There are many special foods and traditions associated with the Easter celebration.
The beautifully decorated egg is perhaps the most recognizable. The egg is a symbol of rejuvenation and rebirth and in some Christian traditions, eggs were not to be eaten during the Lenten season. At the end of Lent, hard cooked eggs were brought to the table in much anticipated celebration. They were often painted red to symbolize the Easter joy.
Pairing wine with egg dishes isn’t as difficult as some experts would have us believe. It isn’t the egg’s flavor per se, but the runny yolk that supposedly destroys the texture and flavor of wine. White wines are good matches for green salads topped with hard-cooked egg or tuna salad studded with diced hard cooked eggs.
- 2013 Domaine Bousquet Torrontes/Chardonnay, Argentina (about $13 retail)
- 2013 Michael David Winery Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $17 retail)
There are many explanations why meats such as ham and lamb are often the centerpieces of our Easter menus. Some food historians say meats are symbolic of luck and abundance, and others suggest it is simple practicality of timing. Ham’s arrival at the Easter table is a good example. Hogs were slaughtered in the fall, then cured and smoked. The process took five to six months, with hams being ready just in time for Easter.
Ham can be an easy wine pairing when salt is the main flavoring. Wines love pairing with salt and can make almost any food match. But when sweet glazes are added, the match up gets trickier.
For pairing with sweet-glazed ham, consider wines without overpowering tannins or moderately acidic whites.
- 2012 Echelon PinotNoir, California (about $15 retail)
- 2011 Presqu’ile Pinot Noir, California (about $49 retail)
Lamb’s popularity is likely more symbolic of the holiday, and is in many places the main dish of the Easter Sunday meal.
A simple preparation offers a mild flavor that easily pairs with light-bodied red wines but adding heavy spices or sauces creates a rich, robust and earthy taste.
- 2009 Chapillon Cuvee Paul Grenache, Spain (about $15 retail)
- 2013 Stepping Stone Cabernet Franc, California (about $48 retail)