The 2023 harvest is in full swing here in the Okanagan, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, providing us with an opportunity to reflect on the past year's blessings.
In South Korea, my home country, we also celebrate Thanksgiving, known as ‘Chuseok,’ which is significant in our culture.
Following the lunar calendar, this three-day holiday coincides with the Chinese mid-Autumn Festival and happens to fall on this weekend this year. Families gather to admire the full moon in the night sky and express gratitude to their ancestors for the bountiful harvest; as with any holiday, food and drink take centre stage.
Fond childhood memories related to Chuseok include making ‘Songpyeon,’ half-moon-shaped rice cakes, on the eve of Chuseok, savouring ‘Japchae,’ a dish made from sweet potato starch noodles and various vegetables and meat, enjoying ‘Jeon,’ a lightly pan-fried fritter of sliced vegetables, fish or meat, and relishing ‘Galbijjim,’ a personal favourite dish of braised beef ribs with soy sauce.
These dishes are commonly enjoyed with Korean rice wine or soju back home. Still, I like to pair Songpyeon with an off-dry riesling, Japchae with fresh and crisp sauvignon blanc or grüner veltliner, Jeon with lively sparkling wine, and Galbijjim with a juicy merlot or syrah.
This Thanksgiving, my family and I are celebrating a 'Friendsgiving.' We've come to appreciate that home is where the heart is; for us, that is here, with friends like family. Like many gatherings of this type, it will feature a potluck dinner with traditional Thanksgiving dishes like turkey but will also include unique twists thanks to greater access to and appreciation of diverse cuisines from around the world.
Whether you're enjoying a feast at home with your loved ones or dining at your favourite restaurant, Thanksgiving is a time to consider the journey we've been on and celebrate what we have. And when it comes to wine pairings, versatility is vital.
To help you make the most of your Thanksgiving, we've compiled a list of the Top Ten wines to pair with your feast. Whether you prefer red, white, or sparkling, there's something to suit every palate. This year, let's raise a glass to gratitude, unity, and the rich tapestry of traditions that make Thanksgiving special.