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Prosecco: Something festive for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is about spending time with family, following traditions, and lots and lots of food.
Prosecco is a sparkling wine from the northeastern part of Italy.
November 06, 2012
It’s light, easy-to-drink, refreshing, usually slightly sweet, affordable and food-friendly. Its bubbles make it festive. It’s even fun to say! (Pro-SAY-ko).
It’s what’s for Thanksgiving!
I’ve written here before about the futility of spending a lot of money on fancy wine for Thanksgiving. The holiday is NOT about the wine. It’s about family and traditions and lots and lots of food. No one is going to be paying a lot of attention to the wine, so why spend a lot of time and money worrying about it?
However, if you’re at all like me, you DO want to make sure that the wine isn’t noticed because it’s really terrible. So you must give it SOME thought. Fortunately, I’m here with some advice. And this year’s recommendation is to pick up a bottle or two (depending upon the size of your table and anticipated number of guests) of Prosecco.
Prosecco is a sparkling wine from the northeastern part of Italy. Like Champagne (perhaps the most famous sparkling wine), Prosecco has bubbles. Unlike Champagne, Prosecco is made in a very affordable manner.
To create the bubbles in a sparkler, the winemaker puts the wine through a second fermentation (usually by adding some sugar and yeast under pressure). As the yeast consumes the sugar and turns it into alcohol, the major by-product is carbon dioxide. By keeping the wine in a closed container under pressure (in a bottle for Champagne; in a large, glass or stainless steel vat for Prosecco), the winemaker forces the carbon dioxide to dissolve in the wine. Once the wine is served, the bubbles are gradually released, giving us the sparkle we’ve come to associate with celebrations.
Though the idea (dissolved carbon dioxide) is generally the same in Champagne and Prosecco, many of the production details are quite different. These details mean that Champagne is considerable more expensive. It’s also a considerably more serious wine. The bubbles are finer. The flavors are more complex. The bubbles last longer. The wine can often improve with age. In contrast, Prosecco bubbles are bigger and dissipate faster. The wine should be drunk young, lest it lose its freshness and simply taste flat and dull. And although Prosecco is quite tasty, no wine expert would call it “complex.”
But Prosecco has one major advantage over Champagne – its price tag. While a good quality Champagne will set you back approximately $35-$50, a good Prosecco will cost you only about $15.
Both Champagne and Prosecco are good food wines. That is, they can be served with a wide variety of foods. This is different from many types of wines, particularly the bold reds, which are food-sensitive and when improperly paired, can leave you with a mouthful of bad-tasting wine or bad-tasting food. Avoiding this clash of tastes is especially important at Thanksgiving. After all, what other meal tries to meld so many different flavors? Thus, I’m a big fan of Champagne or Prosecco for this holiday; however, given the price difference, I’m going with Prosecco this year.
So, with that in mind, here are a few good choices (in alphabetical order) that I recommend for your Thanksgiving dinner. While not all are available locally, some are, and all can be found in Central Oregon.
La Marca Extra Dry Prosecco (about $13). With fruity melon and citrus aromas and flavors, this is an easy-drinking wine.
Mionetto Prosecco (about $15). This wine is also quite fruity, with melon and apple flavors and aromas.
Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco (about $15). Not quite as fruity as most Prosecco, this wine still has citrus and apple notes. As far as Proseccos go, this is perhaps the most serious of them.
Zardetto Prosecco (about $15). This Prosecco is not only fruity; it also has floral and spice aromas and flavors. It would be a good choice with your pumpkin pie dessert.
If you can’t find one of these Proseccos, don’t despair. Pick up any Prosecco you can find. It will likely be very enjoyable with your Thanksgiving dinner. But even if it’s not, don’t worry – no one but you is probably paying attention to the wine, anyway.
Laura Craska Cooper is a Bend attorney who lives and loves wine in Prineville. Initially self-taught by prowling the wineries of Sonoma and Napa and reading extensively, she has enhanced her knowledge with travel to many of the world’s wine regions. More recently she graduated from the prestigious Wine and Spirits Education Trust in London, England, where she received an intermediate certificate-a sought-after international credential held by professional sommeliers and wine merchants around the world. She can be reached at: email@example.com
Wild Rice 'n Ham Soup
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1-1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup Holland House Sherry Cooking Wine
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup diced cooked ham
1/2 cup shredded or julienned carrots
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish
Melt butter in a 6-quart pot. Add onion and mushrooms; cook until tender.
Stir in flour and gradually stir in 1 can chicken broth. Add remaining can of broth and sherry cooking wine. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens.
Add rice, ham and carrots; cook 10 minutes or until heated through. Reduce heat; stir in milk and simmer 1 minute or until heated through. Serve garnished with parsley.
Delicious uses for holiday leftovers
(BPT) – Every year, we face the same question after large holiday dinners: What to do with all the leftovers?
Rita Held, culinary professional and creator of Holland House Cooking Wine recipes, knows that one of the rewards of holiday cooking is leftovers and all their possibilities. “If I'm too busy to make something at the time, my freezer comes in handy,” says Held. “I slice up turkey, ham or roast beef and freeze in individual sandwich-size portions, or I dice it into small portions to use in scrambled eggs, omelets, or soups.”
This year, keep the party going with a few innovative tips and recipes from Held to take your holiday leftovers from dull to dazzling.
Storing leftovers. How leftovers are stored will determine how much you can use later. Make sure that food cools before sealing and storing it in the refrigerator, and use shallow containers to ensure freshness is locked in. While it's tempting to keep casseroles and sides wrapped in the serving dishes, it is best to store these in airtight containers as well.
Deliciously “filled” appetizers. Create simple stuffed mushrooms by removing the stems and scooping leftover stuffing into the cap. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake until mushrooms are tender and the stuffing is golden. Make tasty turnovers by filling pastry dough with scoops of any meat and vegetable dishes and then bake until golden.
Extraordinary sandwiches. All that leftover turkey usually means sandwiches for a week. Break routine with the traditional turkey sandwich and make a warm Panini sandwich with a flavorful cheese and cranberry sauce, or a croque monsieur sandwich with sliced ham and Dijon mustard.
Savory pies. Use leftover mashed potatoes and vegetables to create a shepherd's pie. No more mashed potatoes? No problem! Create delicious potpies with leftover turkey for a simple meal the whole family will love.
Hearty soups. One of the easiest ways to use leftover meats and vegetables is by making soup. Laced with sherry cooking wine, this Wild Rice 'n Ham Soup is great way to use leftover ham and wild rice. Serve with a fresh spinach salad and a loaf of crusty French bread for an easy weeknight meal.
Don't let holiday leftovers go to waste. By planning ahead and being creative, you can reuse leftovers to create some truly memorable meals.
For additional recipes, visit Holland House on Facebook at Facebook.com/HollandHouseProducts.