Christmas Food Pairings to Try This Festive Season

Written by
Vintage Cellars
December 11, 2018
Share Share to Instagram

Bring a touch of luxury to the Christmas table, from brunch through to dessert, with these festive food and wine pairings with a delicious twist.

Poached Egg & Bacon Rolls with Chive Hollandaise

To drink: The Black Chook Sparkling Shiraz
Smoky bacon dominates this dish, making the rich, cherry flavours of The Black Chook Sparkling Shiraz a perfect accompaniment. The generous flavours and abundant bubbles of this sparkling shiraz swiftly mop up this wonderful brunch.

Serves: 8
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

8 bacon rashers, rind removed
8 fresh eggs
White wine vinegar
8 small ciabatta rolls, toasted and buttered
Tomato relish and baby spinach to serve

Chive hollandaise
250g chilled butter, diced
100mL white wine vinegar
1 small eschalot, finely diced
100mL ruby grapefruit juice, or to taste
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp finely chopped chives

1. For chive hollandaise, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, pour into a jug and allow to settle. Pour clear yellow butter into a clean jug and discard white solids. Simmer vinegar, eschalot and half the juice in a separate saucepan over high heat for 5-10 minutes, until reduced to 50mL. Strain into a heatproof bowl, add yolks and whisk for 3-4 minutes over a saucepan of simmering water, until thick. Turn off heat. Whisking continuously for 3-5 minutes, add butter in a thin, steady stream until thick and emulsified. Stir in chives and season to taste. Keep warm.

2. Preheat oven to 120°C. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry bacon, turning, until cooked to your liking (5 minutes for crisp). Transfer to oven.

3. Bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer. Add a splash of vinegar. Stir water to form a whirlpool, then crack in 2 eggs. Poach for 4-5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a tray lined with paper towel. Repeat with remaining eggs.

4 Spread bases of rolls with tomato relish, top with bacon and an egg. Spoon hollandaise over, top with spinach leaves and sandwich with ciabatta tops to serve.

Scrambled Egg & Cured Ocean Trout Brioche Rolls

To drink: Perrier Jouët Blanc de Blancs, Champagne France
The dense, oily texture and bold flavours of gin-cured ocean trout cries out for a clean, crisp yet intensely flavoured glass of bubbles. The drive and verve of chardonnay defines the Perrier-Jouët Blanc de Blancs, making it the perfect choice.

Serves: 6-8
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

300mL pouring cream
6 eggs
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
30g butter, diced
1 tbsp each finely chopped dill, flat-leaf parsley and chervil, plus extra leaves, to serve
8 toasted brioche rolls
Salmon roe, to serve

Gin-cured ocean trout
120g sea salt flakes
110g (½cup) caster sugar
80mL gin
½cup roughly chopped dill
1 tbsp coarsely crushed fennel seeds
1kg piece ocean trout, skin on, pin-boned

1. For gin-cured ocean trout, combine salt, sugar, gin, dill and fennel seeds in a bowl. Place trout on a large piece of plastic wrap, spread with half the salt mixture, turn and spread with remaining salt mixture, then wrap firmly. Place on a non-reactive tray and refrigerate to cure overnight. Rinse trout under cold running water, pat dry and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 1 week. Thinly slice diagonally when ready to serve.

2. Whisk cream, eggs and lemon rind in a bowl and season to taste. Heat butter in a large frying pan over low-medium heat until foaming, add egg mixture and stir occasionally for 3-4 minutes, until just set. Remove from heat and fold in dill, parsley and chervil.

3. Arrange a couple of thin slices of trout on the base of each brioche roll. Top with scrambled egg and salmon roe, scatter with extra herbs, sandwich with brioche tops and serve warm.

Grilled Chilli Prawns with Tomato, Basil & Mint

To drink: Jim Barry The Florita Riesling, Clare Valley
The Florita is bursting with zesty, lemon flavours, which are perfectly tuned to the briny flavours of the prawns, the energy of the fresh herbs and juicy, acid-bright tomatoes. The spike of chilli and potency of the garlic are an easy match for the intense apple and grapefruit flavours of this stellar Clare Valley riesling.

Jansz Non Vintage Sparkling, Tasmania
Chilli sets the tone for this refreshing prawn salad, with the bright notes of basil and mint adding extra zip. Chilli is the enemy of tannin but best friends with acidity making the lemon-fresh Jansz the perfect partner. The wine's stonefruit flavours pick up the sea-fresh sweetness of the prawns with the acid-etched tomatoes sealing the partnership.

Serves: 6-8 as an entrée
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

50g softened butter
2 bird’s eye chillies, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Finely grated rind of 1⁄2 lemon and 1 lime, plus lemon and lime wedges, to serve
1.2kg green king prawns, butterflied and cleaned

Tomato, basil & mint salad

2 eschalots, thinly sliced into rings
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon, or to taste
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
250g mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
2 heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
1⁄2 cup each basil and mint, loosely packed
80mL (1⁄3 cup) extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat a grill to high. Beat butter, chilli, garlic and rinds in a bowl to combine, season to taste. Spread over cut sides of prawns. Place prawns, cut-side up, on a baking tray and set aside.

2. For tomato, basil & mint salad, in a large bowl combine eschalot with vinegar, lemon juice and garlic, and season. Set aside for 5 minutes to soften. Just before serving, add tomatoes, herbs and oil, and toss lightly to combine.

3. Grill prawns for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Pour any juices from tray over prawns, and serve with tomato, basil & mint salad and citrus wedges.

Buttermilk-Brined Turkey Breast with Tarragon Lemon Gravy

To drink: Devil’s Lair Chardonnay, Margaret River
The energy of the eschalots and tarragon and lemony zest of the gravy call out for the intense stone-fruit flavours of the Devil’s Lair Chardonnay. The wine's thrust of oak derived tannins effortlessly match the power of the turkey.

Devil’s Corner Resolution Pinot Noir, Tasmania
Take an alternative approach to your Christmas turkey with Devil's Corner Resolution, an example of why Tasmanian pinot noir is on a high. The Resolution is lithe and bright with oodles of red berry flavours framed by a sheath of mild-mannered tannins that vie with the mustard and match the weight and power of the roast pumpkin.

Preparation time: 3 hours
Cooking time: 45 minutes

1 turkey breast, skin on (about 1.8kg)
250g butter, plus 20g extra
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped tarragon
1 tbsp olive oil
6 eschalots, halved
500mL (2 cups) chicken stock
100mL dry white wine
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Juice of ½ lemon or to taste
Roast pumpkin wedges and leafy green salad, to serve

Buttermilk brine
70g sea salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 bunch tarragon
1 head of garlic, halved
thinly peeled rind and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups ice cubes
1 litre buttermilk

1. To make buttermilk brine, stir salt, sugar and 500mL boiling water from the kettle in a bowl to dissolve. Add tarragon, garlic, lemon rind, juice, and ice cubes. Cool completely and add buttermilk.

2. Place turkey breast in a container, pour over buttermilk brine, cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Drain well, discarding brine, then pat turkey dry — you can refrigerate turkey overnight at this stage or go straight to the cooking stage.

3. Beat 150g butter, garlic and half the chopped tarragon in a bowl to combine. Carefully separate the turkey skin from the breast to form a pocket, spoon tarragon butter underneath skin evenly.

4. Preheat oven to 150°C. Heat oil and extra butter in a large, ovenproof non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add turkey, skin-side down, with eschalots and brown for 6-8 minutes, then turn and brown other side. Add stock and wine, and bring to a simmer. Transfer to oven and roast for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through, then transfer turkey and eschalots to a platter (do not discard poaching liquid), cover with foil to keep warm.

5. Strain poaching liquid into a saucepan and boil for 12-15 minutes or until reduced by half. Gradually whisk in remaining 100g butter, one cube at a time, until emulsified, then whisk in mustard. Remove from heat, add remaining tarragon and a squeeze of lemon. Season.

6. Serve turkey breast and eschalots with lemon tarragon gravy, roast pumpkin wedges and a leafy green salad.

Pistachio Meringue Layer Cake with Vanilla Crème Fraîche & Strawberries

To drink: De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon
The sweet, nutty flavours of the pistachios and the hint of burnt sugar in the meringue are just made for the Noble One. Made from late-picked semillon grapes, the Noble One 's intensity meets that of the sugar-laden meringue while the wine's ping of acidity mops up the creamy richness of the crème fraîche.

Château Miselle Sauternes, Sauternes France
This classic Sauternes combines the power of semillon with the freshness of sauvignon blanc, the variety’s hallmark acid edge echoed by the strawberries. The Château Miselle's honey like flavours are in harmony with the Grand Marnier-laden strawberries and the richness of the crème fraîche.

Serves: 6-8
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 3½ hours

750g strawberries, hulled
40mL Grand Marnier
60g icing sugar, sifted
600g crème fraîche
150mL pouring cream
Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean, or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
200g raspberries
Roughly chopped pistachio kernels, to serve

Pistachio meringue
150g egg whites (about 4 eggs)
150g caster sugar
150g icing sugar, sifted
150g pistachio kernels, processed to a fine meal

1. For pistachio meringue, preheat oven to 100°C. Trace a 20cm round on 3 sheets of baking paper and place each sheet, pencil-side down, on a lightly oiled baking tray. Whisk egg whites, caster sugar and a pinch of salt for 6-7 minutes in an electric mixer until firm peaks form, then fold in icing sugar and pistachio meal. Divide meringue mixture among each round and spread to form a disc (or pipe mixture into the circles). Bake for 3-3½ hours or until crisp but not coloured. Turn off oven and cool meringues completely in oven with door slightly ajar. Store meringues in an airtight container for up to two days.

2. Roughly crush 250g of the strawberries in a bowl with Grand Marnier and 2 tbsp icing sugar, then set aside strawberries to macerate for 20 minutes.

3. Whisk crème fraîche, cream, remaining icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl until firm peaks form. Lightly swirl in strawberry mixture to form a ripple effect. Reserve a little of the strawberry syrup. Refrigerate until required.

4. To assemble cake, slice or quarter remaining strawberries. Place a meringue disc on a serving plate, spread with half the crème fraîche mixture and scatter with some of the raspberries and sliced strawberries. Top with a second meringue disc and repeat layering. Finish with remaining meringue disc, top with remaining berries, drizzle with reserved syrup and scatter with pistachios. Best served within 20 minutes of assembling.

Christmas Pudding with Pedro Ximenez Custard

To drink: Niepoort Ruby Port NV, Douro Portugal
The Niepoort Ruby Port's sweetness is curtailed by a thrust of tannins and a zing of acidity. The Niepoort and glacé fruit are playful partners while the port has the power to match the creamy richness of the custard.

Penfolds Grandfather Tawny
The Penfolds Grandfather Tawny makes a great wine to match the pudding at the end of a long Christmas lunch. The Grandfather is laden with dried fruit (currants, sultanas and sour cherries), with a dusting of savoury old leather and cinnamon.

Serves: 8-10
Preparation time: 45 minutes, plus overnight marinating
Cooking time: 6 hours

500g mixed dried fruits (currants, sultanas, raisins, figs, dried cherries)
200g pitted prunes, roughly chopped
100g diced glacé orange or mixed peel
150mL Pedro Ximenez Yellow Label Sherry
Finely grated rind and juice of 1 orange
250g softened butter
110g (½cup) brown sugar
3 eggs
250g day-old breadcrumbs
150g (1 cup) plain flour
150mL milk
1 granny smith apple, coarsely grated
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1½tsp ground mixed spice

Pedro Ximenez custard
300mL pouring cream
100mL milk
100mL Pedro Ximenez Yellow Label Sherry
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
5 egg yolks
100g brown sugar

1. Combine dried fruits, prunes, candied peel, sherry, orange rind and juice in a container. Mix well, cover and marinate overnight.

2. Beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then beat in eggs. Stir in soaked fruit and remaining ingredients. Spoon into a buttered 2-litre-capacity pudding basin and smooth top. Place a round of buttered baking paper onto surface of pudding, then cover with a double layer of foil and secure with kitchen string.

3. Place pudding basin in a large saucepan of boiling water deep enough to cover two-thirds of the basin. Cover and boil, topping up water level with more hot water as necessary, for 5-6 hours or until a skewer inserted into centre withdraws clean. Stand for 30 minutes before serving, or cool, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to one month. To reheat, boil in pudding basin, covered, for 30 minutes.

4. For Pedro Ximenez custard, bring cream, milk, sherry and vanilla to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl until pale, pour cream mixture over and whisk to combine. Return to pan and stir continuously for 5-6 minutes or until mixture thickly coats back of a wooden spoon. Strain custard and refrigerate for up to three days. Serve warm with pudding.