Thanksgiving is all about family gatherings and home-cooked meals. This year, why not try to incorporate a local selection of fresh vegetables, meats and wines into your dinner?
We talked to Canadian chef Lynn Crawford about the importance of eating local and got some of her recommendations on ways you can create the tastiest Thanksgiving dinner (avec wine!).
"When we are celebrating a harvest season and building a menu that celebrates local ingredients, food isn’t the only consideration. Wine selection is an integral part of the mix," she says. "Seek out local farmer’s markets within your city where you can buy top-quality farm-fresh products directly from the person who produced them -- and you can often find products you might not find anywhere else."
"People should enjoy the cooking process from start to finish. I suggest people stick with what they know and feel comfortable with, then slowly push the envelope."
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"Don’t let food sit in the fridge -- buy fresh produce as and when you need it and cook right away with it. When a fruit or vegetable first appears, you’ll end up paying a higher price for it, but if you're able to buy it a few weeks later, when most vendors are selling it, you’ll likely find it's more competitively priced."
Here are Crawford's recommendations for food and wine items for fall. She worked with Inniskillin’s Winemaker Bruce Nicholson and Chef David Penny.
Check out Crawford's favourite wines and Thanksgiving meals.
This pumpkin sticky toffee pudding recipe is a great way to replace traditional pumpkin pie at a fall dessert table.
This recipe may not be a traditional holiday dish, but squash is definitely a traditional fall vegetable. This recipe is also an alternative side dish if your guests or family members are vegetarians.
If you want to get creative for dinner, why not try an alternative meat to turkey. Pork chops dressed with apples is delicious combination for fall.
Side salads are a great replacement option if you're trying to keep your dinner side dishes healthy.
An oak aged Chardonnay pairs well with a hearty steak or roast beef, according to Crawford.
If you are serving a traditional turkey meal this Thanksgiving, Crawford suggests Inniskillin's VQA Pinot Noir red wine or Inniskillin's VQA Late Autumn Riesling for white wine.
Another local wine favourite is Inniskillin's Pinot Noir that pairs well with chicken or turkey.
"I also enjoy Inniskillin's Classic Riesling Icewine for its crisp, refined citrus aromas and flavours. The perfect finish to any local Thanksgiving feast," Crawford says.
Lynn Crawford is a Canadian celebrity chef and owner of Toronto's Ruby Watchco restaurant. With over 26 years of experience, Crawford has appeared on the Food Network's "Restaurant Makeover" and was formally the executive Chef of the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto and New York City.