Holiday Wine Pairings: Feast of the Seven Fishes
Written by Alyson Aiello on November 29, 2017
The Christmas season is all about getting together and enjoying great food and good cheer. At Traveling Vineyard, we hope to bring the wine to your holiday table. So, for those of you out there who are dreaming of a delicious Christmas, we present the Feast of the Seven Fishes, wine style.
The Feast of the Seven Fishes has its roots in Italy where it is better known as a vigil meal enjoyed in anticipation of Christmas Day, when those of the Catholic faith could again eat red meat. Today, the “seven fishes” menu is a popular Christmas Eve meal for those of many faiths and tastes across the U.S.
Preparing seven different fish dishes, however, might not work for your hectic holiday schedule! Don’t clam up just yet! We’ve designed an Italian-inspired meal with recipes and sides all based on this tasty meal tradition—and, all paired with Traveling Vineyard wines selected by our Director of Sommology.
Welcome your revelers with a creamy and savory crab dip served piping hot from the oven alongside a refreshing white wine to balance the heft and spice of the dip. We love Food & Wine magazine’s recipe for New England-Style Crab Dip with Brown-Butter Crumbs. It has a kick of hot sauce and it’s topped with rich brown-butter crumbs—yum. Pair your crab dip with our 2015 Calamity Sue Riesling, Lake County California, our 2016 Jitterbug Sauvignon Blanc, California, or our 2016 Belle Mente Pinot Grigio, Venezie IGT, Italy. Each of these will provide a welcome complement to your first course.
Once the wine and conversation are flowing, move your guests to the dining room for a seafood stew that’s out of this world. Here’s where the taste of Italy begins! Cioppina is a tomato-based stew that features clams, mussels, shrimp and your favorite catch of the day, like halibut or salmon. It all comes together with garlic, shallots, crushed red pepper and even a splash or two of white wine. When it comes to pairing, however, this course is reserved for red. “Our 2016 Convict’s Reward, Pinot Noir, South Eastern Australia, pairs with cioppina because although the wine has enough acid to be pleasing with the tomatoes, you don’t want to pair it with anything too full-bodied or bold, which will compete with the flavors of the stew.” says Missa Capozzo, our Director of Sommology. Our French favorite of the moment is another great choice. 2016 Perique, Côtes du Rhône Villages, France, is an indulgent red that should be on every holiday table!
Mangia, Mangia! Main Course
Tender scampi over herbed linguine is a meal that was made for the holidays. It’s warm, buttery and infused with garlic and lemon, yet light enough to leave you a little room for dessert. Pair Ina Garten’s Shrimp Scampi recipe with your pick of one of our three holiday Chardonnays: 2014 Zeffer Hills, Monterey Chardonnay, California; 2016 Steeple Street, Chardonnay, California; or, our Down Under sweetheart, 2016 Peekaboo, Chardonnay, South Eastern Australia.
Balance all that butter intake with some healthy greens. Try our pick for a side dish, an Italian favorite known as “greens and beans.” The “green” in this dish is fresh kale and the “beans” are white cannellini beans, all cooked in garlic and chicken stock for a satisfying side. Pair with 2016 Jitterbug Sauvignon Blanc, California, 2016 Belle Mente Pinot Grigio, Venezie IGT, Italy, or our Italian Grillo, 2016 Spruzzi, Grillo Terre Siciliane IGP, Italy.
Dolce Fine (A Sweet Finish!)
Tiramisu is a delicate and delicious Italian dessert that features dark chocolate, espresso, rum and marscapone cheese layered between Ladyfingers (a sweet sponge biscuit). You can find an amazing tiramisu at your favorite Italian bakery, or try your hand at making this zabaglione-like dessert at home. The espresso and dark chocolate elements invite a bold red like a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. We recommend our 2016 LUXX, Paso Robles Merlot, California, our 2016 State Room, Cabernet Sauvignon, Western Cape South Africa, or our 2016 Rayado, Central Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile.
Do you have a traditional “Seven Fishes” recipe that you like to serve on Christmas Eve? Share it with us on our Facebook page. We’ll be happy to make a wine recommendation!
Order your holiday wine by December 14 for guaranteed delivery!