Culinary Vacations: Wine Pairings with Favorite Recipes

November 16, 2020  |  By Peg Kern
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We’ve decided to pair some of our favorite recipes with wines from some of our favorite destinations to create a mouth-watering menu based on The International Kitchen’s 20-plus years in the culinary travel business!

From the simplicity of southern-Italian eggplant to the heights of a French souffle, from a fine Chianti Classico to a Provencal rosé, we’ve put together some of our favorite flavors.

Try any of the pairings by themselves, or all of them together to make a gourmet meal.

Provencal recipe for stuffed vegetables Appetizer/Starter

Stuffed Provencal Vegetables – This recipe from one of our newest cooking vacations in Provence utilizes the freshest of seasonal summer produce. What could be more perfect than pairing it with a beautiful Rosé wine from Tavel?

Eggplant Balls – To round out our starters, try this vegetarian Amalfi Coast recipe for fried eggplant balls, and pair it with a chilled prosecco. Sparkling wines are a great complement to fried foods, as they cut the grease, and the lightness of a prosecco will not overpower the delicacy of the eggplant.

Fresh homemade pici pasta as learned on a culinary tour of Tuscany First Course

St. Maure Cheese Soufflé – One of our favorite excursions during our best-selling French cooking vacation is to a local goat cheese farm where you learn about St. Maure AOC goat cheese, a key ingredient in this amazing soufflé. Pair it with a Loire Valley Sancerre whose dry yet fruity notes with highlight the St. Maure cheese.

Pici Pasta – To follow the ethereal flavors of the French soufflé, try this homemade pasta from Tuscany, prepared with a wonderfully fresh tomato sauce. The simplicity of the recipe is belied by the complexity of flavors that meld perfectly together. Pair it, of course, with a fine Tuscan Sangiovese. Our pick? For this recipe by Chef Silvia, why not serve it with a Baracchi Smeriglio Sangiovese Cortona DOC wine made by her husband Riccardo?

Umbrian Lamb with Potatoes and Truffles Second Course

Gambas Pil Pil – Although traditionally a Spanish Tapas dish, we think this spicy, garlicky shrimp dish makes a perfect second course too, especially in the middle of a large, multi-course meal. One of our most popular recipes, it is both easy to make and is bursting with flavor. There are many ways you could go with the pairing: a white Rioja would be the safe, more traditional option. Looking to really shake things up for this course? Pair it with a sweeter sherry, such as an Amontillado, which will make the spices of the shrimp really pop.

Learn more about pairing wine with fish and seafood.

Umbrian Lamb with Potatoes and Truffles – This recipe is anything but simple, a real challenge to even the most experienced chefs, but it is well worth the time and effort it takes, especially as the crowning dish in an amazing multi-course meal. Pair it with a wonderful Italian red. You might choose the King of Italian reds, a Barolo from Piedmont, or if you want to try a more budget-minded choice, consider a Cannonau from Sardinia, a region known for its lamb dishes.

Sparkling wine Dessert

Chef Ana’s Flan – Let’s head across the water to Mexico for dessert, and prepare a wonderful flan for dessert. It would pair well with a sparkler, such as a Cava from Catalonia

Cantuccini – The famed Tuscan cookie (“biscotti” as they are known in the U.S.) are a perfect way to end the meal. Of course, you can serve them with a classic espresso, but for a truly Tuscan end to the menu, serve them with a Vin Santo, as you would find in Italy.

Can you think of other classic pairings? Have you tried any of the above mentioned recipes? What wines did you serve them with? We’d love to hear in the comments or on social media!

By Peg Kern

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