During the holidays, some of us feel the need to indulge our loved ones with lavish meals, while others opt for easy but tasty hors d’oeuvres. Here’s an alternative that offers the best of both worlds: a festive wine and cheese party. By matching fine cheeses with bright, sparkling wines you will create a very special event full of holiday magic.
Start the celebrations with a bottle of Domaine Rolet Crémant du Jura, a smooth sparkling wine from France, and a colourful Rumball Coonawarra Sparkling Shiraz from Australia. Their aromas of gingerbread (Crémant), blackcurrant and vanilla (Coonawarra) are perfect for the occasion. Also try the fantastic Ca’ del Bosco Cuvée Prestige: it’s the closest cousin to a great champagne.
Complement these wines with an equally festive selection of cheeses. Indulge yourself with the fruity Comtomme, an exotic semi-soft cheese, and the Empereur, a soft cheese with flavours of nuts, cream and fruits. Complete your platter with the buttery Tomme de Grosse-Île, a semi-soft cheese with woody aromas of hazelnut and parmesan.
A great dish for such events is Baked Camembert with Pine Nuts & Sun-Dried Tomatoes: it is delicious and takes only a few minutes to prepare.
Baked Camembert with Pine Nuts & Sun-Dried Tomatoes
1 small round (about 200 g) of Canadian Camembert or Canadian Brie
1/4 cup (60 ml) sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
2 tbsp (30 ml) pine nuts
2 tsp (10 ml) golden raisins (optional)
Heat oven to 375°F (190°C). Roast pine nuts in heavy frying pan over medium heat until golden.
Cut top rind off cheese. Place cheese in baking dish.
Toss nuts with chopped sun-dried tomatoes and raisins. Mound mixture over cheese.
Bake 10–12 minutes, until melting.
Enjoy with whole-grain crackers or bread.