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I probably should have realized this years ago, as a child, when my parents threw the most summer and winter get-togethers I can remember. My mom would make peanut butter bars and lemon bars, and even Crème Brûlée in ramekins with torched and crispy tops. She hand-rolled homemade dough into chicken pot pies or raspberry pies. She can make a humongous vat of chili, while simultaneously checking on casseroles in the oven, and putting out two coffee urns. One urn is always decaf, one is, of course, caffeinated, and both with a host of fancy mugs, colored sugar, and real cream. Always all these necessities!
I’m third in line! Both of my grandmothers put out the most exquisite spreads for every occasion. And while I can be erratic and eclectic at best (often both), I’m in love with the subtle art of food/beverage planning. Yes, sometimes I’d rather serve everyone chocolate peanut butter candies and cheese curls in cupcake wrappers, like I did when I was seven, but the adult party planning rocks. One of my favorite things is to pair foods with wine. What I love about Notable SO MUCH is that it’s the first wine to highlight the flavor profiles right on the front of the bottle. This makes wine choosing much less confusing.
When you’re in the wine aisle, you’ll see how wines vary in style, region and taste. However, most labels don’t define the delightful flavor you’re about to sip. Notable is refined and expressive and I dig that! It helps me choose.
Whether you’re going for the oaky and buttery Chardonnay or the fruity and crisp Chardonnay, or both, you’re giving your guests an awesome experience. This holiday season, follow the flavor notes. Put on some awesome music, light some candles, and serve Notable. I chose both varities because I love experiencing their different tasting profiles together.
In fact, it’s fun to do blind tastings and see if all of your guests can tell which is which! My guess is a “yes” since both are distinct and expressive. When having guests over, it’s important to serve the right small bites/appetizers with wine. I’m a sucker for a great cheese plate, but decided to do a roasted fruits, nuts and cheese plate. This is an elegant dish, easily made in your own home. It incorporates the best flavors of the season. This is what makes me proud to have people over.
- 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups pecans
- 2 apples
- 1/2 onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Various cheeses of choice!
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil
- In a medium bowl, toss in the confectioners sugar, kosher salt, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and pecans
- Add a couple teaspoons of water to the pecan mixture so everything will stick together
- Transfer the pecans to the prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer
- Bake for 12 minutes, until the pecans are crusty on top and caramelized and golden on the bottom
- Let the pecans cool and break up any large chunks
- Meanwhile, quarter and slice two apples - we left peel on
- Finely slice half an onion
- Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a non-stick pan
- Saute mixture on low for 5 minutes
- Cover and let simmer on low until apple softens - about 10 minutes
- Add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
- Continue cooking on low until at least half the liquid is absorbed
- Serve spiced pecans and apple mixture in low dishes
- Pair with a mild cheddar, a creamy havarti and Manchego