In the past, champagne or any sparkling wine signified a special occasion. Sales at New Years soared and then sat on shelves for the rest of the year. Nowadays, sometimes a celebration can mean getting off of work and feeling like some bubbly. Great values have penetrated the market from Spanish Cava to Italian Prosecco and the consumer no longer has to choose between expensive Champagne from France or cheap headaches in a bottle like Andre for $4.99. The Prosecco shown on the left retails between $10-$15!Ca’Furlan Prosecco for those interested.
In addition, these dry and sparkling tasty treats go great with appetizers! Often times it can be hard to pair wine with dishes that have raw or uncooked ingredients. Appetizers can easily fall into this category. Think Antipasto, bruschetta, vegetable sticks, etc. For instance, raw garlic can be extremely potent and overpower a wine; however, when cooked or roasted the caramel notes can pair beautifully with oaky wines. The acidity in tomatoes can also be too much for a wine. The Prosecco shown in the picture is a perfect way to connect the bridge between different flavors of various appetizers. The bubbly can help neutralize sharp tastes with out sacrificing overall flavor. Sparkling wine also acts as a cleanser in between various dishes. If your done with the salty bruschetta and ready to move on to the sweet apricot, walnut, and Brie appetizer, then the garlic won’t hang out on your taste buds as long.
Generally, when I am putting out a spread of appetizers one of two events is happening. Either I am making a big dinner and want to keep the guests happy when they initially arrive or I am having a group meet at my house before going somewhere. Either way, I do not want a big fuss and a messy kitchen as a result. I would rather be putting my energy elsewhere whether it be cooking the large meal or getting ready to go out. Above are some simple ideas to satisfy any party. Bruschetta is one of the easiest appetizers to make. Simply chop some tomato, garlic, and basil.. throw some olive oil and salt into the bowl and serve on a toasted baguette. Done! Brie cheese is an all time favorite. This cheese can go with salty or sweet counterparts. Above I served with sliced peaches and walnuts. I have also put sundried tomatoes and pesto with it. In the upper right corner are some shortcake cookies. Grocery stores these days have a large variety of specialty cookies and many that are baked that day. In the bottom corner, I put blue cheese stuffed olives in a bowl. Any form of olive works. Not everyone likes olives but they sure do add a touch of class! I’ve been known to sip on a dirty martini with stuffed olives every now and then… I have to say, I feel classier than I do when I’m sipping on wine! Another appetizer idea not shown above, toothpicks with fresh mozzarella, salami, grape tomato, or olives. Cheers!