Prep the fireworks, fire up the grill, and pop the cork — Fourth of July is a perfect reason to party. The most patriotic way to celebrate the birth of our nation is with a menu of all-American classics paired with wines made in Pennsylvania. Not only was our state the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, it was also home to some of the nation’s first experiments in viticulture. Check out our suggestions and get cooking!
Classic Backyard Burger paired with Chambourcin
The gourmet burger is everywhere, bombed with blue cheese, avocado, and foie gras, but sometimes the original is all you need. Keep things timeless with a fresh potato bun (Martin’s is a favorite and it’s a Pennsylvania company), a slab of summer tomato, some crisp lettuce, a slice of cheese, and a squirt of ketchup. A swipe of mayo and pickles are also allowed. Pair your simple masterpiece with a glass of fruity, unoaked Chambourcin. This red wine tastes delicious with a bit of chill on it — a dreamy summer option — and will accentuate the earthiness of the beef along with the bright acidity of the tomato.
Raw Oysters paired with Sparkling Vidal Blanc
Believe it or not, oysters are a quintessential American ingredient. Before overharvesting took its toll, East Coast harbors and ports teemed with oyster beds. During the early Republic, everyone ate these briney mollusks — from laborers on the street to high society barons. Tap into that grand tradition with a platter of raw (or grilled!) oysters on the half-shell. Serve them up with their two trusty sidekicks: lemon wedges and a bottle of bubbly. A sparkling Vidal Blanc, with its powerful citrus notes, will balance out the salinity of the seafood while also underlining the oysters’ natural sweetness. Plus, you get to pop a cork — which officially makes it a party!
Fried Cheese Curds paired with Riesling
Here’s to a little indulgence on this holiday weekend. Fresh, salty curds are even better when battered, fried, and served with the creamy dipping sauce of your choice. This dish perfectly captures the spirit of every state fair and carnival midway you’ve ever strolled down. A snack this rich calls for a bright, bold wine that can hold its own. Riesling, bursting with notes of citrus, green apple, and cut green grass, is a marvelous choice thanks to its enticing blend of acidity and residual sugar.
Grilled Corn on the Cob paired with Albariño
Nothing screams summer in the eastern United States louder than sweet corn. Buy it by the bushel at your local farmstand and try to eat it within hours to maximize the crisp pop of the kernels. While you can never go wrong with popping the ears in boiling, salted water for three to four minutes, there’s an even easier option: Skip the shucking and throw them on the grill for a bit of char and smoke. Hot tip: designate a stick of butter strictly for corn rolling, allowing all your happy guests to get full coverage. Serve this seasonal mainstay with an austere white — you don’t want anything distracting from the ears’ natural sweetness. Albariño is an ideal foil, with its notes of wet granite and botanical aromas.
Lobster Roll paired with Dry Rosé
Lobster has a bit of a rep as a snooty ingredient, but toss it with some mayo and celery (and lemon zest), stuff it in a split hot dog bun, and it’s ready for the most casual of backyard shindigs. That’s not to say your guests won’t be surprised and delighted by your splurge — we bet these classic seaside sandwiches disappear first. To go with the theme of unpretentious glamour, open a few bottles of dry Pennsylvania rosé. Look for a style with subtle berry notes and serve it chilled.
Apple Pie paired with Steuben
You knew we had to do it. You can’t properly salute American classics without the most iconic of our nation’s homegrown desserts. When pairing your apple pie, look for a wine with some sweetness and some spice character. Steuben is an exciting choice — the hybrid grape is nicknamed “ambrosia” for its hints of honey. Reach for a blush-style wine to experience aromas of cinnamon and fruit. Sound familiar?
When picking out your ingredients, be sure to look for the PA Preferred logo in your local market or grocery store.