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Wining and Dining: Let the Holiday Season Begin!

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Last year, at the delightful shop The Kitchen Sync in Wenatchee, I met a young Manson resident, Morgan Fraser, who was signing her just-published cookbook featuring recipes and wine pairings from the Chelan/Manson area here in Washington. It was a beautiful, well-done book, and became so popular that Morgan decided to create a similar one for the Leavenworth/Peshastin/Cashmere area. .

Because Washington is one of the top states in wine production, with winemakers winning top awards nationwide for the excellence of their wines, many cooks give careful consideration to the wines they serve, and to the pairing of wine with food, especially with the holiday season fast approaching.

Even before Thanksgiving, and often before Halloween, evidence of the coming December holiday season is visible in stores, on TV and online. By Thanksgiving, many of us are deep into holiday preparations, with plans for food and drink high on the to-do list. Wine is often the adult beverage of choice.

Whether or not we celebrate Christmas, Yom Kippur, Kwanzaa - or no special holiday at all, this time of year is a season of preparing and sharing food and drink with family and friends. As many of us are attempting to support our local businesses by shopping locally whenever possible, we need look no farther than our own local areas to find a wealth of excellent Washington wines available, with prices to suit all budgets. And we can find information on pairing these wines with foods by checking out Morgan Fraser’s new cookbook, Savoring Leavenworth, which is here just in time for the holiday season.

You can join Morgan in Leavenworth at A Book for All Seasons on November 25, 12:00pm to 4:00pm, where she will be signing copies of Savoring Leavenworth before its official release. It will be available at A Book for All Seasons beginning November 25 and at many local retailers December 1, so come in and see us and get a beautiful early gift for yourself or for a friend.

A note on pairing food and wine: We all have our individual tastes in food as well as in wine. What one person likes might cause another to make an unhappy face. The important thing is this: whatever pleases you is right for you. There are no “cut and dried” rules to pairing, although some very good guidelines for pairings exist, and seem to please most of the people most of the time. When possible, in offering food and wine to guests, offer both white and red wines with the food. Yes, some people drink red with their delicate sole or chicken in a cream sauce, while others have white with grilled steak or lamb…sigh.

Some dishes frankly don’t pair well with wine, as some ingredients bring out chemical flavors in wine, or alter its flavors so much that a favorite wine won’t taste good. I don’t have wine with my Gazpacho Blanco, or with desserts. I prefer many dessert wines on their own, and do not care for red wine with most chocolate. Heresy, I know, but that's my personal taste.

Eat and drink whatever combination of food and beverage pleases you, as will I, and don’t let the pairing of food and wine intimidate you. Recipes with wine pairing are available in these delightful cookbooks by Morgan Fraser, with their beautiful art work and photography,and recipes from you, and your friends and neighbors