As family and friends gather and cheers to the holidays, it’s the perfect time to get creative and impress your guests with elevated food and drink pairings. When enjoying mouth-watering holiday recipes, new and old, we tend to think about pairing them with the usual suspects—wine and beer. But never underestimate the refreshing delight of sparkling water, which can act as a palette cleanser. S.Pellegrino’s dynamic taste, gentle bubbles, persistent carbonation and rich minerality make this beverage one of the most renowned sparking natural mineral waters in the world. Partnered with decadent and delicious gourmet eats, it brings a balanced, flavourful sparkle to your holiday meal.
To make sure you’re set for entertaining this season, Vancouver-based chefs Carmen Holtby and Ben Miller have provided exclusive insight on how to easily integrate seasonal ingredients into unique holiday recipes that will wow any crowd. We were introduced to each chef when they competed in this year's prestigious S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Regional Finals. For those who may not know, the S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy program fosters and nurtures the chefs of tomorrow, providing them with mentorship and opportunities to grow their talent. Carmen and Ben were selected as two of Canada’s top ten best emerging talent and showcased their delicious local and seasonal meals during the Young Chef Academy Competition. We know they will inspire creative and memorable recipes for your holidays!
Holtby’s competition dish, called Coastline Winter, showcased oysters, a local seafood that is at its peak during the winter season. She complemented the briny flavour of the Fanny Bay beach oysters with smoked butter and added balance to the dish with acidity of the pickled celeriac. Many Canadians traditionally incorporate oysters into Christmas meals and Carmen suggests that if haven’t you should, whether by incorporating similar flavour profiles to her signature dish or by serving them raw with mignonette or in a creamy oyster stew.
“In my family, we usually add a few smoked oysters to our turkey stuffing to bring a smoky umami note to the rich bread and sausage flavours,” Holtby says. Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay wines, with their bright, crisp flavours, pair nicely with seafood. These flavours are also complemented by S.Pellegrino’s signature gentle bubbles, subtle nuances and perfect mineral balance.
The brined mushroom was served on a sour cabbage puree that was cooked until soft with lots of mirepoix, caraway and fennel seed and paired with a potato tarlette filled with king oyster mushrooms. This plant-based meal mimics the rich and bold flavours of a roast and has the texture of a delicate steak. Take inspiration from Ben’s dish this holiday season and elevate mushrooms or a vegetable of choice with similar rich and bright flavours for a bold side or exciting vegetarian main. The flavours of this dish pair perfectly with a Sauvignon Blanc or Bordeaux wine and, of course, the crisp persistent effervescence of S.Pellegrino.
Ready to bring some extra sparkle to your holidays? On every table, with every kind of cuisine, with new friends or old… wherever you find the star on the cap, you’ll find a moment of great taste waiting to be enjoyed.
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