Read below as Debi Kinney, our Director of Sales in Las Vegas, highlights her favorite Fall food pairings to enjoy this season.
When I think of Fall, I think of apples, pears and yes – pumpkin spice everything! As hosts to exceptional experiences throughout the year, CSI DMC is no stranger to menu pairings and elevated dining opportunities. For me, Fall is one of the most exciting seasons to have fun with menus. Autumn brings with it comfort, warmth, and sweater weather, and from a culinary standpoint, it brings a unique opportunity to blend nostalgia and adventure.
Because nothing we do in the DMC world is stand alone, I want to take this opportunity to point out some perfect pairings for your next gathering – personal or professional.
One of my favorite combinations in the Fall is sliced pear topped with blue cheese then wrapped with prosciutto. The combination of creamy, salty and sweet notes combined from all three elements is a flavor burst with a soft finish. These treats can be prepped as small bites and tray passed as hors d’oeuvres, or plated and served as a first course atop some arugula tossed lightly with oil and vinegar for a light and satisfying salad option.
A little more outside the norm, a great way to embrace fall produce with a twist is to introduce pumpkin. One of my go-to dishes is sautéed pumpkin with onions, apples, and chicken sausage. Pumpkin is a fun and unique switch out for butternut squash in this dish, and it creates a harvest meal that is delicious and nutritious. Surprise and delight your guests at your next gathering with this fun fall find.
If you want to get “wild” (pun intended), whip up a batch of elk chili. This is a family favorite for me, something my dad made often when I was growing up. Elk is a leaner meat to bring to the table while enhancing the flavor profile of the chili more than traditional hamburger or steak does, while also steering away from its gamier relative, venison. I prefer to batch mine in a slow cooker, freezing half for a later date. For a larger affair, a chili bar with fun and interesting toppings can create an active and memorable station where guests can gather, mingle, and experiment.
For dessert, which I am never one to miss, I love using butterscotch. It has a rich flavor and pairs well with both bitter and savory partners such as chocolate, apples and even bacon! Have fun with this ingredient at your next event by mixing and matching it with flavorful counterparts. Butterscotch is a beautiful departure from caramel, salted caramel and vanilla – and releases a warm flavor that enhances even cocktails!
Speaking of which, I would be remiss if I did not mention the festive cocktails that make me “fall” in love with autumn. Warm apple cider, spiked with a spiced rum, certainly brings the season to a celebratory start. For the wine lovers out there, consider an autumn sangria that features cinnamon sticks, apples, and pomegranate seeds. This is easy to batch for an event and is budget friendly, too. Pumpkin ales abound this time of year but it can be hard for folks to commit to. Consider a tasting flight of light to dark beers starring pumpkin and other fall flavors at your next event so guests can taste various seasonal options. They will thank you for the exposure to new and different twists on their traditional beverages of choice.
They say food is the ingredient that binds us together, so I encourage you to welcome Fall with the above options at your autumn gatherings!