Wine Spectator Magazine Features Hanukkah Menu with Wine Pairingsby Brie Stimson November 29, 2016
Featured in the November 30th issue of Wine Spectator Magazine, Jewish cookbook author Joan Nathan pairs some of her favorite Hanukkah dishes with the perfect drink.
On the menu is Smoked Salmon With Radicchio, Endives, Beets and Lemon Shallot Vinaigrette; Wine-Braised Brisket With Roasted Vegetables, potato zucchini latkes; applesauce with cranberries and orange olive oil cake with rosemary and blood oranges for dessert.
While this isn’t the first time a mainstream magazine has focused a large feature on Hanukkah, it is worthy of noting – and looking at the pairings.
Nathan, who calls herself a “brisket maven”, pairs the wine-braised brisket with roasted winter vegetables with Elviwines Rioja Herenza Crianza 2010 – a red that’s a little spicier. The orange olive oil cake, which she pairs with a honeyed sweet wine: Carmel Gewürztraminer Galilee Late Harvest Sha’al Vineyard 2010, is a version of one her daughter makes – “an oily bookend to the meal.”
Nathan, who has been writing about food for decades, refers in the magazine to Hanukkah as the “light in the ancient world.” For the holiday at the darkest time of the year, she says, light is the most important.
In the magazine Nathan talks about how she came to love Jewish food:
“When I was growing up, we had my mother’s great brisket, which is my favorite brisket, and actually, the recipe I’m sending is a riff on that one because it’s so good,” she says. “It was not sweet. A lot of briskets today have all kinds of sweetness in them. It was savory. You can make recipes so modern that they don’t have any semblance of tradition. To me, that doesn’t work.”
And wine was always on the table. Her father, a Germany-born business executive, was an early Zionist who helped develop Israeli wine. “He went to Israel very early and crowned the Carmel wine queen. That was a big event in his life. 1950. We always had Carmel wine.”
Nathan grew up in Rhode Island and Larchmont, N.Y., where her family were founding members of the local temple. She loved traveling but never wanted to go to Israel, partly because of her father’s involvement there. After earning a master’s degree in French literature, she spoke to a friend returning from a tour in the Peace Corps, who told her Israel was the most interesting country he’d been to. She went.
“I was blown away, because it’s such an amazing country,” she says. “I mean, with all its warts, it’s an amazing country.”
For the full article and Nathan’s great pairings you’ll have to get a copy of the magazine.