It’s that time of year, football fans! Super Bowl Sunday approaches, and while much of the media is hunkered down analyzing statistics and discussing the many pro and cons of deflated balls (what wine pairs well with conspiracy theories, we wonder…?), we have our minds on something infinitely more delicious: what the heck are we going to eat on game day??
Sure, we could go all out and do a 5-course meal complete with sumptuous sauces and wines that cost more than a ticket to the actual game, but Super Bowl snacks are meant to be fun, portable, and easy to snarf while yelling angry things at the ref and/or opposing team.
So, with those parameters in mind, we’ve put together a list of party snacks and appetizers that honor our beloved Seattle Seahawks and paired them with a few wines from the surrounding region. These bites might be a little more elevated than your typical bowls of chips and dips, but hey, who says we can’t do a little game day gourmet?
Steamed Mussels & Chenin Blanc
Steamed mussels are a classic dish in the Pacific Northwest and a brilliant addition to any appetizer spread, and since these little mollusks are both scrumptious and technically still finger food, they’re a great way to please the foodies and the football fans with one easy-to make dish. We like this wine-infused mussels recipe from Fine Cooking and we pair it with the L’Ecole 41 2011 Chenin Blanc. This bottle is full of aromatics like passion fruit, jasmine, star fruit, and orange blossom that bring an exotic element to an otherwise simple dish, while the wine’s mineral-laden finish complements the mussels’ natural brine.
Oysters Rockefeller & Chardonnay
Seattle’s Pike Place Market is known for having some of the freshest fish – and coolest hawkers – in not just Seattle but pretty much everywhere, so when we went looking for a great Oysters Rockefeller recipe, we couldn’t find a more trusted authority. If you’re local, pick up your oysters at
the market; anywhere else, just buy from a trusted provider and make sure your knobby-shelled little buddies are still alive when you tote them home. Chase your baked oysters with not-so-dainty sips of the Snoqualmie 2012 Chardonnay (although any vintage will do, really).
The buttered bread crumbs match up well with this Chardonnay’s swirl of toasted oak, while the herbs and the licorice notes of the fennel find playful companions the Snoqualmie’s stone fruit and citrus aromas. The overall finish of this pairing is unbelievably creamy, imparting a decadent feel you don’t normally enjoy with a Sunday afternoon appetizer and an $11 bottle of wine.
Baked Brie with Mushrooms and
Thyme & Cabernet Franc
Few things get a foodie’s mouth watering quicker than a gooey wheel of fresh-from-the-oven brie – except, maybe, if that brie was topped with wild mushrooms and herbs, as it is in this indulgent recipe from Epicurious. Wild mushrooms are abundant in Washington State, and that brilliantly unctuous umami flavor needs a great wine to help showcase the mushroom’s complexity without overpowering the brie. Our pick? The 2011 Andrew Will Champoux. At around $60, it’s not the cheapest addition to your game day wine array, but this Cabernet Franc’s impeccably balanced combination of power and panache is worth every penny. There is plenty of herbal notes and a bit of wood and tobacco that brings this dish’s innate earthiness to the fore front, while the luscious swirl of red and black fruit helps keeps the brie in place, making for very cohesive and complex pairing.
Cherry, Blue Cheese, and Apple Crostini & Late Harvest Riesling
No feast, football or otherwise, is complete without a little something sweet. Our pick for a dessert-ish dish incorporates savory elements like blue cheese, shallots, and intriguingly stinky white pepper with sweet cherries, clover honey, and apples, all of which are prevalent in the Pacific Northwest.
This lovely recipe from A Communal Table uses dried cherries, but we used fresh Rainiers and it came out beautifully. Salute the Seahawks’ wine with these addictive munchy and a glass of 2013 Hogue Late Harvest Riesling from Columbia Valley, Washington. Sweet and succulent without verging into cloying, this bottle is full of rich honey and citrus flavors with a full body and clean finish – the perfect bridge between the sharp bite of blue cheese and the toasted nuts, tart apple, and lightly sweet cherries.