Global Flavors for the Big Holiday Meal

Tired of the same-old same-old holiday dishes?

Are you up to here with ham, and can’t handle another serving of turkey?

Then the December issue of Travel and Leisure may be right up your alley.

The magazine’s “Insider” department includes a list of five “savory holiday dishes from around the world, none of which you’d ever find on a “typical” American holiday table.

Since Travel and Leisure went to the trouble of tracking down these “festive foods,” it seems only fair that we suggest some wines to accompany them. So, grab your passport, and come along for the ride…

• From the Amalfi Coast of Italy: Eel.

“Fried, it’s a go-to Christmas favorite,” T&L says. Eel often is friend in a pan that includes wine, so we suggest pouring a glass of the wine used for that purpose. Rather than an okay Chardonnay, opt for an “un-oaked” Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc.

• From Sweden: Jansson’s Temptation.

T&L describes this dish as “a casserole of potatoes, herring, onions, cream and bread crumbs.” A dry or off-dry, Alsatian-style Riesling would be a wonderful match. Chill down the wine for a nice “counterpoint” to the warmth of the dish.

• From Singapore: Curry Devil.

“Chicken, cocktail sausages, cabbage and cucumbers are stewed in a spicy rempah gravy,” T&L says. Since the gravy pretty much defines this dish’s flavor, opt for a creamy, refreshing blanc de blancs sparkling wine.

• From Japan: Toshikoshi Soba.

A simple plate of buckwheat noodles. Preparations vary, and some include soy sauce. When soy sauce is not used, the wine pairing is simple: Select your favorite kind of wine and enjoy. When the flavor of soy sauce is apparent, try a dry or off-dry Chenin Blanc or Riesling.

• From Ethiopia: Yebeg Wot.

T&L describes this lamb-based stew as “thick, buttery (and) berbere-spiced.” This is another dish that often incorporates wine in its preparation. A good choice would be (red) Zinfandel — both in the cooking pot and the wine glass.

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Are you planning something other than the same-old same-old for your big holiday meal? We’d love to hear about it in the Comments box below.

Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes
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