The sparkling life encompasses the whole table, not just the glass, and we believe the right food paired with the right wine makes both better. Explore some of our culinary experts’ favorite wine-loving recipes that will make your occasion sing.
These fluffy, light-weight beignets—or fritters, as we say in English—make a perfect party snack. Whether piping hot or at room temperature, they are fabulous enjoyed as finger food, dipped in an accompanying ravigote sauce. The French-inspired ravigote is really a cross between an aioli and a tartar sauce—in this instance freshened up with shallots and fresh chervil. If you can’t locate fresh chervil, substitute fresh tarragon.
Lobster rolls are quintessential summer fare. Like all dishes with a strong heritage, lobster roll fans argue over the best: Maine with its mayo or Connecticut with its drawn butter. We lean towards the latter because the buttery flavors are irresistible with all of our sparkling brut wines. But don't take our word for it; test it yourself. You'll be in for a real treat.
You’ll want to eat this lamb stew with a large spoon in addition to a knife and fork. The spoon will help collect anise-laced juices from the meat and smoky beans. Butter beans and lima beans are similar in texture and taste, but butter beans are lighter in color and larger than the light green beans commonly called limas. Sometimes you’ll find so-called butter beans labeled as lima beans anyway. If you can’t find true butter beans for this recipe, it’s fine to substitute the smaller green bean.
Also known as Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes impart a subtle taste not unlike their namesake’s to this creamy, golden risotto. Even when thoroughly cooked, sunchokes provide a bit of fresh-tasting crunchiness to any recipe. Here fresh green chives add a lovely visual aspect. This classic risotto, distinguished by the use of sparkling wine in place of flat, which delivers a delicate twist on the palate, makes a fine first course or a light main course.
Passion fruit is blessed with zippy acidity and sensuous herbal and citrus flavors, which give this cheesecake a unique character. You’ll find passion fruit juice concentrate in most specialty-food shops. The sour-cream topping adds a welcome lightness that’s lacking in more conventional cheesecakes. At the restaurant, we make it in individual molds, but for the home kitchen we have given it a more conventional pie form.
Cherrystones (sometimes called “littlenecks”) are hard shell clams from the East Coast. For this recipe, you can also substitute Manila Clams from the West Coast. A trusted source is the Hog Island Oyster Company, of Tomales Bay, on the Northern California Coast. Broiled Clams on the Half Shell make a great finger food for a winter cocktail party, or an elegant appetizer course for a New Year’s Eve dinner.
Here is a true American classic that just begs to be paired with a top-quality California sparkling wine. Whether you choose blue crab from the Chesapeake Bay or Dungeness crab from the Pacific Northwest, these miniature cakes will melt in your mouth. For the sake of convenience, you can do the prep work a day in advance and pop the baking pans in the oven while your guests are enjoying their first glass of wine.