Wine gift baskets make excellent offerings for almost any occasion, and most people love receiving them. To make yours extra special, however, don't simply include several bottles of high-quality wine -- tuck in delectable culinary delights designed to complement the specific wines selected. Because wine and food evolved together, the best wine baskets feature regional themes. For instance, cool season grapes such as pinot noir grow best in the Pacific Northwest, so create your gift basket using regional cuisine. Following are four suggestions for inclusion in wine gift baskets featuring pinot noir.
Salmon and pinot noir are a natural pairing. Even though conventional wisdom tells you that white wine is required with seafood, salmon has a robust, complex flavor that overwhelms traditional seafood wine choices such as chablis and chardonnay. Pinot noir's light, silky texture is perfect with any salmon entree or appetizer. Salmon pate spread on water crackers enjoyed with a glass of pinot noir makes an excellent beginning to any meal.
Like wild salmon, hazelnuts are a staple of Pacific Northwest cuisine. They can be purchased roasted or plain, and either type tastes delicious when served with a smooth glass of pinot noir before dinner. Crushed hazelnuts can also be used to create a breading for pan fried salmon or roast chicken to create an ideal entree for savoring the rest of the bottle.
The coastal community of Tillamook in Oregon has long been renowned for the creation of gourmet-quality cheeses. Wedges of Tillamook cheddar cheese with slices of ripe apples and pears makes a perfect appetizer platter for pairing with pinot noir. Wine, cheese, and fruit are also quintessential picnic fare, so consider using a classic picnic hamper in the creation of your wine gift basket. If you throw in a couple of glasses and a traditional checkered tablecloth to spread over the ground, the recipients will be all set for a sunny afternoon picnic.
Blueberries, blackberries, huckleberries, and marionberries all grow in abundance in the Pacific Northwest. The preserves can be spread on water crackers and served as an after dinner treat with a glass of pinot noir as an alternative to heavier desserts. Creative cooks can also use preserves mixed with wine to craft delectable appetizers such as blackberry and pinot noir glazed meatballs.
The important thing to keep in mind when creating a wine gift basket is to remain within the boundaries of your selected theme by choosing food items that pair well with the featured wines.