is located at 10135 East Via Linda in Scottsdale. For more information visit www.voilafrenchbistro.com.