Hanukkah Wine Pairing Tips

This evening marks the official start of Hanukkah 2014. Although everyone has their own unique traditions, my family and friends will usually do a big Hanukkah dinner on whatever night happens to fall on a convenient weekend day. So in preparation for our Hanukkah potluck this Sunday evening, I’ve been working on planning out my wine pairings.

Like most other holiday meals, Hanukkah dinners usually feature a wide variety of flavors which can make wine pairing less stressful in my opinion. Why? Because with so many different dishes it’s impossible to find a single wine that goes with all items on the menu. So instead, get a couple of good wines that pair really well with a few items, and enjoy your holiday meal!

Image credit: VegWithAnEdge.com

Wine and Challah

I love making challah, even if just for a Friday night dinner, so I never miss an opportunity to bust out a challah for Hanukkah. Check out my traditional challah recipe here, or if you want something a little different try these challah dinner roles.

Challah is a sweet, eggy bread, and it goes with most wines. I’d recommend selecting a wine based on what you’re serving with the challah. For instance, I usually put out apricot jam and a nice merlot.

Cheese Plate Pairings

Eating cheese is a Hanukkah tradition in celebration of Judith. When it comes to wine pairings, you have unlimited options.

This year I’ll be putting out a cheese plate with a few semi-hard, medium-aged cheeses (like havarti, or jarlsberg). They pair perfectly with pinot noirs.

We currently have a great deal on primo pinot noir wines from King Estate, Anderson Valley, Wedell Cellars, and Littorai Roman vineyards. Though wines ordered today probably won’t arrive before the end of Hanukkah, you can get a couple of bottles now so they’re ready next time you want to serve a semi-hard cheese plate.

Lots of Latkes

Latkes are another traditional Hanukkah dinner staple. The most important part is frying the latkes in oil, so you can feel free to get creative with your recipe. I prefer low-carb latkes made from daikon, celery root, and jicama, but go with whatever recipe you prefer!

Image credit: VegWithAnEdge.com

I recommend pairing a nice sparkling wine with your latkes. The bubbles and acid cut through the fat from the frying, which means it will pair well with any fried donuts you might be serving later in the meal.

Roasted Root Veggies

Though not a traditional Hanukkah dish, I really love serving roasted root veggies. Parsnips are my favorite, and they’re crazy easy to make.

Image credit: VegWithAnEdge.com

I really like pairing a nice Italian barbera wine with roasted fall vegetables, but if you’re going with a really sweet veggie blend (like carrots or radishes) then you might want to serve a riesling.

Hanukkah Cookies

This year, I’m also planning to bring cookies to the Hanukkah potluck.

Image credit: LeitesCulinaria.com

You can make your favorite sugar or shortbread cookie dough, the key is finding good Hanukkah themed cookie cutters and dedicating a few hours to decorating. Check out tips here.

I like to close out a Hanukkah party with a little more sparkling wine, especially if you’re also serving sugary cookies.

What’s your favorite wine to serve during a Hanukkah dinner? Leave a reply to let us know, or connect with us on Twitter.

Send us Your Best SantaCon Photo for an Underground Cellar Gift Card

As someone who grew up near The Bay area, I’m quite familiar with SantaCon. In fact, it’s probably one of my favorite events in San Francisco. For anyone who either doesn’t live in SF, or has never heard of SantaCon, it’s basically a gigantic pub crawl of people dressed in holiday attire. There are tons of Santas (obviously), but you’ll also find attendees in reindeer and snowman costumes, etc.

SantaCon SF begins at an as-of-yet unannounced location this coming Saturday (December 13th). Check the official SantaCon SF Twitter page on Saturday morning to find out details, then head out to the meet up location. Santas will usually gather to take pictures and sip off their portable beverages for an hour or so, then the crowd splits up as the Santas take to the streets of the city. Most will head to bars in The Mission or North Beach, but you’ll see people wondering all over the city in holiday costumes.

Here’s a picture of a friend and I at SantaCon SF back in 2013. The starting location that year was Union Square.

Image credit: Mathew Guiver via Facebook

RSVP to the Facebook event page and tell your friends. Don’t live in The Bay? Check out this unofficial listing of SantaCon events to see if there are any gatherings in a city near you. And now, for the important part…

We’re giving away a $250 gift card to the best SantaCon costume!

Send us a picture of you and your fellow Santas this weekend. Our team will pick a favorite, and send that Santa a virtual $250 Underground Cellar gift card.

There are multiple different ways to enter, you could send us a Twitter @ reply with your photo, direct message it to us on Instagram, post it on our Facebook wall, or email it to support@undergroundcellar.com.

5 runner up Santas will get $50 gift cards

To help spread the love, we’re also giving our top 5 favorite Santas (or non-Santas depending on your holiday costume) $50 gift cards.

Anyone that sends a photo will get a $20 off promo code

Even if you aren’t selected as a winner, anyone participating in SantaCon that submits a photo we’ll get a promo code for $20 off a future Underground Cellar order. It’s our way of saying Happy Holidays!

Rules of the giveaway:

  • The person in the picture must be you!
  • Other Santas must be visible. Don’t just send us a random picture of a random Santa costume, we want photos from people who are actually participating in a 2014 SantaCon event.
  • One entry per person, entries must be received before 12:01 AM on Monday December 15, 2014.
  • Winner must be located in the US, and be 21 and over. Shipping restrictions apply to certain states, check our terms and conditions for more information.

On behalf of the Underground Cellar team, I look forward to seeing you out at this years SantaCon SF!

10 Times the Ladies of The Real Expressed Love for Wine

More than one of us here at the Underground Cellar team are fans of The Real, and if you watch the show then you know it’s no secret that the hosts enjoy the occasional glass of wine.

1. Our favorite tweet from Adrienne

2. Jeannie on how she unwinds

Image credit: mylifeonandofftheguestlist.com

3. Loni explaining what The Real is all about

“We want to be that show that you can sit back for a couple of minutes, maybe while you’re on the treadmill or sitting down having a glass of wine and you watch us. That’s really what The Real is about.”

4. Adrienne on her diet

Image credit: Zimbio

5. Tamera on her guilty pleasures

6. Tamar on how Tamera likes to turn up

Image credit: The Real via YouTube

7. Loni on etiquette at The Real 

Image credit:  krnb.com

8. Jeannie’s wine and wardrobe pairing tips

“If you’re having a jeans & t-shirt day, try something bright and casual like a Pinot Grigio.

If you’re feeling super stylish and want to try out your new pair of stilettos, be radiant and let your true colors shine through with a Reisling.”

9. Tamar on dealing with pain

10. A classic quote from her book, Love Him or Leave Him, But Don’t Get Stuck with the Tab:

Image credit: Facebook