Tag Archives: Turkey

Food & Wine Pairings, Thanksgiving Edition 2018

Thanksgiving, Food & Wine Pairings

Thanksgiving, Food & Wine Pairings

Thanksgiving, Food & Wine Pairings

Thanksgiving, Food & Wine Pairings

IMG_8053This is the third Thanksgiving season without my daddy, and I miss him every day.  Finally, I can say I am somewhat getting back into the spirit of the holidays. We don’t get to appreciate the beauty of autumn in South Florida, but at least, we have slightly cooler weather to make this time of the year more enjoyable. This is a period where families and close friends gather around a bountiful table and celebrate with food and wine. Thanksgiving is literally around the corner and it’s time to show gratitude to our loved ones. For those of you who are hosting, I am sure that your menu is in place but don’t forget to add this wine selection to your list. Today, I will help you pick some delightful wines to serve with your Thanksgiving feast. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be good. There are many reasonably- priced wines that will work wonders.

I want to keep this as simple as possible without getting technical with fancy wine terms. Wine pairing is subjective and everyone’s palate is different. Let’s not stress over which wine goes with what food. These are my wine suggestions to add a little pizzazz to your party and make it fun for your guests.

I recommend Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay as basic wines for your cheese platters and appetizers, including seafood. Make sure the white wines are not overly chilled because this effect can take away from the flavor profile of the wines (herbaceous, lime, peaches, pears, oranges…) If you want to impress your guests, add other interesting whites such as Vermentino, Verdicchio, or a white Rioja. The list is endless and the choice is yours. Keep in mind not everyone has a palate for white wine, be sure to have some light to medium- bodied red wine such as Gamay, Pinot Noir, or a Chianti Classico.

White wines such as Riesling, and Gewurztraminer are classic choices for your Thanksgiving dinner. They both add sweetness (unless you pick a dry Riesling) and intoxicating aromas of spices, which complement the holiday theme beautifully.

Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc pair deliciously with vegetables such as asparagus and green beans.

Pinot Noir is an excellent red wine to pair with the turkey especially if you have mushrooms in your stuffing; it will bring out the characters of earthiness. There is a vast selection of Pinot Noir in the market. Check out some Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley region In Oregon. They tend to be more rustic with notes of cranberries, and they are on the earthy side. These wines are often compared to those from the Burgundy region. California and New Zealand also make great Pinot Noir. If you are on a budget, I recommend Josh Cellars Pinot Noir, Mark West, or Mark West Black Pinot Noir.

Since I am not hosting Thanksgiving, I decided to prepare a delicious turkey for my family last night. I stuffed it with a blend of wild, brown and red rice, mushrooms, sweet sausage and sage and served it with my delectable homemade gravy. I also made a green salad to complement the meal. This was all done in one day, and I didn’t have the time for the classic sweet potatoes. Sigh! The entire meal was paired with a luscious Chianti Classico Riserva that went together marvelously. The baked spices, dark fruits, and the oak in the wine intertwined perfectly with the allspice and the sage in the turkey. It was a Grand Slam with an explosion of rustic flavors.

Mark West Black Pinot Noir

Mark West Black Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir

When in doubt, you can always rely on bubbles. They’re festive and vary in prices, from the least expensive to the most sophisticated. Sparkling wines and Prosecco are fantastic choices and won’t break the bank. If you are having a fancy affair, Champagne and Franciacorta are always a good idea.

Dom Perignon

Dom Perignon

de Venoge Champagne

de Venoge Champagne

Dessert wines: Fortified wines are a great choice to pair with decadent desserts. Tawny Port pairs nicely with pumpkin and cherry pies, Muscat d’Asti with apple pies, Mavrodaphne with baklava, chocolate mousse cake with Brachetto d’Aqui.

This is not a wine tasting party, and it doesn’t have to be precise. Use this blogpost as a guideline to help you decide which wine to serve at Thanksgiving. The holidays are already stressful and there are far more important things to stress over. I am also featuring one of dad’s favorite wines called Quattro Mani, a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. It’s very inexpensive and has lovely hints of vanilla.


Opus One

Opus One

Opus One is a sophisticated and complex wine, and would complement a lavish Thanksgiving dinner. It certainly would take a big chunk out of your wallet. In the end, it’s not about the money you spent, whether it’s little or a lot, what matters is the quality of time that you cherish with your family and friends.

I hope you will have some fun with these ideas and enjoy the spirit of Thanksgiving with your loved ones.

Wishing you a peaceful Thanksgiving from my family to yours,

Gina Martino Zarcadoolas/Foodiewinelover
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
Culinary Personality – Certified Level 2 WSET and Sommelier
Cookbook Author: Cuisines, Corkscrews & Cultures
To purchase my book, please click here: https://foodiewinelover.com/product/cookbook/



Surprisingly Delicious Turkey Chili





Every once in a while, I make a very good chili with ground sirloin. However this time, in keeping with my healthy eating theme (which lasted barely a week), I decided to make a Surprisingly Delicious Turkey Chili. It was so good that if I didn’t tell my family it was turkey, they could have easily been fooled.

Serves: 4 -6 as a main meal, or 8 – 10 as a side dish
Degree of difficulty: Easy –  This recipe can easily be divided in half.


  • 2- 20 oz ground turkey
  • 2 cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tsp. chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt & black pepper to taste
  • 1.5 cup low-sodium chicken broth *
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • Hot sauce to taste *
  • garlic powder, a sprinkle *
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Dollop of sour cream
  • flat-leave parsley for garnish


1)  In a medium size pot, over medium high heat, heat olive oil, sweat the onions and peppers, for 2-3 minutes. Add tomato paste, and brown it while stirring.  Add ground turkey, brown for 5-10 minutes by stirring occasionally. DO NOT TASTE IT YET!!  TURKEY IS STILL RAW AT THIS POINT.

2) Add all your seasonings, cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder, salt, black pepper, stir well.

3) Add the beans, broth, tomatoes, bring to a boil, then, lower the heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking on the bottom of the pot. At this point, go ahead and give it a taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary. Toward the end, add your hot sauce. If chili is too thin, uncover, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. This will allow the chili to evaporate a little and become thicker in consistency. The entire cooking time should take about 1 hour or so.

Place in a bowl, garnish with grated cheese, parsley and a dollop of sour cream.

I hope you will make this wonderful chili for your family, because it is very hearty and healthy.  They will enjoy it, I promise you.  You can eat it by itself, or as a side dish. Of course, my family was looking for the hot dog, and I kindly responded, not this time!

*Chicken broth, hot sauce, garlic powder are NOT featured in the picture, but they are part of the recipe.

Your meal will always taste better if you cook with passion. Don’t look at it as a chore, I know it’s not easy, especially after a long day’s work.  If you’re not up to cooking, stay away from the kitchen and order out. (It doesn’t have to be expensive)  Another option, is to make the chili ahead of time, it will taste better the next day.

Happy Cooking from My Kitchen To Yours!

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