The holiday season is easily a culinary enthusiast’s favorite time of the year, with numerous parties to plan and guests to entertain. Before diving into all the preparation for the festivities next week, take the time to savor a deliciously chilled Chardonnay and let it help inspire next week’s holiday menu.

Chardonnay wines can be anywhere from light and crisp to dry and bold depending on the region where the grapes are grown, the grape harvest and numerous other factors that can affect the flavor of the fruit. This versatile wine goes well with a wide range of spices, flavors and delectable treats. The best cheese and nut combination to serve with a crisp glass of Chardonnay is creamy Brie and salty almonds. The perfect wine glass for serving Chardonnay has a wide bowl and a slightly tapered top.

Whether you are serving seafood, meat, fresh produce or dessert you will find that Chardonnay perfectly pairs with a wide range of options and that it is a wonderful choice for a festive holiday meal.

If you are interested in trying some unconventional recipes for the holidays this year, consider this creamy Halibut dip as a pre-cursor to the main dish of the evening.

Alaskan Halibut is world-renowned and prized by connoisseurs everywhere and this delicious spread makes a surprisingly pleasing addition to the appetizer portion of any holiday event.

This recipe makes about 2 ½ cups

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion – minced
2 garlic cloves – minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 8-oz halibut filler, cut into ½-inch thick slices
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup fresh breadcrumbs made from white bread
½ cup sour cream
1 Serrano Chile – minced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro – minced
Fresh cilantro sprigs

Preheat your Thermador oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat the oil in a heavy, medium, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until it turns tender and golden. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Arrange the halibut slices in a single layer on top of the onion and garlic mixture and add more salt and pepper. Spread the mayonnaise over the halibut and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake the fish until it is fully cooked through – about ten minutes. Transfer the mixture into a serving bowl, cool, and then refrigerate until chilled. Stir the mixture with a fork and add in the sour cream, Serrano Chile and minced cilantro. Make sure to break up the fish well. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and garnish with cilantro sprigs. This dip can be prepared up to one day ahead of your event, as long as it is properly covered and refrigerated. Serve this delicious and creamy spread with bread, crackers, raw vegetables and a crisp Chardonnay and your guests will surely be begging for more!