For Christians all over the world the season of Lent begins tomorrow. As Lent is a season of quiet contemplation, atonement and self-sacrifice in preparation for Easter, Shrove Tuesday (aka Fat Tuesday) is a day of indulgence. Though the understanding of Shrove Tuesday comes from the word “shrive” meaning to confess and receive absolution, it is also synonymous with food, drink and parties.
The idea of Shrove Tuesday began in medieval times. Since many forms of the Christian tradition restrict fatty foods such as milk, eggs, meat during Lent the idea of Shrove Tuesday was to have a big celebration to use up all of those food the day before Lent so they would not go to waste. It was during this time the English began eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. In France the pre-Lenten celebration was extended from one day to three days, beginning the Sunday prior to Ash Wednesday, known as Mardi Gras; culminating in a huge celebration known as “Fat Tuesday.” Eastern Europeans welcomed Lent with a Carnival that included parades, masks, practical jokes and costumes. As Christianity spread to the Americas various pre-Lenten celebrations amalgamated into our modern understanding of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Carnival in Rio De Janiero and Christians all over the world consuming pancakes!
I typically prepare pancakes for dinner each year on Shrove Tuesday. Additionally, I often buy a King Cake for us to share. The King Cake, named after the 3 Kings or Maji, has its own fascinating history of popular religion dating back centuries. Some countries celebrate with the King Cake on January 6, the beginning of the season of Epiphany; others celebrate at the end of Epiphany, Shrove Tuesday, with the King Cake. Traditionally, the King Cake is a round, cinnamon dough Danish, hollow in the middle, covered in purple, green and gold icing with a plastic baby (representing the Baby Jesus) hidden somewhere inside. Whoever gets the slice with the plastic baby is believed to be blessed with prosperity and is also responsible for hosting the next year’s Mardi Gras party. King Cakes are prominent in New Orleans’s Mardi Gras, often seen as much more important than even the parades.
This year I did not purchase a King Cake; however, we did enjoy a delicious pancake dinner. In preparation for our pancake dinner I had to do some important research: What wine to pair with pancakes? Champagne seemed like my first guess, or even a sweet Riesling, Gewürztraminer, or Chenin Blanc. However, the overwhelming recommendation to pair with sweet pancakes was Moscato d’Asti. After researching Moscatos this was the wine I chose:
Villa Lanata Moscato d’Asti DOCG: This wine poured an effervescent gold into the glass and opened with a dazzling bouquet of fresh cut flower, stone fruit, citrus and a hint of tropical fruit. On the palate this crisp, refreshing wine offered sweet flavors of apricots, peaches, lemon custard, fresh pineapple frozen yogurt and fresh flowers such as honeysuckle and sweet alyssum. It offered a crisp, clean texture that was light yet quite sweet with mild acidity and a clean finish. This wine was crafted from 100% Muscat grapes in the Piedmonte region of Italy. For those who prefer sweet wines this one was a winner and for those times when the meal dictates a sweet wine this Moscato would provide an excellent pairing. Furthermore, at only 5.5% alcohol you could sip this wine all day! SRP $15.99; available at Total Wine.
I paired the Moscato with Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes with Caramelized Apples from Food and Wine Magazine. First of all the pancakes were delicious and my family thoroughly enjoyed them. I definitely recommend this recipe for light and flavorful pancakes; you can find the recipe on my Pinterest recipe page. Second, the wine was an excellent accompaniment to the pancakes. Though the cakes themselves were not sweet the caramelized apples and maple syrup certainly sweetened up the dish. Additionally, I added Applegate Farms chicken and maple sausage links as a side to the pancakes and the wine paired equally well with the salty/sweet sausages. Overall, this could have quite possibly been our most delicious Shrove Tuesday yet. And my son much preferred the meal over last year’s Buckwheat Pancake dinner!
If you are looking for a wine to pair with brunch or any special occasion that includes particularly sweet foods in addition to sparkling wine why not try a Moscato d’Asti? I think you will enjoy it. What wine do you pair with pancakes?
My Song Selection: Since Shrove Tuesday is a day of indulgence, parades, costumes and parties before Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent begins I decided to pair a fun party song with the fun Moscato d’Asti. Groove is in the Heart by Deee-Lite is as effervescent and full of flavor as the Villa Lanata Moscato d’Asti; a perfect pairing.
Get your own bottle of Villa Lanata Moscato d’Asti and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!