Disclaimer: All photos were taken before the COVID-19 pandemic. NOWFE is committed to producing safe events and will abide by all Covid-19 rules and regulations and in compliance with state and local guidelines.
Mardi Gras is a terrific opportunity for home chefs to showcase the best of our local cuisine. It is also an excuse for wine lovers to mix and match favorite wines with the hot and spicy flavors of our region.
When you are searching for wines to step up to the pairing challenge, you will need to choose carefully. Stacy Slinkard shared the following Mardi gras-centric tasting notes for The Spruce:
It is best to bypass heavy reds that are high in tannins like a Cabernet Sauvignon. These will taste more metallic and destroy the flavors of the dish. Instead, opt for wines that will be crisp and cool and those that will not compete with the intensity of the dish's flavors. Overall, white wines will be the most versatile for the majority of Cajun cuisine and Sauvignon Blanc is one of the best options you will come across. That doesn't mean that reds are out of the question, though something like a Pinot Noir or Shiraz will be a more suitable choice.
Going for Gumbo?
It is hard to resist a steaming bowl of gumbo filled with sausage, shrimp, or chicken. However, it can be tricky to find a wine that doesn't contradict all of that flavor. The great news is that this is one dish that can handle either a red or white wine.
White wines will still be the most versatile for your secret gumbo recipe. You will need a very lively wine like a great Sauvignon Blanc to do it justice and balance the heat.
As for red wine selections, opt for a versatile Pinot Noir or a snazzy Shiraz. Both of these are typically low in tannin structure. They also have an easy-going palate presence that will sustain and complement a spicy gumbo.
Wines to Cap off a King Cake...
When it comes to sweets, King Cake is the king of Mardi Gras. Despite all of these elements--Delicious brioche-style breads with colorful sugar and frosting, and a wide array of filling options- there is one style of wine that will work with any King Cake recipe. Look no further than a slightly sweet sparkling wine. Stick with sec and demi-sec(meaning sweet) wines like Spanish Cavas with either of those designations or the sweet Moscato d'Asti wines of Italy.