I look forward to my family coming together to enjoy Easter dinner. For me, the day denotes faith, the blessing of family and the sweet arrival of spring. Incorporate some lovely bottles of wine to go with the food, add yummy one-eared chocolate bunnies, and I am a happy woman.
If you celebrate Easter, you most likely have a dinner menu in place by now. Have you thought out the Easter wine and food pairing, though?
Traditionally, an Easter dinner main course includes a succulent baked ham or roasted lamb. Some prefer serving up a hearty roast beef or opt for poultry. No matter what your food choice may be, there is a wine to accompany the feast. Food and wine pairing is not as mysterious as you may think.
The depth and breadth of opinions about what wine goes with what food is overwhelming. There are as many wine and food pairing critics as there are varieties of wine. Many wine experts will not sway from the specific wine with a specific food school of thought.
Other wine authorities are somewhat more receptive to the option that no matter what food you are serving, wine is a separate experience – not the end-all to the food.
Nevertheless, I Like…
I believe most wine and food pairing recommendations support the wine or chef’s expert advice. However, I have also found that some wines, generally noted as not being a good match with certain food, turn out to be satisfactory as my experience goes.
For instance, I am well aware many authorities maintain that Riesling wine and spicy food formulate the best combination. This has not always been the case for me.
Finding My Wine Zone
On many occasions, I have indulged in hot and/or spicy food accompanied quite happily with a glass of Zinfandel wine. I recognize that many wine connoisseurs profess there exists a science behind wine and food pairing. Rather than being something mysterious, it most likely boils down to one balancing the other. I like to keep it simple and personal, though.
While I do not frown upon what the masses have to say, I sometimes prefer to judge a wine and food pairing based on my individual taste buds. If a certain food and wine taste good together, that works for me. Do not be afraid to march to a different drummer when it comes to mixing food and wine.
Tried and True Food and Wine Pairing
However, for those who desire the tried and true method, the following Easter wine and food pairing will take the guesswork out of the process:
1. Ham and Chicken – Riesling Wine
A reliable Easter wine and food pairing is baked ham or chicken and Riesling wine. When it comes to versatility, Riesling has been for me, a no-fail white wine. Because I lived in Germany for three years, I am accustomed to German Riesling. It may not be for everyone, though. The German wine is distinctly tart.
Riesling produced in California, which is my American white wine favorite, is dry, a bit on the melon side of flavor, and all around awesome. Check your local grocery or package store for a nice variety of Riesling wine made in the U.S. and Germany. Riesling ranges from dry to full-bodied, to sweet. Think rose petal floral, and pear, apple, peach and apricot elements.
If your state allows it, you can order wine on the Web, and have it shipped to your home. Unfortunately, Massachusetts does not allow this practice at the current time. Check your state laws. If your state is OK with this, it is a great way to get wine direct from a winery or another country.
2. Lamb and Beef – Cabernet Sauvignon
If you cook your Easter lamb or roast beef smothered with fresh herbs, then Cabernet Sauvignon is the wine to pair with either of these luscious meats. The primary taste in Cabernet is black currant. Black currants are berries with a sharp, sweet taste.
However, because Cabernet is customarily aged in oak containers, it can take on a delectable slightly oak flavor. Blackberry is often a distinguishable overtone in a Cabernet. If your Easter dinner guests are not drinkers, there is a load of non-alcohol wines on the market. It is a thoughtful gesture to provide an alternative beverage.
3. Visit a Local Winery
There is no better way to learn about wine and food pairing than by visiting a local winery. I live in Massachusetts. There are a growing number of established, and up-and-coming wineries now in my state. The friendly people who work at these wineries are extremely helpful when it comes to pairing wine with food. At wine-searcher.com you can locate wineries in 48 of the U.S. states.
Currently, the site lists links to an amazing 4,216 wineries across the country. Easter wine and food pairing just became a whole lot less complicated.
Ray Isle, “An Expert’s Pairing Advice,” Food & Wine