Sparkling wines usually pair very well with a large range of food. And I totally agree, they should not be reserved for aperitive or major festivities. A sparkling wine also holds its ground – and wonderfully so – paired to full menus. Frankly, though, I still love them as aperitive with a nice appetizer or some snacks.
I am totally team quiche (or tart, depending on your preferences). The most famous – Quiche Lorraine originating from the Alsace region in France – is only just the beginning. Starting from a simple base (a blistered pie crust) and a milk/cream and egg base mixture for the filling, nearly everything else can go into it. From vegetables to meats, sausages, cheeses, crab meat, seafood, and spices the possibilities are plenty. The best of all, quiche works on any occasion: as appetizer, starter, main and even for breakfast.
I am also a total fan of crab meat. It is perhaps one of the most delectable seafoods existing. The soft, delicate, and slightly sweet taste of crab meat is hugely unique and quite different from other seafood, although there is a slight resemblance to lobster. In addition, crab meat is rich in protein, essential amino acids, long chain omega-3 fatty acids, and an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.
These delightful mini crab-ricotta quiches are full of flavour and perfect for pairing with sparkling wine. My pick: A Peller Sparkling Ice Cuvee rosé from the Niagara wine region in Ontario, Canada.
Sparkling wines and food
When in doubt, sparkling wines will likely be a good match to your food. They work well with a large range of different foods including raw fish (sushi, sashimi, oysters and ceviche), citrusy and tart foods, egg dishes, soups, a large range of Asia foods, and Middle Eastern food in general.
They are also great matches for slightly sweet foods, such as indeed crab meat.
The Niagara Wine Region
Most famous for the well-known (and bucket list tourist location) Niagara Falls, the Niagara Peninsular about one and a half hours from Toronto is one of Canada’s most burgeoning winegrowing region.
Vineyards are mostly found around the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Niagara Escarpment Area.
Vineyards around Niagara-on-the-Lake benefit from bordering Lake Ontario and the nearby Niagara River, which protect the area from late spring and early autumn frosts and moderate temperatures during the hot summer months.
Many of the regions round about 40 wineries are small, family-owned businesses with small-batch production.
There are however also a couple of larger estates, including the well-known Inniskillin (famed for its large range if Icewine) and of course Peller Estate.
If you want to learn more about the Niagara-on-the-Lake wine region and its wineries, check out my posts Discovering Niagara-on-the-Lake wine country and Your must-do itinerary for Niagara-on-the-Lake.
About Peller Estates
The estate looks back at over 50 years of winemaking, and thus is one of the oldest in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area.
Peller too produces a large range of Icewine but also really excellent still and sparkling wines.
The stately manor house today is home to a wine shop, tasting facilities including a 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 °C) Icewine lounge and various restaurants.
Definitely check the Peller Estates website for wine events, special tasting classes and activities in the vineyards. If you want to spend an interesting day around wine and local food, Peller is definitely one of the best places to look for in the Niagara area.
Tasting Notes: Peller Sparkling Ice Cuvee Rosé
The Ice Cuvee sparkling wines are part of Peller Estates signature series.
Made according to the traditional methode (the same making Champagne with the second fermentation taking place in the bottle), the Sparkling Ice Cuvee Rosé is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir, 26.5% Chardonnay and 3.5% Gamay Noir.
The wine was kept on the lees for 12 months, after which it was disgorged and enriched with a 100 ml dosage of Vidal Icewine. This adds a really unique flavour and particularly enhances the berry character of the Gammay Noir.
In the glass, a soft pink with fine bubbles.
On the nose, clean and fresh with aromas of apricot, raspberry, melon, and cherry.
On the palate, creamy and elegant with flavours of raspberry and white peach, followed by a crisp and refreshing finish with notes of cranberry and white currant.
Best served at around 8-10°C.
Ideal food pairings include young, creamy cheeses, bruschetta, calamari, sushi, or roasted salmon, pork, chicken, or turkey.
Dining on-site at Peller Estate two years ago, I had it with linguine with lobster, a combination I really loved.
Inspired by this memory, and since I only wanted the food to be a side snack, enjoying the Ice Cuvee as aperitive, I decided to pair it with a mini crab-ricotta quiche.
Recipe: Mini crab-ricotta quiches
225 g all-purpose flour
120 g butter, diced
250 g ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
250 g crab meat
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon anchovy essence
juice of half a lemon
salt and cayenne pepper to season
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and butter. Knead together until it takes the consistence of fine breadcrumbs. Slowly add 60 ml of cold water and continue to knead until obtaining a smooth dough. Form into a ball.
On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into four portions. Roll out the dough and line four 10 cm baking tins. Prick various times with a fork and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200°C.
In a bowl, add ricotta, onion, parmesan, and Dijon mustard and carefully combine. Slowly add two eggs and one egg yolk and stir in until fully combined.
Stir in the crab meat, parsley, anchovy essence and lemon juice. Season with salt and cayenne pepper.
Line the four baking tins with parchment paper, fill with baking beans and blind bake for 10 minutes. Remove beans and paper and continue to bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Reduce the temperature of the oven to 180°C.
Fill the tins with the crab-ricotta filling and bake for 20-25 minutes until set and golden-brown.
Serve while still hot.
Let me know if you liked the pairing of the Sparkling Ice Cuvee rosé and crab-ricotta quiche.