Around the World Inspired Holiday Dining

In Editor Picks by LA Travel Magazine

Tradition is a big part of a holiday meal. Whatever you decide to serve on the big day probably has a lot to do with the tradition that was passed down to you from your family. This year, why not try adding a bit of travel mementos to the table?  We’ve gathered some key ingredients to spice up that holiday meal inspired by a few fantastic getaways near and far.

hall-cabernet-mdnThe Wine

When planning your holiday entertaining, the addition of wine to the table is sure to liven up any occasion. Matching wine to food need not be a chore or a challenge. Ignore the complex formulas and books on the subject; they offer too much information and over-complicate matters. Instead reminisce over your last trip to the Napa Valley and include a bottle of HALL Cabernet Sauvignon. “Dark garnet in color, the 2012 HALL Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon displays strong aromas of pure dark fruit with a floral lift of fresh rose. The palate is bright, concentrated and dense with plenty of structured tannins buttressed by French oak.

If you are looking for a medium bodied wine, opt for a 2013 WALT “Blue Jay” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. This varietal offers brooding and dark aromatics of clove, earth, and bluefruit with hints of paprika and dried lavender. The palate is dense and lush with boysenberry and toffee flavors. The wine finishes long, and is teeming with dark fruit, and rich oak.

5737279089_b74ba3a321_bThe Main Dish

Istanbul does have a few things to teach the world when it comes to spices. Why not turn up the flavor profiles on your protein this year and take a lesson from the Turks.

Saffron, cardamom, aniseed, turmeric and other exotic spices you would find inside the Grand Bazaar are sold as a tribute to the Ottoman times when the chefs of the sultan palace and the other noble kitchens were much more lavish with the use of spices. This included the finest seasonings that money could buy from around the globe –Ottoman dishes included black pepper from South-East Asia, musk from Siberia and Himalayas, saffron from Middle East, mastic from Cyprus.

The Sides

Venture to the islands of Puerto Rico where Pasteles (traditional green banana and root vegetable tamales) are a staple to holiday culture. These little green gifts, one might expect to find these under the tree instead of on a dinner table can be labor intensive so families will kick off the holiday season with parties devoted to making dozens—sometimes hundreds–of them at once. The root vegetable dough is combined with stewed pork, chicken, or fish and then dotted with olives, chickpeas, and raisins, before being wrapped in a banana leaf, tied-up, and steamed. Once made, they can be frozen and enjoyed throughout the season.

The Dessert

1016394_536603749732926_571117061_nIf you are an LA local then leave the dessert to Yellow Tomato Catering! Their signature Sweet Potato Yum Yums are inspired by the owner’s fond memories during a trip to Africa.  If you were one of the lucky guests that joined us for our Taste of the World event this past October you already know what we are talking about! As the winning dish of the night, these savory little bites will provide the perfect ending to your holiday meal. You can thank us later!