Consider combining wine food pairing in just one bowl. In the dog days of summer, when the heat and humidity rise, what better way to lift the spirits of your friends and neighbors than an impromptu party to cool off a bit? One of my very favorite hot weather treats is a cold champagne soup with diced ripe mangoes. Truly decadent! Fortunately, we have a mango tree in the neighborhood that supplies the whole street with sweet, Florida mangoes. Try to use a crisp, dry sparkling wine that has a soft, smooth flavor as this pairs well with the sweet tree ripened mango. Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut is my favorite, but you could also use your own personal favorite. This presentation never fails to impress even the most jaded of guests.
Served in your best crystal bowls and you will be vying for the next best hostess award! Pair the soup with warm from the oven croissants and fresh creamery butter, what could be better. Many times I cheat with the croissants and use the dough from the tube and just pop them in the oven as the guests arrive . The best part is they only take a few minutes to bake. Cloth napkins seem to add a touch of richness, after all we want this to be a special treat, and add fresh cut flowers as a centerpiece. Your guests will think you spent hours on preparation. I promise my lips are sealed! How about dessert? Summertime always offers up such terrific bounty when it comes to fruit and berries.
Big, juicy strawberries dipped into a melted healthy dark chocolate are always a winner. Be sure to melt your chocolate carefully in a water bath. Perhaps you are even lucky enough to have one of those new chocolate fountains, they work great, too. I always leave the stem on for added color and it also makes a great handle on the berry to keep your fingers from getting burned! Let the berry cool off on waxed paper and then present them to your guests on your favorite platter.
This is a super, make ahead, dessert that can be done a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Try pairing your chocolate strawberries with a bold red wine. I love the wines from Chile and I chose Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot. The dark chocolate will bring out the best of the wine and vice versa.
Decant your wine early and allow it to breathe. ENJOY! Now as your party starts to wind down, you will want to offer your guests a cup of coffee. The Austrians invented a coffee beverage called a melange. This drink is served throughout Austria in all the coffee houses and is a fifty-fifty mix of coffee and milk with a foamy top. Traditionally, they serve this with a glass of sparkling mineral water on the side.
Add sliced lemons on the table for those that like a bit of citrus with their water and you have a delightful end to a wonderful party. Remember to get out all your fancy glasses and crystal, they do not even have to match to make it festive! Garage sales are a terrific resource for items like this. With just a little advance planning, wine food pairing is not difficult. Your guests will think that you are a wonderful host and you will have the time to enjoy the party along with everyone else.
Denise Clarke is crazy about Wine food pairing. Stop by her blog to enjoy her adventures of wine food pairing, and read about basic wine knowledge