So you are going to host a holiday soiree. This one will leave you stress-free, able to sit back and enjoy celebrating with your guests.
Build the evening around your favorite wine, we love Merlot. We can recommend:
- Sterling Vineyards Merlot, Napa Valley, vintage 2014
- Opening Gambit Merlot, British Columbia, vintage 2013
- KWV Classic Collection Merlot, South Africa, vintage 2017
Add two or three cheeses (include one white cheddar) and some artisan crackers but the crowning touch will be the cherries. Here are two recipes both wine-soaked cherries, one to go with the cheeses and the second, chocolate-covered cherries, is the perfect late-night dessert taste.
If cherries are not in season you can find imported cherries in your supermarket. Frozen whole cherries work well too. Browse this informative poster on the types of cherries from the Northwest Cherry Growers Association. I had no idea there were so many varieties.
This recipe is from a wine pairing book, 100 Perfect Pairings by Jill Silverman Hough, which friends recommended years ago. The book has some great ideas in it. Any hostess on your Christmas list will love it and it makes the perfect hostess gift too.
Wine Soaked Cherries
1/2 cup Merlot or other red wine
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp herbes de Provence
1/4 tsp coarse kosher salt
2/3 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped (I forgot to chop them)
In a glass container, whisk ingredients to dissolve the salt, then add the cherries. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 days stirring occasionally. Let come to room temp before serving. Serve with cheddar or other hard cheese.
Substitute Pinot Noir for the Merlot, red wine vinegar for the balsamic and dried cranberries for the dried cherries. (Could be interesting to try since dried cranberries are sweetened.)
This next recipe comes from a friend who serves them at every special occasion.
Wine Soaked Chocolate Cherries
15–20 fresh cherries (frozen do work when you choose whole high-grade flash-frozen)
3/4 c. your favorite wine
1/3 c. granulated sugar
shake of cinnamon
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
In a small saucepan, bring the wine, sugar, and cinnamon to a boil. Stir gently until the sugar dissolves and reduce heat to low.
Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool for 2-5 minutes. You can pit the cherries or make sure to let your guests know. In a small pan (deeper than the cherries, arrange the cherries in a single layer and pour the wine mixture over them. Cover and chill for 6 hours to overnight.
Chop the chocolate and place it in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until the chocolate is fully melted.
Remove the cherries from the wine. Pat dry with paper towels, then air dry for 30 minutes. It is important the cherries are dry or the chocolate will not adhere. Dip the cherries in the chocolate, using festive toothpicks or small forks, gently shaking off any excess and then place them on a parchment paper to dry.
Chill. They keep up to 3 days.
Share Your Ideas
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