Food & Wine

Walnut and Wine Pairings

December 19, 2012

When I was initially approached about doing a post on California walnuts I
wondered if it was a good fit. After all, the proposed idea was that I make a
walnut recipe and write about that. Those that know me are fully aware
that I am quite possibly the world’s worst cook and that Shawn is the one who
makes most of our meals. When I mentioned it to him his reaction was simple –
‘Go ahead, as long as YOU make this recipe.’ So I confirmed that they didn’t
mind that I wanted to do my post as a wine and walnut pairing and decided to
take the plunge.

Walnuts are a staple in our kitchen, so I figured this was a
good fit for our family. They’re a nutrition powerhouse and they’re super tasty, so
it’s a win-win. Shawn uses them in our salads all the time and they make a great quick and easy snack. 
When I received the recipes to choose
from, I was relieved to see that many of them looked super easy. I decided to
make the Cajun-Spiced California Walnuts (click the link for the recipe)
and the Maple Candied Walnuts.
They seemed like good, healthy snack options and I figured if they turned out
well I could whip up a batch for our New Year’s Eve party.
So what was the result? Well, turns out that both recipes
were actually as easy as they look – I managed to make both batches in less
than an hour and the results were tasty! These are both recipes that I would
make again and that I’d happily serve at our holiday party. These could even
make a fun and affordable homemade gift if you created some pretty packaging.
Now, for the wine pairings! As most of my readers know, I’m
a confirmed wine newbie. I don’t claim to have any expertise with wine. And other than a growing passion for all things vino and a desire to learn
everything I can, I’m still finding my way. That said, I’m really excited to try
to pick some pairing options and I hope you don’t hold it against me if they aren’t perfect – I bet there are many actual experts who would be
happy to help if these ones don’t work out. In fact, I know John Szabo’s Pairing Food and Wine for Dummies is
available in bookstores now for just that purpose.
So here are my picks:
Cajun-Spiced California Walnuts paired with Huff Estates 2011 Off-Dry Riesling, Sandbanks 2010 Shoreline White or Vineland Estates 2010 Semi-Dry Riesling. I think a white Riesling, with a little sweetness would go well with
this spicy, salty snack.
Maple Candied Walnuts paired with DiProfio 2010 Late Harvest Vidal or Karlo Estates 2009 Van Alstine Port. 
I think a very nice dessert wine would be a good balance with these
sweet treats.
I’d love it if you’d share your own thoughts on what to pair
with these snacks – I know there are some of you who are food and wine pairing
For more great holiday recipe ideas using California walnuts you can visit.

Some photos of my cooking adventure:

Mixing the spices
Adding in the California walnuts
Starting to look pretty good

Ready for the oven
The finished Cajun-Spice Walnuts
California Walnuts just waiting to be candied
Stirring in the maple syrup
Adding the sesame seeds

Looking delicious
Ready for the oven
Maple Candied Walnuts finished

The fine print: California Walnuts provided me with the walnuts, the recipes and a gift card with
which to purchase the needed ingredients to make these recipes. All wine referenced is wine that I purchased and none of the
wineries I’ve mentioned are affiliated with California Walnuts – I just think
they’d taste good together. All opinions are 100% my own.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Sandy A December 19, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Great post! I loved how you suggested wine pairings to go with walnuts, I'll have to try them out…any excuse for more wine : )

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