It’s that special time of year where friends and family gather to celebrate the season. For many, that includes festive food spreads along with a glass or two of holiday cheer.
Tanya Sergey, for one, is well accustomed to putting those together. The owner and chef at A Moveable Feast in Brunswick teams up with local certified sommelier Ruth Ryberg to offer monthly food and wine pairings as special evening events.
Their next will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at A Moveable Feast, 1178 Chapel Crossing Road, Brunswick. The cost is $35, which includes a light fare feast by Sergey and 25 wines to taste. There are still a few spots available.
“We have a group of friends that are all either foodies or wine reps so we love to put these events on to show the community what we love. For a wine tasting like this, because there are so many different types of wines, my goal is to present a sea, an ocean of small bites so that they can decide what best goes with the wine they like,” Sergey said.
“We use a lot of unique flavors that you wouldn’t find maybe on someone else’s Christmas buffet. I am going to have pâté, egg salad and smoked salmon on pumpernickel, homemade flatbread with cilantro cream and mini, gluten-free quiches.”
As for Ryberg’s part, she wants to offer a variety of wine styles and types that pair with the food and the season.
“I really love white and bubbly this time of year. Crémant, from France, is an nice alternative to champagne and is about half the price here. It’s really high quality but not high price,” Ryberg said.
“Regions all over France make this. It’s made the same way as champagne though with a double fermentation ... the second one though takes place in the bottle and not a vat.”
While Sergey and Ryberg are professionals and can easily toss together a party, they understand that putting on similar soirees at home can be daunting for many a host or hostess. But they have a few tricks they have learned along the way.
For instance, Sergey suggests allowing the guests to lend a hand.
“I would ask people to bring a dish ... something they want to share with a bottle of wine they really like. It can be a little buffet with a lot of different kinds of foods and a mini wine tasting,” Sergey said.
Personalized food and drink offerings allow attendees to share of bit of themselves with the other guests, while allowing the host or hostess a bit of a reprieve.
“It’s nice because there will be a variety and the hostess won’t have to do everything,” she added.
As for what to bring beverage-wise, Ryberg also has a go-to suggestion.
“I would suggest a pinot noir. They come with clove and cinnamon notes ... it goes well with everything — salmon, pork, really anything,” Ryberg said.
Of course, Ryberg has specifics too. The wines she plans to share during the tasting are all versatile enough to go with many different dishes and palates.
Ryberg will offer some suggestions at the tasting Thursday, all of which will be available locally through the 19th Hole Wine Shop on St. Simons Island. There will be a variety spanning reds, whites and, naturally, a little bubbly.
“This wine is really getting a lot of attention, it’s called Etna as in Mount Etna in Sicily,” she said. “I just love it for the holidays because it has a lot of bright cherry, some cinnamon spice. It’s medium bodied but still is a nice, cool weather wine.”
Côtes du Rhône is another of Ryberg’s go-to.
“The Rhône valley is the region (of France). It can be really easy and light, it can be big and hearty too. But it’s typically medium bodied wine darker cranberry, raspberry fruits and really nice floral as well as usually some savory spice,” she said.
“It’s a great, layered wine. The key is to find something that doesn’t have a lot of tannins (textural elements that make wines taste dry) on it because the tannins will overwhelm the food.”