Wine is for Celebration!
Whether it’s pouring a glass and sharing a toast while catching up with old friends or popping a bottle in celebration, it’s no secret that wine is universally a celebratory drink. Let’s take a trip around the world and see how different countries, cultures and traditions use wines during their celebrations, festivals and holidays.
Wine for Carnival in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Between Yemanjá Day on February 2 and the Carnival Parade on February 9, the vibrant streets of Brazil are full of celebrations, dancing, and wine. Everybody knows that Rio has the most famous and iconic Carnaval Parade, but did you know that almost every city in Brazil has one? If you ask most Brazilians, they will tell you Rio is great, but Olinda is better.
“The festival (in Olinda) has a more African influence compared to the European feel of the Rio carnival which is evident in the flirty dances like the gut flexing bate-coxa, the umbrella-spinning frevo, the noble maracatú or the extremely graceful caboclinho. The carnival celebrations can start as early as December in Olinda and neighbouring city of Recife, so a trip to the Pernambuco (name of the region) could encompass a couple of days in each.”
Brazilian street food & wine pairings
Espetinhos – A Brazilian Barbecued sausage on a stick served with hot sauce and/or tomato salsa paired with a Vinicola Salton Gamay for a red, or try a nice Salton Classic Riesling, if you’d prefer white.
Wine For Mardi Gras In Louisiana, New Orleans
Moving north to Louisiana, where New Orleans, with it’s historic French Catholic roots, hosts Mardi Gras. Prior to 1857, Mardi Gras was celebrated only in the Roman Catholic Creole community, but the Mistick Krewe of Comus put on the first public Mardi Gras celebration, as we know it today, with parade and floats and that was the beginning of its current rendition. The colours that represent Mardi Gras are purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. In Louisiana, when they refer to Mardi Gras, it refers to the whole period of Carnival style celebrations. Different krewes put on parades almost everyday with the final and big parade on Mardi Gras itself.
These Louisiana specialties and their wine sidekick will keep your strength up for collecting all those beads.
Beignet: French for doughnut, these delicious fried puffs of dough covered in icing sugar are perfect for keeping that sugar rush high! Pair with a nice late harvest dessert wine like Armonea Riesling.
Gumbo: This spicy Louisiana specialty will have you begging for water, but instead reach for a nice Rose like Angels & Cowboys Blend. The sugars will cut down the spiciness as opposed to a heavy red with tannins that exacerbate spiciness.
Wine For Shrovetide in England
England celebrates Shrovetide (Shrove Tuesday) with a huge football match. It is also fondly refered to as Pancake Day. They eat pancakes preferably buttermilk pancakes because they are considered a food of indulgence and Shrove Tuesday is the last day to indulge before lent. Pancakes also include fat, butter and eggs which are forbidden during Lent. So what to pair with your Shrove Tuesday Pancakes? Pancakes are usually a breakfast or brunch food, so we recommend a nice Champagne Cocktail like a Mimosa, but as you will be eating these for dinner possibly at a football match you can also try a dessert wine like Sula Late Harvest Chenin Blanc. You can also match them to whatever topping you put on your pancake, check out Fiona Beckett’s Matching Food & Wine for specifics.
Wine for Shrovetide In Scandinavia & Denmark
In Denmark and other Nordic Countries, Fastelavn or Shrovetide is a children’s festival, almost like a version of Halloween. Children get dressed up in costumes and ask for fastelavnsboller special buns with cream inside and frosting on the outside. The song goes: “Buns up, buns down, buns in my tummy, if I don’t get any buns, I’ll make trouble.” The buns are a legacy from the days when this food constituted symbolic capital, because they were expensive and most people rarely got pastry except for special occasions. Today, the buns have been replaced by money. However, Shrovetide buns, which are sold in the bakers’ shops in the weeks around Shrovetide, remain a favourite treat for both adults and children. While we for sure don’t recommend drinking for children, for adults dining on this delicious, rich delicacy we recommend, a nice icewine like Diamond Estate Winery’sDan Aykroyd Discovery Series Vidal Icewine.
So, Mardi Gras, Carnival, Fastelavn, or Shrovetide; whatever you call this day or however you celebrate, give up anything but wine for lent. Why shouldn’t you give up wine for lent? I don’t know, could you really do 40 DAYS without it?! I’m sure you could find something else to give up. Hint, Hint 😉