There’s no time like springtime. The quintessential season of new life and new beginnings, this is the perfect moment to harness your optimism and awaken the romantic spirit. It’s also Passover season, which means dinners with family and unleavened recipes… all the richer to make up for their lack of raising agents.
Passover is my favorite holiday. It combines tradition and storytelling with a whole host of flavors, both familiar and experimental. Sumptuous coconut macaroons are one of my most deadly weaknesses, and last but not least… a good bit of drinking is set to take place.
Whether or not you’ll be spending the holiday with the object of your affection, this is a great time to spend some quality time in the kitchen getting to know each other over flourless dark chocolate cake (an aphrodisiac…), macaroon recipes (what to do with all that leftover coconut oil?), and succulent brisket (tender meat requires no innuendo).
This year, make mama happy at the family Seder and impress your new match after dinner with these Passover pairings:
1. Elvi Wines NESS! Blanco (Kosher) is a sprightly and aromatic blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Moscatel from Ribera del Júcar, Spain. While the nose is packed with tropical fruit and white floral notes, it finishes clean and crisp. Serve this with chilled soups, aromatic grain salads and simple seafood. Later, sip it between first kisses to cool the blush.
2. Segal’s Chardonnay Special Reserve (Kosher) may hail from the Galilee Heights of Israel, but it will satisfy even the most strident California Chardonnay lover with its buttery texture and notes of butterscotch and cashews. Fermented and aged in American and French oak barrels, this is a creamy companion to richly seasoned seafood dishes. The honey-like consistency is also ideal for gefilte fish. Don’t be fooled by the color, this bottle packs some heat. Bring that element of surprise to your next date this month.
3. Bartenura Prosecco (Kosher) will assure you that nothing goes better with egg-based dishes than sparkling. The bright bubbles in this playful classic-style Prosecco will skim your palate and underscore all of that savory softness.
4. Hagafen Brut Cuvée Sparkling (Kosher) – Chardonnay and Pinot Noir come together in rosé sparkler that is anything but ordinary. Citrus and tea notes hover above a long-lasting foam that finishes mostly dry. It’s sort of a party in a bottle, and with all that talk about slavery and long walks in the desert, this will lighten the mood and quench your thirst. Save all other quenching for after dinner. Have this with dessert.
5. Barons de Rothschild, Haut-Médoc 2007 (Kosher) is Bordeaux at its darkest — and juiciest. This pick is great with red meat and roast lamb. Lingering cassis on the palate, shaved wood and tobacco aromas and non-abrasive tannins. An elegant approach to Kosher winemaking, this pick is proof that following the rules can actually be fun, and delicious.
6. Antonelli Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG 2006 is an exemplary bottle of one of central Italy’s most magnificent full-bodied red wines. Serve it side-by-side with brisket or pot roast, allowing ripe wild berry aromas and fleshy fruit to find balance in a dry and tannic finish. Just imagine a romp in a wild blackberry patch, with prickles in all the right places.
7. Looking for something a bit more natural? Cascina Garitina Barbera d’Asti Villalta 2011 is a wine with real heart and a pure soul. Made from organically grown grapes, unfiltered and un-clarified with absolutely zero added sulfates, this wine oozes earthy terroir and brings wild, rustic appeal to rich red meat. Take inspiration and do what comes naturally.