Here at Casa de Suna, it’s our mission to make sure you always feel prepared to host in style - from our delicious recipe roundups to tablescape tips to our curated cocktails.
But beyond the cocktail list lies something that we love equally: incredible wine. And because we know there are all sorts of holiday parties that lie ahead, we wanted to make sure you were armed with all of our tips for pairing food and wine with elegance and ease. Read on for our favorite holiday foods – and how we’d pair each with a wine.
The Christmas Treat: Bûche de Nöel
The Background: Known in English-speaking countries as a “yule log,” the bûche de nöel is a decadent and intricate French Christmas cake made to look like a fireplace log at Christmastime. It’s one of those Christmas desserts that you’ll never go without once you try it for the first time.
The Pairing: Sweet wines tend to go best with desserts like these, to help complement their natural richness–but nothing too dry!
Our Pick: This white blend, Gut Oggau “Theodora” (2022), from renowned New York City wine merchants Astor Wine (you can never go wrong with their picks). Bonus points that it’s made without added sulfur.
The Christmas treat: Mince Pies
The Background: If you’re not from the United Kingdom, you may not be familiar with mince pies. But across the pond, they’re pretty much ubiquitous at this time year of year. Typically, mince pies are a sweet pastry filled with fruit and soaked in a liqueur like brandy. According to Historic UK, though, they held a different meaning back in the day (and we really mean back in the day–they originated around the Tudor period, likely the late 1400s). Shaped like a manger and made from 13 ingredients, their purpose was to represent Jesus and his disciples. They were also savory–in addition to the dried fruit they’re now known for, they contained lamb, to represent the three wise men. After the Reformation, they took on a round shape–and sometime in the 20th century, they permanently evolved into their present sweet treat form. Quite a lot of backstory for a little pie!
The Pairing: Dessert wines, like Port and Madeira, are your best bet when it comes to a Christmas pie, similar to the yule log pairing. This is because sugar brings out dryness in wines–so anything you’re drinking with a dessert will end up tasting much dryer than it actually is–hence why your best bet is to avoid the drier varieties when you’re snacking on sweets.
Our Pick: Belem’s Dolce Full-Bodied Madeira
Feast of the Seven Fishes
The Background: In many Italian-American households across the country, Christmas Eve means the ultimate feast. It’s not a religious celebration so much as it’s simply a tradition in many households, although some say the seven fishes represent the seven sacraments in the Bible, while others still say they stand for the seven hills of Rome. As to why this holiday is seemingly absent in Italy itself–it seems to be connected back to an influx of immigration from Southern Italy to the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries, during which many of the Southern Italians–who grew up on the coast–brought their love for perfectly-prepared fresh fish stateside. The fish involved in the feast are: clams, mussels, halibut, shrimp, anchovy, calamari, and scallops.
The Pairing: When it comes to pairing wine with shellfish, most purveyors recommend a sparkling option. We’d pick Pet-Nat for the shellfish courses and transition to a mineral-forward white for the rest.
The Christmas Treat: Roast Turkey
The Background: According to a YouGov Poll, roast turkey is one of the most popular Christmas dishes in America (and we have it on good authority that it’s equally popular both in Canada and across the pond). And while so much of the conversation when it comes to turkey centers around how to properly prepare it (by the way, we’ve got that all sorted out for you–just tap our recipe in the link above), the real unanswered question is what to drink with it.
The Pairing: As with our aforementioned seven-fish feast, turkey does well when offset by a crisp white, especially when you’re consuming the light meat. If you’re more of a dark meat fan, a light-bodied red will do very well, too.
The Christmas treat: Baked Ham
The Background: The background on this one is a bit more brutal than our other favorite Christmas treats – allegedly, this tradition stems from an ancient German ritual during which those practicing paganism would sacrifice a boar to Freyr, the God of fertility, harvest, and boars. The more you know! While that ancient tradition no longer stands today, we’re certainly grateful it led to a lifetime of delicious Christmas dinners.
The Pairing: Finally, a Christmas meal that calls for red! The bold earthiness of a Pinot Noir will balance out the ham’s smoky, salty flavor nicely.
Our Picks: Florèz Wines Noble Oble Pinot Noir
That’s it for our Christmas pairing picks! We hope you have a festive holiday–with delicious drinks to match. Cin cin!