A Bittersweet Goodbye To Our Favorite Cold-Weather Eats
Here in Hunterdon County, where our cozy farmhouse sits beside our rolling vineyards, spring is finally clearly underway – the sun is shining, the temperature is warming and buds are blooming.
Although we love spring as much as any other vineyard team, as food professionals, the change in seasons is also bittersweet. It means the end of winter favorites – comfort foods that pack big flavors and warm the oven, the stomach and the heart.
Throughout the past few weeks, we’ve been making the best of these remaining typical cold-weather ingredients by creating private event dishes such as tuna daube; braised lamb shank in cannellini beans, tomato and lemon zest; pork chops stuffed with serrano ham and Manchego cheese; and stuffed peppers.
A combination of commonalities
Besides being traditional cold-weather dishes, these also have something else in common – they reign from a specific region or country of origin, but they’re still comfort foods enjoyed by many. Especially us – we love meals like this, especially with a wood fire in the tavern room and one of our older wines poured in accompaniment!
So why is that? Although the food is often simple – and simply beloved – the reasons are a bit more nuanced.
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There’s the obvious – many cold-weather dishes take longer to cook, resulting in a warmer home for a few hours! Plus, the concentrated, rich, and filling flavors from these dishes are just what we all need after a long, chilly day. Also, some of their ingredients are more readily available during the colder months, such as root vegetables or preserved fruits and vegetables.
A memory for the taste buds
But, there’s more than that.
Many people look forward to the winter holidays all year long, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter and Passover. Although many of the other holidays throughout the year feature casual get-togethers, these winter holidays are relished time to spend with family, some of whom we don’t see at any other time of the year.
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So, to many – and especially to foodies – the cold-weather dishes served at these holidays stick out in both our memories and taste buds all year long, sparking warm memories that go far beyond the taste of a perfectly-cooked ham.
Throughout the next few weeks – or maybe days, depending on the weather! – relish these timeless comfort dishes in your own kitchen or with us at Mount Salem Kitchen before we bid them goodbye for a few more months.