Oh the flavors and colors of the holidays. Everything seems to sparkle and glimmer. Even wine has a twinkle to it from lights and candles all around. It’s the time of year when I get the most excited about entertaining. Well, whether it is me doing the entertaining or someone else. I sincerely think food takes on a special accent. It certainly applies to this Apple Cranberry Chutney. Or perhaps it could be the spicy kick from jalapeño peppers.
How do you go about party planning? Are you a big organizer with lists galore? Or throw together what you can at the last minute? I’m a major organizer and list maker. I make lists for lists and lists of lists. It sounds crazy yet it is what works for me. So let me go ahead and share what I think are essential basics: wine, cheese, and crackers.
Which wine to choose? I suggest CK Mondavi’s Chardonnay and Scarlet Five. They are wonderful wines and there is a bonus. Between now through the end of 2015, CK Mondavi is offering discounts for cheese and crackers. You can receive $1 off one Simply Gourmet cheese and $1 off Valley Lahvosh Stars Crackers (look for tags on the bottles).
How to brighten up cheese and crackers? Serve it with Apple Cranberry Chutney. It is marvelous on top of soft cheeses like brie, cream cheese, or Simply Gourmet Cremd’or. Together they are creamy, crunchy, sweet, spicy, and fruity. It’s a tasty combo for sure.
A few notes on the wines. The CK Mondavi 2014 Chardonnay is medium-bodied with citrus aromas. The flavors of pear and apple pair perfectly with the chutney. CK Mondavi’s 2015 Scarlet Five is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 13% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Malbec. It’s a full-bodied wine with flavors of black cherries and plums. It has a soft and balanced finish.
Apple Cranberry Chutney has lots of flavor and warm spices. Tart apples simmer with fresh cranberries, onion, golden raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Then jalapeño peppers join in the mix. Let it cool and stir in toasted pecans for crunch. Try not to eat it all right then and there. Use it for your cheese tray or to go with turkey or honey cola baked ham. It’s a great spread or filling for sandwiches too.
What is your favorite kind of chutney? I’m inspired to make different ones now. There are so many choices. It is difficult to pin down which one to do next. Decisions, decisions…
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
- 2 large tart apples, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ½ firmly packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon mace or ground nutmeg
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
- ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
- Combine granulated sugar and water to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.
- Add cranberries, apples, onion, raisins, brown sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and mace. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- It should stay at a fast simmer (or low boil) while cooking. Adjust heat slightly as needed to maintain fast simmer. Do not let it get to a hard boil.
- Remove from heat and stir in jalapeños. Cool to room temperature.
- Stir in pecans. Serve immediately warm or chill and serve cold.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home Cranberry-Apple Chutney.
Disclosure: I received two bottles of CK Mondavi wine, cheese, and crackers at no charge. I was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions are my own unless otherwise stated or contained within a guest post.