Movies, Food & Wine = The Perfect Holiday time

As the holiday season gets well underway, I thought I would share some of my favourite film, food and wine/drinks pairings to suit the various moods and family dynamics during the festive season.

My family and I just watched the newly released  Little Women which I really cannot recommend highly enough.  It is such a thoughtful and clever interpretation – and like all classics – really makes one reflect upon what is important in life.  I think a classic holiday restorative tonic in the form of a rum soaked eggnog would have been an ideal liquid companion!

As for films and wine…..

Movie:  A Rugrats Chanukah
Mood: Just adorable, feel good vibes  – a perfect digestion aid after this 8 day holiday of feasting.
Food: Traditional family fun and goodness. Sweet Potato Latkes with apple sauce.
Wine: Something bubbly, light, low in alcohol and super fruity to complement the sauce.

Moscato d‘Asti is a great way to begin or end a meal. Full of grapey, white peach, jasmine joy – you can’t really drink a glass without smiling.
Ruffino Moscato d’ Asti ($16.99) is the perfect perfumed, honey suckled, creamy crowd please and can be purchased from Mel & Rose

UK drinkers:  Bernabei Wine £12  online

Movie: The Hebrew Hammer
Mood: Think wacky Jewish Austin Powers vibe. As the tagline goes: Part Man. Part Street. 100% Kosher.
Food: Beef brisket with a twist: smoked brisket grilled cheese sandwich. It is simple, a bit out there but is definitely a true guilty pleasure.
Wine:  To stand up to this rich, creamy, meaty concoction; try a concentrated, full bodied white which has enough acidity to cut through the tender brisket and mayonnaise.La Crema Chardonnay ($23.99 at Gil Turner’s)  would be a natural go to for me. Fleshy, full of baked peach fruit, a slight nutty toastiness but there is still plenty of acidity to stand up to this sandwich of riches.UK drinkers: Amazon £23.90

Movie: Holiday Inn
Mood: With the singing, dancing, all star cast, the ‘White Christmas’ scene and a few rather un PC reference points – this film has something for everybody. It really is Christmas in a film with all of the trimmings!
Food: I am not sure about your family, but in mine Christmas dinner is a five hour affair – complete with a seafood salad (my mother’s favourite), at least three different stuffings and a cheese course. On top of the dessert!
Wine: It is important to have a wine that can hold its own. It must have the personality for steak but also has to complement nut crusted vegan offerings and the most ambitious of cheese platters. It also can’t be too big if you want to enjoy it over 5 hours.  Gruner Veltliner is always the grape which my family relies on to stand up to this intimidating feasting prospect. Look for the more concentrated, structured versions of Gruner such as the Smargd wines from the Wachau, or wines from classified single vineyards  Kremstal, Kamptal, Wagram and Traisental
If you want to impress then Franz Hirzberger’s Honivogl Gruner ($150 from The Odd Wine Shop) is immense.UK drinkers: Bestofwines.com  69 euro (excl VAT)For those on a leaner budget  Malat has an incredible Reserve Gruner from Kremstal for $19.99 at Mel & Rose. Think fleshy ripe yellow plum, pear and a succulent mouth feel which is all tied together with white pepper.

UK drinkers: Sadly Waitrose no longer seems to stock the Malat but Domaine Huber’s Gruner  at £8.79  which he makes specifically for Waitrose has plenty of succulent pear and moreish white pepper flourishes!

Movie: Bad Santa
Mood: This is a dark Christmas comedy – the perfect tonic when the holiday frenzy threatens our inner Scrooge thoughts!
Food: Something dark, bitter and intense. Perhaps an indulgent Chocolate dessert which gives pleasure but also a bit of pain when it is consumed after a full on Christmas dinner!
Wine: Pairing wine with chocolate is very tricky. I normally say with anything sweet you should always aim for something that is as sweet if not sweeter. However, when you have dark chocolate ( at least 70 per cent cocoa),  you can then play with the bitter flavours. Chinato is a vermouth-like fortified wine made with spices and herbs, including quinine, and bittersweet flavours.  The spicy, inky dark fruit flavours of the Chinato are fantastic with the rich, indulgent mouthfeel of dark chocolate. It also double acts as the perfect digestif when going through a food coma in front of the television.
My recent favourite is a Barolo Chinato from impressive Piedmont producer GD Vajra which is sold at The International Wine Shop for $54.99. UK  Winebuyers.com for £48.95
Like the Grinch, sometimes something bitter and unappreciated should be embraced at Christmas time!