It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Almost Christmas, so you’ve probably started thinking about what to put on the dinner table. But do you know what type of wine you should be serving with your beloved Xmas delicacies? For those who can use some extra ideas, we’d like to share a selection of festive, mouthwatering recipes, created by fellow foodies. The wine selection has come about, thanks to our exciting collab with the Wine & Spirit Eduction Trust (WSET).
WSET Educator Joseph Hallam shares his tips to perfect wine pairings for Christmas. And we are happy to feature a couple of creations of the best Belgian food bloggers, combined with some good wine advice. Thanks to Cookameal, Hap en Tap, Roeckiesworld, Manon Macaron, Kris Kookt and Eliens Cuisine for inspiring us with your recipes.
Seafood (lobster, oysters): always a success
WSET Educator Joseph Hallam: “It’s Christmas and we’re celebrating so many of us will pop open the Champagne for seafood. And with good reason: it refreshes your palate beautifully, and the saltiness of shellfish will balance the wine’s racy acidity. The delicate flavours of the dish and wine won’t overpower each other. If you want to do something a bit different, then explore the world of sparkling wines with a Franciacorta or fizz from New Zealand. And if you prefer more fruity flavours and no bubbles, an Albariño could be perfect – winemakers in Galicia know how to produce wines for world-class seafood!”
Good old classics: Christmas Turkey or roast chicken
WSET Educator Joseph Hallam: “The great thing about Christmas turkey is so many of your favourite wines will work with this dish. The classic Burgundy grapes of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are great partners because their complex and delicate flavours won’t be overpowered by turkey. To explore something else, look for Reservas or Gran Reservas from Rioja with their red fruit and savoury gamey character, or the high-quality toasty oaked Chenin Blancs from South Africa.”
Source: Eliens Cuisine: Kerstkip
Always room for dessert: Christmas cake / ‘bûche de Noël’
WSET Educator Joseph Hallam: Our recommendation for desserts: make sure the wine is at least as sweet as the food. Take it to the extreme and pick a Pedro Ximenez from Jerez. Dark and syrupy, it’s full of dried fruit, coffee, and toffee aromas. If you need something lighter at the end of the meal, then Moscato d’Asti is great fun with a bit less sugar, fresh fruit, and a gentle fizz.
Bites like cheese and meat
WSET Educator Joseph Hallam: “These extra bites at Christmas time are one of the best festive indulgences, and it’s a great chance to share some special wines. Salty snacks will enhance the fruity flavours of wine and – if you’re sensitive to acidity – will make them seem a bit less tart. Wines made from the Riesling grape have a wonderful fresh fruit and floral quality, and their zippy acidity make them great partners for salty meats and cheeses. You’ll always see the name Riesling on the label so they’re easy to find, and for those who enjoy combining savoury and sweet, look out for the lower alcohol Rieslings from Germany. Otherwise there are wonderful dry Rieslings from all over the world.”
Cheese on the menu? Get inspired by Eliens Cuisine.
Game dishes (venison, pheasant,..)
WSET Educator Joseph Hallam: “These meats are full of powerful flavour and risk overwhelming more delicate wines. Time for us to turn to the most opulent wines, like Amarone from Valpolicella or old vine Zinfandels from California. The salty meats will keep these wines’ high tannins in check and bring out those rich concentrated fruit and spice aromas. If you’re on a budget or want something with less alcohol and more freshness then Ripasso wines, from Valpolicella as well, could be just right for you.”