It’s that time of year again – the leaves have changed, and temperatures are dropping. We’ve all traded our summer clothes for the cozy fall and winter items. Big soft sweaters, corduroy pants, fuzzy slippers, and warm pajamas. Being a Minnesotan requires you to look forward to putting your things away and getting the next seasons garb back out again. Somehow it breaks up the day-to-day blahs as winter sets in. Much like our clothing we also change up our menu’s. The food we desire becomes hearty, warm and crunchy. We spend more time inside as winter settles in. The holiday season commands having guests over and being a guest.
Once Halloween fun has passed, and all the candy and goblins have gone by the wayside we officially start Thanksgiving. Today we welcome you to our table for Thanksgiving dinner. We’ve created a menu of our family favorites, and Lisa and Michael Clausen who own The Vintage Wine-Spirits-Beer just down the road from our house at the border of Eden Prairie and Chanhassen have put together a fantastic wine pairing to go with our celebration. Our family has a few wine connoisseurs that are always eager to taste the goods and not being an expert makes it a tough job. I have to rely on the professionals at The Vintage as they are always ready to help. I gave them my menu and discussed the number of guests who will be drinking the wine as well as a price point. From there I received the list that goes with this menu.
I adore hosting a party. I’m one of those people who has multiple sets of china and plenty of glassware. But don’t you worry, even if you don’t have all the extra bits and pieces you’ll be just fine and here’s how.
Focus on what your guests will enjoy about coming to your home. The food, wine, good company and decor. These are the things that set the day apart from all the others making your guests feel special. You’ve certainly heard that the presentation is key to a beautiful meal that will taste great and be talked about well after everyone has gone home.
Here’s what you’ll need from the grocery store – Parsley, Apples, Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Pomegranates, little colorful Peppers and anything else that looks good to you. Having these inexpensive items on hand as you prepare your dishes makes it easy to garnish while creating that visual appeal you seek at your table to make that meaningful impression. Slice up the fruit lay it or twist it, place the peppers, be generous with the parsley and fill a bowl with apples, oranges, limes, and lemons for a centerpiece.
For the ambiance in your home don’t go overboard at the store – head outside. It is the perfect time of year to snip off the dried out heads of the Hydrangeas, cut a few branches with the red berries on them, gather some fallen leaves and you’re almost there. Pick up a bouquet or two of flowers and start arranging. Tip – keep your arrangement low if it’s going to stay on your table during your meal. If you go with a big or tall idea, just remove it when it’s time to eat.
It is always great to start off any party with bubbles. Roederer Estate is one of California’s premier sparkling wine producers. Their Brut Estate is quite nice but if you want to step it up a notch go with the Brut Estate Rose. A great starter that could also work with the main course. If the bubbles are too much, try a more traditional rose. Elouan Rose is a classic dry rose with great fruit.
Pinot Noir has long been a staple at the Thanksgiving table. A very versatile red wine that can pair well with the many flavors of the day. Cloudline from the Willamette Valley in Oregon is one of our favorites. Great Pinot at a great price. If white suits you better a traditional Chardonnay works well. Pine Ridge Dijon Clone Chardonnay fits the bill for a bottle of wine that will stand up to this meal.
These wines will work well with the pie also, but if you need a little more sweetness with your dessert try a lovely Sauternes or a late harvest Semillon.
Remember – A wine basket gift from The Vintage always makes a great hostess gift. Happy Thanksgiving.