The bright yellows and pinks that flooded the view had dulled and grown dark as the sun kissed the Mediterranean Sea goodnight. It was our first night in Menton, having had a late lunch we forced our jet-lagged bodies to hold out a few more hours before giving in to sleep. Making our way to the hotel restaurant we ordered a bottle of wine.
“And to eat?” the waitress responded.
“Oh, just the wine. We had a late lunch and aren’t hungry.”
“Oh, well you have to order food if you plan to drink wine…”
In the United States one can order a bottle of wine and enjoy it at a restaurant or bar without ordering food. This was our reminder that in France and Italy you don’t (and sometimes aren’t allowed) to do this.
Wine is meant to be enjoyed with food, be it a small snack or a meal but food stimulates your palate, enhances the wine and overall experience. It’s custom. The two must go together. And so we enjoyed our food and wine during our trip to Europe…and now, I’m enjoying spin class a few more times a week.
The world of wine pairings has always fascinated me and opened my palate to new food creations. While I usually do try to pair something with a bottle we open, I don’t always want to have a “meal” with it. Which brings me to the wide word of wine snacks…
We have enjoyed so many different variations of snacks that go with wine during all of our travels we’re now working to incorporate some of the more interesting – and easy – combinations we’ve picked up on the road at home. First up, toasted almonds with rosemary, which we were introduced to in the tasting room of Paraduxx in Napa. (The Paraduxx site also has several great food and wine pairing ideas.)
Snacks that go with Wine: Toasted Almonds with Rosemary
Toasted Almonds with Rosemary are easy wine snacks to have on hand and will pair nicely with a Chardonnay and most lighter wines. However, almonds are pretty bland so they will typically do well with most wines, making this a versatile wine snack to have (and keep) on hand.
What You Need:
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 large egg white
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried rosemary, crushed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (The cayenne adds a hit of heat so if you’re not into the extra spice skip it.)
- 2 cups prepacked whole almonds with the skins removed
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Baking sheet with an edge. Line it with foil. Spray with nonstick spray.
- Whisk egg white in medium bowl until foamy.
- Slowly add sugar; whisk until frothy.
- Whisk in rosemary, sea salt and cayenne.
- Add nuts; stir.
Transfer to baking sheet, spreading nuts in single layer. Bake until golden, stirring every 5 minutes. Cook between 30-40 minutes. Let the almonds cool then you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
Looking for another EASY idea? Try Gold Fish crackers. You read correct, Gold Fish crackers. Pair the cheddar ones with a Reisling wine. The two surprisingly go well with one another. The lightness and strong acidity of the wine balances the salty crackers.