Cinco de Mango!
When most people think of Cinco de Mayo, they picture sombreros, margaritas, cervezas and saucy, cheesy dishes served up at their favorite local Mexican restaurant. Corona and limes, spicy food and Latin music rule the day. But one of my favorite hors d’oeuvres to serve on Cinco de Mayo is a big bowl of fresh mango salsa accompanied by homemade tortilla chips and a cold bottle of Gewürztraminer.
Gewürztraminer (guh-VURTZ-trah-mean-er) is a white wine with a bit of a kick, pairing exceptionally well with spicier foods, such as Mexican, Thai, Chinese and curried foods — although its floral bouquet makes it a pleasant choice without food, as well. “Gewürz” means “spicy” in German, but this grape is grown all over the world. I discovered it when I was 17, as it was a favorite varietal of my parents, and wine was also a huge passion for them. These early teachings of successful wine pairing helped guide my palate and my pocketbook thru the maze of appelations, wineries, varietals and vintages, and has given me a real appreciation of when something just “works”.
So on this Cinco de Mayo, I will be serving up a simple Gewürztraminer from Chateau Ste. Michelle, roughly in the $8-12 range, because I happened to pick this up earlier this year on a stop at the winery. However, more notable Gewürztraminer’s are: St. Clair New Mexico ($10) and Foursight Wines of Anderson Valley ($20), a Best of Show and Gold medal winner, respectively, at the 2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
And what to serve with this yummy floral, spicy white wine… a fruity, mildly-spiced salsa, of course! This recipe couldn’t be easier, and really, as long as you have mango, cilantro, tomato and some type of onion, this salsa is going to turn out great. The other ingredients help to balance it all out and add a little bit of zip.
1 cup tomato, seeded & diced
1 cup mango, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
1 Serrano or jalapeno chili, seeded & finely diced
1 tablespoon lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Dash of salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
Mix all of the ingredients into a bowl and allow it to stand in the refrigerator for at least one hour while the flavors blend. Pair this with freshly made tortilla chips, made by dividing round corn tortillas into triangles (a pizza cutter works great for this) and deep-frying them in your oil of choice (I use vegetable or canola oil).
This is a tasty and healthy way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, or any other day of the year! Just remember to keep your eye out for some good Gewürztraminer during your wine buying trips, and buy a couple of bottles so you can also enjoy one the next time you bring home Chinese food. You’ll soon become a fan of this fun, little white wine, and have a little fun saying it, too. Enjoy!