(guest post, by Jay Deratany)
Summer food and drink is a no-brainer – throw a burger on the grill, crack open a beer and you’re good to go. It’s too hot to get too complicated with your menus.
But as the temperatures drop and the Halloween decorations start going up, we begin craving more satisfying and thoughtful food and drink. We want rich flavors and warm, nostalgic dishes that bring a bit of comfort as we wistfully wish summer farewell.
So, as you begin planning your autumn soirees and cozy nights at home by the fire, consider giving these delicious wine and small plate pairings a try.
Gewürztraminer & Squash Dip
When you think of fall, you think of the old Thanksgiving cornucopia, brimming with beautiful ripe squash. And for good reason – butternut squash is at its very best in the autumn months. And the cool climate, Lychee-sweet Gewürztraminer with its floral aromas is perfect for rich, nutty butternut squash.
A homemade dip is always impressive, despite how easy it is to make, and this squash-based recipe is no exception. It’s unpretentious but several grades above a store-bought hummus, and it will be a scrumptious accompaniment to a chilled glass of Gewürztraminer.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cut a 2-pound squash in half length-wise, scoop out seeds and cut an onion into quarters.
- Brush the cut sides of the onion, squash and 4 cloves of garlic with olive oil and arrange (cut sides down) on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 45 minutes at 350°F.
- Let cool slightly and then scoop out the squash and put in food processer along with onions.
- Squeeze garlic cloves in and blend until it’s smooth and creamy.
- Add 2 tablespoons sour cream, ¾ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon each of ground red pepper & ground black pepper.
- Serve warm with pita chips or toasted French bread and enjoy!
Riesling & Roasted Apple and Brie Bruschetta
Apples are always a good bet with sweetly crisp white wines, but during the autumn season apples are truly a treat. We’re particularly fond of the Honeycrisp variety – it’s prettily pink and tastes like what you hope every apple you ever bit into will taste like: tartly sweet and juicily crisp. So it’s the perfect partner for an aromatic Riesling that isn’t too sweet.
And, of course, Brie cheese is a natural friend of apples, so this simple bruschetta is a great way to let each delicious element shine in its natural state. After all, when you have high-quality ingredients that are in-season, you don’t need to do much to them to enjoy.
- Cut a crusty baguette into slices, brush with olive oil and toast in the oven.
- Slice up 2 apples & sprinkle with ½ tablespoon sugar and ½ tablespoon cinnamon.
- Spread on baking sheet and bake at 425°F for 15-20 minutes (until caramelized).
- Put a slice of Brie on each piece of warm toast and top with apple slices.
- Serve & wait for the compliments to roll in.
Beaujolais Nouveau & Wrapped Figs with Camembert
You probably associate the light, juicy Beaujolais Nouveau with Thanksgiving and that’s because it’s a bright French wine that’s always released in November. The best way to enjoy Beaujolais is slightly chilled and right away – it’s bottled young and meant to be drunk that way as well. The creamy, buttery French Camembert cheese brings out its flavors beautifully.
And the best way to do Camembert in the fall is with in-season figs and pancetta. The recipe is a take on bacon-wrapped figs, but a bit more interesting. Just don’t be surprised if the easy-as-pie finger food is the talk of the party and your guests are hounding you for the recipe.
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Split open as many figs as you’d like to use.
- Stuff each fig with a piece of Camembert.
- Use 2 pieces of pancetta to wrap each fig.
- Place figs on baking sheet and bake for just 5-6 minutes, until pancetta is golden and cheese is melted.
- Remove from oven and drizzle with a bit of port wine, balsamic vinegar.
- Sprinkle with basil or thyme before serving.
The start of fall is always a bit bittersweet. Though it’s sad to see another summer end, most of us secretly enjoy pulling out our cozy sweaters and feeling the energizing brisk air. Plus, as the leaves start to change we can start enjoying our favorite hearty foods and the plethora of wonderful fruits and vegetables that come into their prime during the harvest season.
Whether it’s for a Sunday football game or just a chilly weeknight when you need a pick-me-up, you’ll love these tasty autumnal pairings to get you in the fall mood.