Tag: christmas

The tradition of the Christmas hamper in Europe

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Christmas 2013 is approaching! Dingdong! Dingdong! Santa Claus is just around the corner, and it’s time to prepare Christmas gifts. Have you thought about yours?
Christmas is a time when gifts are an important part of the spirit of this time, which is more important to give than to receive, and to show our loved ones how much we care. It is the universal gift time, don?t you think?

Today we will show you how to celebrate Christmas in the rest of Europe, and what are the favorite gifts between families and friends across Europe.

  • Christmas in Germany: There is no tradition of giving Christmas hampers, but it is a specialty to offer gifts among friends and family, especially handicrafts and traditional ones. Throughout the country, on the weekend closest to Christmas they open “Christmas markets? where to drink ?Gluehwein” or mulled wine, listen to traditional carols sung by choirs, and try delicacies like roasted almonds or Lebkuchen (spice cake and honey).
  • Christmas in Italy: Christmas hampers are offered in Italy (the tradition of giving Christmas hampers reaches the Roman), though not as institutionalized as in Spain. However, the kings of the Christmas hampers are not sausages but the panettone (cake with fruit) and Pandoros (without fruit cake), usually accompanied by liquors and sweet wines, such as Marsala. Ah! Do not forget that Christmas gifts ends with the witch Befana, the night of 5 to January 6.
  • Christmas in Spain: Christmas in Spain starts with delivering Christmas lots by companies to their employees, usually between 15-20 of December. These Christmas hampers usually include sausages, wine and Christmas sweets like marzipan or nougat. On December 22 Christmas begins informally with the special Sweepstakes Lottery Christmas. The gifts were distributed to children traditionally the day of the Three Kings (night of 5 to January 6), but in recent decades the tradition of doing the December 24 (Santa Claus) is gaining ground, so that children enjoy their toys during Christmas holidays.
  • Christmas in France: France is the country that brings the traditions of Europe: Christmas hampers or ?cadeaux de Noël?, are very celebrated, although these are not just gourmet hampers. In areas closer to Germany triumph the markets, and the further south you put cribs in homes. The ?galette des rois? is the equivalent of King Cake, and they even send Christmas cards, but in January!

Preparing the Christmas gifts? Today we recommend 2 different lots to surprise with gifts this Christmas 2013:

 TAGS:Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut in CasePerrier-Jouët Grand Brut in Case

Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut in Case

 

 

 TAGS:Christmas hamper Nº 83Christmas hamper Nº 83

Christmas hamper Nº 83

Christmas with ready meals, the most convenient option

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Once again, we come to one of the most magical times of the year, Christmas, where we gather with family, friends, co-workers…

It’s time for parties and also meetings, endless family and business lunches and dinners in which we usually cook for many people, offering the finest food, and always ending exhausted.

But this year will be different. You will not spend time in the kitchen and you’ll be much more with your guests. What do you think? To have a great success on your Christmas dinner, choose quality and gourmet ready meals; they are a delight for any palate.

It’s best to buy a variety of dishes for everyone to be happy, some of which will be typical of this holidays. One advantage of these dishes is that they are ready in 15 minutes. Simply heat, perhaps seasoning to taste and offer a good presentation with proper utensils. We advise to provide small portions in several dishes as a tasting.

How about start the dinner with a lobster bisque? Totally tempting! You know: Heat and ready. Then we recommend a totally exquisite specialty: beef cheeks with Garnacha sauce, a dish of the Pyrenees which your guests can enjoy with a Rioja red wine, that will certainly fill a lot of tables during the holidays.

And for those who prefer fish, fillet of northern tuna in tomato sauce is a perfect and delicious option which allows to include roasted potatoes or other vegetables you prefer.

To accompany, we can use other less consistent dishes such as pickled quail drumsticks, masked potatoes with black butifarra (typical Catalan), peppers stuffed with partridge, mini chorizos in cider… In short, variety is the spice with these special dishes that you will not have to cook. Do not forget the wines for the Christmas lunch and dinner… and the typical Christmas desserts, and maybe some gifts (you will have to provide them!).

Christmas dinner: Wine

 TAGS:cena de navidadNow is the time, we have the the great dinner, the guests, the champagne to toast and glasses after, but what wine should we serve? What wonderful Bacchus liquor for pairing such a varied dinner as the Christmas one?

There are many tips to pair such complex menus, but the most important of all is: There is not just one formula to cope up with a dinner pairing. Once we recognize this, what we can do is provide you with a number of useful tips for you to choose the wines you want to serve at your Christmas dinner. Shall we know them?

  • You should always have in mind that this is usually a dinner party. So try to keep in mind not only your tastes, but especially, the ones of your closest family.
  • If wine is not in the preferences of your guests, do not try to convince them with bold pairings that awaken their senses. The priority is to have fun, so take the wine they bring to you, if they do, and spend your money on Christmas gifts.
  • The most consistent on pairing wines, ranges from dry and smooth to the most powerful wines and sweet wines too. But, considering the tastes of everybody, the best option is to suggest a pairing type, and at the same time put at their disposal of all your guests the choose  wines, so that each one chooses the one they like, whenever they feel like. Someone may prefer a single wine though all meal, or others may prefer to take different ones from the very beginning, it is their choice.
  • The holidays are the best times to begin with a white wine area, because many of the white wines of the vintage 2011 are just here and will be fresh and full of flavors. One of the first out was Gessamí 2011, the great white from Gramona.
  • As the dishes appear we should arise the power of wine, among other things because the nose and palate are saturated and do not appreciate the aromas so easily. It’s time for rather thick red grapes and wines of long aging, such as Viña Ardanza Reserva Especial 2001, a Rioja wine that is among the favorites of the Uviners.
  • Sweet wine is the favorite to finish the meal. In Spain we have a sweet tooth by nature, Christmas candy assortment is vast and abundant after dinner, so a glass of Enrique Mendoza Moscatel de la Marina 2010, for example, help us finish a more than pleasant dinner.

And above all, enjoy the moment. Think that it might have been a tough year, but there is a better one on the way. Enjoy!

If you want a couple of wines that everyone can enjoy, here are our two successful proposals:

 TAGS:Rúa Blanco 2010Rúa Blanco 2010

One of the wines about which there’s been a lot of talking this year. Young, fat and easy to drink, a wine with a very good price to accompany the entrees.

 TAGS:Buy Rúa Blanco 2010 4,25?


 TAGS:Pago de los Capellanes Crianza 2008Pago de los Capellanes Crianza 2008

One of the best Ribera del Duero, powerful flavor but with fine tannins and perfectly ensambled. Wonderful.

Buy Pago de los Capellanes Crianza 2008 16,80?