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Festive Holiday Recipes: Celebrate the Season with Our Countdown Calendar

Holiday Recipes and Wine Pairings for Every Celebration

Merry everything from your friends at California Wines! The holiday season is all about giving and this collection of holiday recipes and wine pairings is our gift to you. Our Holiday Countdown Calendar features a festive appetizer, dessert, or wine cocktail recipe each day throughout the month of December. Looking for a signature cocktail to carry you through the season? Try the California 75. Need a dreamy dessert to impress the relatives? Whip up a Perfect Pavlova (it’s much easier than you’d think).

December 1

California 75

We can’t think of a better way to start our holiday countdown than with the California 75! This fizzy, fabulous sparkling wine cocktail is the perfect way to celebrate, well….everything! Cheers!

California 75

December 2

Holiday Charcuterie with Chocolate Spread & Muscat

Graze boards are always in style, but even more so during the holiday season. This Holiday Charcuterie with Chocolate Spread from The Delicious features a homemade, healthier take on Nutella that pairs beautifully with Muscat. Prepare to be obsessed.

Holiday Charcuterie

December 3

Toasted Almond, Orange and Olive Oil Cake & Late Harvest Riesling

You know what they say, “A party without cake is just a meeting.” Keep your fête festive (while showcasing some of the Golden State’s fabulous flavors) with a homemade Toasted Almond, Orange and Olive Oil Cake. Enhance the subtle sweetness of this delicious dessert with a late harvest Riesling.

Olive Oil Cake

December 4

Charcuterie Wreath with Cabernet Sauvignon

Heading to a holiday get together? Switch up your appetizer game.  No recipe needed here – use your favorite colorful winter fruits, California cheeses and edible flowers to create your own holiday Charcuterie Wreath. Don’t forget the bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon – it’s always a hit at holiday gatherings.

Charcuterie Holiday Wreath

December 5

Girl & The Fig Olive Relish

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! Girl & The Fig is a Sonoma foodie destination known for their creative use of local produce. Our take on the classic Girl & The Fig Olive Relish ups the holiday vibes with a twist of citrus and a touch of rosemary. A lighter red, like California Grenache, will complement the sweet and salty notes without overpowering them.

Olive Relish

December 6

Red Wine Chocolate Snack Cake with Cabernet Sauvignon

Did someone say “snack cake”? Red Wine Chocolate Snack Cake from Food and Wine is equally appropriate for afternoon snacking and midnight munching. Or breakfast…if that’s how you roll.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

December 7

Fresh Pear Fritters Ginger Sugar & Dolce

Aida from Salt and Wind describes these Fresh Pear Fritters with Ginger Sugar as “filled with ginger and spice and all things nice” – which basically makes them the perfect holiday treat. Pour yourself a glass of Dolce and enjoy!

Pear Fritters

December 8

West Coast Warm Winter Wine

Chilly nights call for warm drinks by the fire. West Coast Warm Winter Wine from KC at G-Free Foodie checks all the right boxes.

Warm Winter Wine

December 9

Seasonal Cheese Board & Sauvignon Blanc

Party tips from the hostess with the mostest, Aida Mollenkamp? Yes, please! Aida from Salt and Wind shares how to create a gorgeous seasonal cheese board and what wines to serve with it.  Spoiler alert- when you’re serving an assortment of cheeses, Sauvignon Blanc is always a safe bet!

Seasonal Cheese Board

December 10

Apple Bacon Toma Stacks with Pinot Noir

Last minute invite? These Apple Bacon Toma Stacks are easily assembled in well under a half hour. Which leaves you plenty of time to agonize over exactly which Pinot Noir pairs best with the grassy flavors in the Toma cheese.

Apple Bacon Stacks

December 11

Brown Butter Parmesan Popcorn & Chardonnay

We’re big fans of a good hi-low pairing. Serve this Brown Butter Parmesan Popcorn with Chardonnay for a casual (but classy) holiday snack.

Holiday Popcorn

December 12

Smashed Green Olive and Burrata Bruschetta & Chardonnay

Everyone loves an easy, make-ahead appetizer! Salt and Wind’s Smashed Green Olive and Burrata Bruschetta is super simple but full of deep, earthy flavors that will compliment your favorite California Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.

Green Olive Bruschetta

December 13

Roasted Rosemary Nut Mix

Not to brag, but we’ve come up with the perfect hostess gift – our friend Alison’s Roasted Rosemary Nut Mix + a bottle of California Cabernet Sauvignon. Take our advice and make a double batch – one for gifting and one for grazing.

Holiday Recipe Roasted Rosemary Nut Mix

December 14

Pepper Jack Puff Pastry Bites

Ready for the easiest appetizer ever? Introducing Pepper Jack Puff Pastry Bites. If you’ve got about 15 minutes and three simple ingredients, you can whip together this simple + delicious snack. Less time in the kitchen means more time sipping on your favorite Zinfandel, and we’re here for that.

Holiday Recipe Pepper Jack Puff Pastry Bites

December 15

Charcuterie Board with Pinot Prune Jam & Pinot Noir

Take your charcuterie board to the next level with Pinot Prune Jam from The Delicious Life! Spread over aged cheese, or dunk fresh fruit into this delectable dip. Serve with Pinot Noir. After all, you’ll want to finish off the bottle you used to make the jam.

Holiday Recipe Charcuterie Board

December 16

Red Wine Chocolate Sauce made with Merlot

Listen up folks. If there’s ever a time to go all out with rich indulgent foods, this is it. Drizzle this Red Wine Chocolate Sauce on top of cake, ice cream, or even fresh winter fruits – and serve with a glass of your favorite California red blend. 

Holiday Recipe Red Wine Chocolate Sauce

December 17

Pomegranate, Brie and Apple Flatbread & Sparkling Wine

Locally grown, seasonal produce elevates even the simplest snacks. Case in point: our Pomegranate, Brie and Apple Flatbread. Serve these sweet stacks with a glass (or two) of California sparkling wine.

Holiday Recipe Pomegranate Brie and Apple Flatbread

December 18

Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread

This Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread is destined to be the most popular appetizer at your holiday bash. All that cheesy deliciousness will work perfectly with a Chardonnay (which happens to be California’s most popular varietal). Coincidence? We think not.

Holiday Recipe Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread

December 19

Almond Cheddar Crackers

The best holiday celebrations should include two very important things: great wines and tasty nibbles. Almond Cheddar Crackers are perfect for mindless munching and pair beautifully with your favorite California red blend or Zinfandel.

Holiday Recipe Almond Cheddar Crackers

December 20

Red Apple Sangria

Cheers to National Sangria Day! This Red Apple Sangria tastes as good as it looks! And it’s perfect for your holiday party or happy hour.

Holiday Recipe Red Apple Sangria

December 21

Spiced Pear and Walnut Dutch Baby & Sparkling Wine

Hosting a holiday brunch? We’ve got you covered! Serve Baking the Goods’ Spiced Pear and Walnut Dutch Baby with a bottle of bubbly for an easy and elegant pairing.

Holiday Recipe Pear and Walnut Dutch Baby

December 22

Shabbat Coffee Cake with Red Wine Soaked Prunes & Red Blend

You could serve this Shabbat Coffee Cake from Food Network with coffee, but a California red blend makes the rich caramel flavors sing.

Holiday Recipe Shabbat Coffee Cake

December 23

Drunken Pear Gingerbread with Mulled Wine

Remember the “turducken”? Consider this the dessert version. Poached pear and gingerbread are both holiday classics. Our friends at Broma Bakery had the brilliant idea to nestle poached pears inside of a loaf of gingerbread. And just like that, your new festive favorite, Drunken Pear Gingerbread was created. 

Serve with a batch of Mulled Wine – it will mirror the warming spices of the gingerbread

Holiday Recipe Pear Gingerbread

December 24

Chocolate Red Wine Cookies

Not sure if you made the “nice list”? Jesse Szewczck’s Chocolate Red Wine Cookies should help tip the scales. PS – You might want to leave out a bottle of Merlot, too. We hear it’s the Big Guy’s favorite.

Holiday Recipe Chocolate Red wine cookie

December 25

Red Wine Hot Chocolate

Merry Christmas! After all of the presents are unwrapped, kick back and relax with a glass of Red Wine Hot Chocolate. Sorry kids, this one’s adults only.

Holiday Recipe Red Wine Hot Chocolate

December 26

Cheese Wheel Cake & Sparkling Wine

Not a baker? Not a problem. No recipe needed here to create a cheese wheel “cake”. Stack cheese rounds, then adorn your creation with fresh fruit, nuts and flowers (California Grown, of course). No matter what toppings and cheeses you choose, they’ll all pair perfectly with California sparkling wine.

Holiday Recipe Cheese Wheel Cake & Sparkling Wine

December 27

Caramelized Pear and Pastry Cream Tart & Riesling

There’s a reason that this Caramelized Pear and Pastry Cream Tart is consistently one of our most popular recipes – it’s pure perfection. Serve with California Riesling and brace yourself for copious compliments.

Holiday Recipe Caramelized Pear Tart

December 28

Gougères with Pimento Cheese

Our friend Cheryl at Bakes by Brown Sugar shared this recipe for this Gougères with Pimento Cheese and it’s safe to say we’re obsessed. Hint: she also says it would be the perfect addition to your Kwanzaa feast…

Holiday Recipe Pate A Choux

December 29

Perfect Pavlova with Zinfandel

Want to impress your guests? Whip up our Perfect Pavlova, a recipe inspired by the masterminds behind Cooks with Cocktails. Topped an irresistible red wine sauce + seasonal winter fruit, this dessert is impossibly light but also delectably decadent. Serve with a California Zinfandel.

Holiday Recipe Pavlova

December 30

Coconut Mango Cake

Kwanzaa is, at heart, a celebration of community, and our friend Cheryl’s Coconut Mango Cake is the perfect dessert to share with your loved ones!

Holiday Recipe Coconut Mango Cake

December 31

Raspberry Port Sparkler

Cheers to 2023! Ring in the New Year with a Raspberry Port Sparkler!

Raspberry Port Sparkler

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