Being included in a Sunday night family dinner is a great thing. It was a quiet rainy weekend; just me, the dog and the cat. Rain was bucketing down, so I stayed in, got a lot of writing done and some Christmas presents finished. I even made progress on some of my reading backlog - pretty much a perfect weekend (which included many cups of tea). By Sunday night, I was ready for welcoming the Holiday Season. The rain had let up a bit and as I drove, I saw that Christmas lights have appeared to brighten up the early nights on these short almost-winter days.
While the finishing touches were put on dinner, we started with white wine and a tin of wasabi peanuts. Then we moved on to prosecco with our pasta with pesto, Caesar Salad, grilled skirt steak and fresh crusty bread. Prosecco is a festive, welcome addition to any table (well, any table that I am at). As soon as we finished eating, K announced that we'd have dessert and port in the living room by the fire. I smiled and was glad that I had my blackberry, because in my world, drinks + an open fire = a blog post.
Quinta do Noval Black Port from the Duro Valley of Northern Portugal is what I always imagined port to be: a rich drink that a man would sip while sitting by the fire smoking a cigar. I think that I stereotype way too much, but a sleek modern bottle of this pedigreed libation (drink newly bottled, but the property that produced this port has been around since 1715) would not be out of place in a mahogany library in a stately home, or even in the farmhouse kitchen of my daydreams. Although I am partial to Tawny Port, a sweeter, golden version of port, this Ruby Port was like a rich, smooth red wine. It is fruity, fresh but thick/substantial, and not too sweet. It is 19.5 ETOH though, so don't let the smoothness seduce you. It'll pack a punch. The pastries from Leonetti's were terrific (even of I was dusted/covered by chocolate powder upon biting into a tiramisu square), and the dark chocolate dipped cannoli went really well with the rich plum fruitiness and chocolate undertones of this port. I say skip the imaginary cigars and nibble a piece really good dark chocolate while sipping this port, it is delicious.
As we sat, chatted and sipped, MEH and I played chess. The conversation around us went from driving time to Philadelphia to baking Christmas cookies. Results: I may have volunteered to make Springerle Christmas Cookies; JPH now holds the (legal) land speed record from Philly to Long Island (his father contested - but S. corroborated and the torch was begrudgingly passed); I hold the land speed record from Boston to Maine (no one contests and it has been verified numerous times by the Maine State Police - oops); and MEH won the chess match (with some coaching from her father). It was a great night and I am firmly now a fan of Ruby Port, it is a great way to end an evening.