By Heaven Barlow
Whether you are celebrating Valentine's Day or Galentine's Day, we have you covered, because us Ladies of Leisure know just how to celebrate!
Dazzle taste buds by serving bottles of Sexy Sauv or Racy Red (or both), with charcuterie boards to match. ADD a fun game, better than never have I ever, to match! We'll start with Sexy and then we’ll get Racy.
Sexy Sauv pairs great with, well, a sexy charcuterie board. The wine’s prominent citrus notes and dry, crisp taste pairs perfectly with both savory and sweet. Start the board by picking cheeses. Parmesan Sarvecchio cheese has a great bite and a nutty, creamy flavor. Add a soft goat cheese, either plain or with herbs to balance out the board. Add a small serving dish of honey to balance the saltiness of the cheese. Go for local honey if you can. It’s more flavorful, supports local farmers and their bees, promotes a healthier, stronger eco-system when pollinators are flourishing, and helps with allergies if you or your friends have any.
To balance the board use dips as anchors. You'll want to place them in the corners if you have more than one. If you only have one dip, anchor it in the center of the board. For something extra special you can make an artichoke dip. Fill a mortar (if you want to get your hands a little dirty) or a food processor with artichoke hearts, extra virgin olive oil, basil or parsley (whichever you prefer) and salt and pepper to taste. Grind or blend the ingredients to the consistency of guacamole.
My favorite chips for this kind of dip are the toasted veggies by Ritz. You can also serve crackers, break crisps or slices up a fresh baguette. Place them around the dip and cheese. With Sexy Sauv wine having citrus notes, I bet you guessed we’ll be serving up some grapefruit and orange wedges, but we’ll also add berries such as blackberries and blueberries to smooth out the acidity and really bring out all the flavors of the Sexy Sauv.
Now if you've been holding onto a couple bottles of the Racy Red, here is a great charcuterie board to pair with it. This wine is racy for a reason, it’s neither Barbera or Zinfandel, it's a mix of both, with a hint of Syrah! I bet nothing like this has ever hit your palette before.
Since this wine is so original, this charcuterie board will be too!
Let’s start with my baked brie recipe, that will accompany this wine perfectly! You’ll want to place the whole brie atop parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Lightly score the top with about 6 cuts. Place pitted chopped red cherries and diced glazed pecans atop the brie and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. (Pro Tip: The rind is edible and will hold the cheese together while baking so make sure you don't remove it).
When you have a whole item like the baked brie, it can be used as the anchor for the charcuterie board. Since the cheese is soft, we’ll use crispy chips to juxtapose it and give the softness a nice crunch. Stacey’s Toasted Bagel Chips are excellent for baked brie.
We’ll add a relish to this board and make it asparagus based. If you’re up for a kick ( we always are), Whole Foods carries a spicy pickled asparagus that will engulf your palette, so smaller bites in between sips is the way to go with this relish. Fresh asparagus will definitely hit the spot as well. You can also lightly steam the asparagus to give them a softness, but preserve their tenderness and crunch.
Sprinkle the board with a few mini York peppermint patties (or girl scout thin mints if you have them...ladies supporting young ladies is always a good way to go) to really bring out the Anise flavors in Racy Red. The final touch will be a fruit salad of dried plums, apricots and cranberries. This is the perfect combination to bring forth all the fruity flavors.
And that's it! You’ve just created TWO outstanding charcuterie boards. Pat yourself on the back and invite your gals over for a night of fun.
After you’ve sipped and snacked and the wine has set in, why not play a concentration game! Because a concentration game is best played with a light buzz..LOL. Here’s a few you can try. Or you can just gossip while you polish off the rest of the wine and charcuterie boards.