Food blogger, wine expert, and self-acclaimed "male version of Julia Child" Gabriel Cabrera returns for food and La Crema wine pairings to keep your holidays carefree and festive. Just start with a beautiful glass of vino and a delicious small bite, followed by an easy-to-assemble communal plate.
Baked Brie for Nibbling:
Since the holidays can be quite hectic, there's no need to add extra stress by cooking fussy food. A baked brie is a convenient crowd-pleaser--so you can forget about having to spend hours in the kitchen. To take it up a notch, add some ancho chile spiced honey and figs.
A classic Tuscan tomato and bread salad that is popular during summer is revamped with a winter twist. The best quality of a good panzanella salad is in its heartiness, derived mostly from simple ingredients at their peak ripeness. For winter, you can use any local produce available (think squash, kale, even oranges) as long as it's high quality and fresh.
This dish is perfect for sharing at a holiday potluck with friends. Since there's pomegranate in this particular salad, I recommend pairing it with something complementary, but with enough backbone to hold up to the rest of the flavors in the dish. My choice was La Crema's 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. It's a fabulous winter wine (super cozy to sip) that has bright notes of cherry, plum, and even a touch of orange and spice.
Gabriel Cabrera is a culinary-trained rebel turned food and prop stylist. He also happens to be the one-man-show behind The Artful Desperado, a site where he shares his favorite recipes. He likes to think he's sort of a male version of Julia Child with an almost-dangerous penchant for chocolate and spice. When he's not styling, he can be found enjoying one (or two) craft cocktails with friends or relaxing at the beach. You can follow his many foodie musings on Instagram, Facebook, and his blog.