Many people, including my wife, have a book club get together once a month. Each person has a month where they choose the book, everyone reads it on their own time, and then all get together at a house to discuss the story over some food and wine…and there it is! Food and wine.Some of the books spark great conversation because the stories were compelling, or it tapped into feelings certain individuals may be having at that time. However, there are times when a book falls flat on its face and the evening quickly turns into a fun social event with glasses being filled again and again.What I find interesting about my wife’s book club is that each person brings some sort of food with a certain level of creativity and thought, just like they do when choosing their book titles. On a very cool note, people have tried using Hello Vino for food and wine pairings!Many times the night starts with some cheese, stuffed mushrooms, or perhaps some spinach dip with crackers of some sort. All of these appetizers play nicely with wine. Here are some wine pairing ideas for your next event:
Soft cheese candidate: Camembert
Wine Pairing: Chenin Blanc (SHEN-ihn BLAHNGK): A sweet white wine with honey and nectar, & a creamy finish is a good match.Semi-Soft cheese candidate: Havarti
Wine Pairing: Rioja (ree-OH-hah): A jammy red wine with forest fruits & spice is a good match.Semi-Hard cheese candidate: Cheddar
Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc (SOH-vee-nyawn BLAHNGK): A grassy white wine with herbs & smoke is a match.
Wine Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon (ka-behr-NAY soh-vihn-YOHN): A firm red wine with black fruit, oak and herbs is a good match.Hard cheese candidate: Edam
Wine Pairing: Champagne/Sparkling Wine (sham-PAYN): A dry (Brut) is a light sparkling wine that is refreshing and a good match.Hors d’oeuvres: Stuffed Mushrooms
Wine Pairing: Merlot (mer-LOH): A lush red wine with plum, black cherry, & caramel is a match.Dips: How about that Spinach Dip?
Wine Pairing: Viogneir (vee-oh-NYAY): A dry white wine with peach & apricot flavor is a match.
Wine Pairing: Dry Rose (roh-ZAY): A dry, pink wine with flavors of wild strawberry, watermelon & cherry is a good match.
Let’s not forget about the main dishes! I was told that baked ziti was on the book club menu this evening. In addition, there were two vegetarian recipes that everyone was raving about. Here are some more food and wine pairings and a new recipe to try!
1) Baked Ziti
Wine Pairing: Chianti (kee-AHN-tee): A spicy red wine with flavors of red cherry and pepper is a nice match.
Wine Pairing: Sangiovese (san-joh-VAY-zeh): A red wine with tart cherry, plum, & spice is a match.
Wine Pairing: Syrah/Shiraz (see-RAH): A red wine with blackberry, plum, and pepper is a good match.
2) Vegetable Lasagna
Wine Pairing: Sancerre (sahn-SEHR): A fruity white wine that has vegetal flavors is a good match.
Wine Pairing: Beaujolais (boh-zhuh-LAY): A light, fruity red wine with soft flavors of banana and pear is a good match.
3) Portobello Musroom & Eggplant Casserole
Wine Pairing: Nebbiolo (neh-be-YOH-lo): A red wine with wild cherry and truffles is a good match. This wine has plenty of acidity and body to stand up to the rich tastes of this casserole
Easy Eggplant Casserole Recipe
- 1 large eggplant
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms (try fancy ones, like portobella)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp each dried basil and parsley
- 1/2 tbsp sage
- 1 tsp paprika
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1-2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked rice
- 1 cup of non-dairy “cheese”
- Peel and cube eggplant into 1/4 inch pieces.
- Stir fry eggplant, onions and mushrooms in olive oil along with spices and soy sauce until tender. (To avoid scorching add water in small amounts.)
- While vegetables are cooking, preheat oven to 350 F.
- Lightly grease a casserole dish.
- Remove vegetables from heat and stir in rice (amount will vary with amount of veggies) and 1/2 half the non-dairy “cheese”
- Spoon mixture into casserole, sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Have a great weekend… Cheers!Jim from Hello Vino