HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Chef Patrick Evans Hylton shares some delicious eats and drinks just in time for Thanksgiving!
CHEERS TO THANKSGIVING
WITH WILLIAMSBURG WINERY PICKS
Thanksgiving is a time for good eats and good drinks, and pairing food and wine is an important part of that. The first Thanksgiving took place in Virginia in 1619 and we serve Virginia wines at our holiday table.
Our friend, Matthew Meyer, winemaker at Williamsburg Winery, shares three of his picks for the Big Meal. On the list: 2020 Wessex Hundred Rose’ as an aperitif, 2019 Chardonnay Virginia Stainless Steel Fermented with oysters on-the-half-shell and other seafood, and 2019 Barrel Aged Virginia Claret to pair with turkey and other meat entrees.
We add our own recommendation of one of Williamsburg Winery’s sparkling wines to serve with dessert.
Here are Meyer’s notes on the vintages:
Wessex Hundred Estate
Initially the wine has a strawberry and cherry essence which gives way to some subtle notes of plums, currants, raspberries, and blueberries. Nestled behind these initial fruits is a touch of cantaloupe and banana, adding another layer to the this multidimensional wine. All these fruits are wrapped in a beautiful herbaceous and floral note that lends a nice lusciousness to the wine. It finishes with a slight creamy texture that still maintains a bright explosive fruit character.
Stainless Steel Fermented
This Chardonnay is all about balance and finesse. The apple, pear, strawberry and stone fruits are well matched with the soft honeysuckle and fresh hay/straw. The citrus notes are very soft and nestle alongside the chalky minerality of the wine very elegantly. There is also a gentle nuttiness to the wine that rounds out the overall complexity. The finish is long, bright and creamy with some juicy nectarine and tropical nuances. This is my favorite Virginia Stainless Steel Chardonnay to date.
2019 Barrel Aged Virginia Claret
Varietal: 35% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Norton, 9% Petit Verdot, 9% Cabernet Franc
There are some very pleasant nuances of fresh strawberry, raspberry, cherry and currants. Along with the fresh fruit nuances is a lovely combination of fresh grass and spring flowers along with a touch of the forest. Just behind these earthy characters is a hint of cocoa and vanilla. The tannins are well rounded and accentuate the creaminess of the wine and go nicely with the oak producing a delightful balance. The finish has a wonderful depth and showcases the fresh fruit aspects of the wine. Overall, I am pleased with the 2018 Claret and feel it will pair well with many different dishes. Most importantly, Elena thoroughly enjoys it!
All wines are produced by Meyer at Williamsburg Winery, and available at the winery in Williamsburg, the winery Tasting Room at Virginia Beach, and area wine shops and other retailers.
Wine comes from www.WilliamsburgWinery.com
BON APPETIT TO HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING
WITH OUR HOSPITALITY PINEAPPLE-PECAN CHEESEBALL
Old School and awesome, the classic cheeseball is a favorite with year-round entertaining, but especially so during the holidays. Our Hospitality Pineapple-Pecan Cheeseball is quick-and-easy to prepare for parties. You can also make the cheeseballs for holiday or hostess gifts.
Rich cream cheese is the base, with ingredients, including pineapple tidbits folded in before molding into a ball shape. Pineapple is a southern symbol of hospitality, and was widely used in holiday decorations throughout Colonial Virginia.
The cheeseball is coated in pecan pieces, adding another southern touch to the dish. Here’s how to make it:
Add 3 cups shelled pecan halves to a ziptop plastic bag and crush finely with a rolling pin or similar, pour onto a plate, and set aside. Chop a handful of chives, using 1 teaspoon in the recipe and setting the rest aside. Dice 1 cup pineapple chunks into small tidbits, drain, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 pounds room temperature cream cheese, 2-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup pineapple pieces/tidbits, 1/4 cup chopped green and/or red pepper, 1 teaspoon fresh chopped chives, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir to completely incorporate, or use a hand-mixer to thoroughly blend.
Roll the cheese mixture in a ball shape and wrap in plastic or place in a ziptop plastic bag. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to completely firm.
Remove chilled cheeseball and place on plate of reserved, crushed pecan pieces. Press pecan pieces into ball to completely coat. Serve with round, buttery crackers.
For more, visit www.VirginiaEatsAndDrinks.com
EATS, DRINKS + DOS
DON’T BE A TURKEY WITH THESE TIPS
Thanksgiving is on us, and most of us need some help in the kitchen.
One tip is to allow enough time to defrost the turkey. We recommend defrosting in the fridge for food safety issues, but you can defrost in cold water. Here are guidelines:
- Defrost an 8-12 pound bird 2-3 days in the fridge or 4-6 hours in cold water
- Defrost a 12-16 pound bird 3-4 days in the fridge or 6-8 hours in cold water
- Defrost a 16-20 pound bird 4-5 days in the fridge or 8-10 hours in cold water
- Defrost a 20-24 pound bird 5-6 days in the fridge or 10-12 hours in cold water
Another tip is to roast the bird until golden brown and delicious. Here are guidelines:
- Preheat oven to 400F
- We do not recommend cooking the stuffing inside the bird. Instead add citrus, herbs, onions, and other aromatics
- Roast bird breast-side down in roasting pan for 45 minutes, then flip
- As birds near finishing time, check to make sure breast is not getting to brown. If it is, tent a piece of aluminum foil over the breast
- Birds are done when a meat thermometer is inserted into the thigh and it reads 175F. Probes in the breast should read 165F
- Roast an 8-12 pound bird for 2 to 3 hours; test with thermometer the last 30 minutes
- Roast a 12-16 pound bird for 2-1/2-3-1/2 hours; test with thermometer the last 30 minutes
- Roast a 14-16 pound bird for 3-4 hours; test with thermometer the last 30 minutes
- Roast a 16-19 pound bird for 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours; test with thermometer the last 30 minutes
- Roast a 20-24 pound bird for 3/12 to 4/12 hours; test with thermometer the last 30 minutes
Thanksgiving is about the food as well as family and friends. Add more together time buy purchasing a whole Thanksgiving meal, or a turkey or sides.
Chef Alvin Williams at Cobalt Grille in Virginia Beach is offering a number of options for folks to pick up and take home.
Personalize the turkey by serving on a platter circled by small fruits, some cut in half, grapes, berries, and fresh herbs like rosemary and sage.
Personalize side dishes with signature compound butters and sprigs of fresh rosemary or sage
For more, visit www.CobaltGrille.com
FOR MORE VIRGINIA EATS + DRINKS
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