One of the oldest traditions of New Years Day is to eat lentils. My aunt Fanny used to say that one has to eat them during the first minutes of 2015, but if you have them during the following day it is fine too.
As a child, I can’t remember a New Year’s day without my family serving lentil soup. I also remember my grandmother passing out a hot bowl of lentil soup on New Year’s Eve for good luck.
I did some research and I found that almost every country incorporates some type of good luck food for New Year’s Day. Since my ancestors are Italian and Venezuelan, I was very interested in what they ate. Lentils were eaten as a symbol of good luck and prosperity. Lentils are green and resemble money.
“Of all the legumes, lentil is more frequently mentioned in Greek and Roman literature,” writes Kimberly B. Flint-Hamilton in Legumes in Ancient Greece and Rome: Food, Medicine, or Poison? Lentils were a common food item in the ancient Mediterranean world, and would have been a common staple, especially in lower-income families. When I peer at the contents of my daughter’s piggy bank, lentils do not spring to mind, but if you consider the shape of ancient Roman coins—irreguarly round, often with a brownish patina—the connection between lentils and good fortune makes a lot more sense.
To this day, all over Italy, people welcome in the New Year with various lentil dishes (“It wouldn’t be New Year’s in Italy without lentils an, and the tradition endures in Italian-American families. One such dish is cotechino con lenticchie. Cotechino is a large pork sausage; when the cylinder is sliced, it likewise bears a coin shape. Brazil, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary also have special lentil preparations for the New Year.
For my new year’s day, I choosed to honor this tradition with a simple lentil soup recipe consisting of stir fried onions, green peppers, carrots-basically a soffrito like the Italians call it. I used green lentils and chicken stock for the basis of my soup.
To accompany my humble dish, I choose to pair with a french wine from the Rousillon. Domaine du Possible, Charivari. I was this wonderful introduced by natural wine producer by fellow blogger Craig from his site Brett Happens. I was even pleased to discover that this wonderful domaine was imported by the good people of Oenopole.
Domaine du Possible is the personal proyect of Loïc Roure who installed himself in Lansac in 2003, taking over the old local cooperative. He farms a little bit over 10 ha of Carignan, Grenache et Syrah and Macabeu, Grenache gris, Grenache blanc, as well as Carignan blanc. Everything is done the most natural with no pesticides or other chemicals. A little bit of sulphur may added from time to time as well as other copper treatments in spring in the vineyards depending on the weather. The cuvee Charivari, featured on my post is a mono varietal Carignan from a mix of old age vineyards sites. It is one the most fresh and vibrant wines that I have drinked from the area in recent years. It is a very floral wine with lots of fresh red fruit and wonderful animal nuances that the good old Carignan grapes gives. And of course that mind boggling minerality
I was also very glad to find out that another natural vigneron Edouard Lafitte that collaborates with him in the same cooperative but making a different range of wines. They are imported in our shores by the good people of Glou. One of the wines that he mades is Hop La ( picture above). This is a blend of Grenache and Syrah coming from very old parcels 80+ years of gneiss soils. Much different than the Charivari, it has a darker fruit profile with wonderful licorice and anis streaks and a wonderful minerality that makes you feel that you died and went to mineral heaven. ( Did i just say that?. He he ). Luc and Edouard philosophy are to make affordable and drinkable wines. Wines that gives you pleasure and you can bring anytime to your friends house.
I pair this wine with an amazing Turkey Chili with Arepa. Last week, i was in the mood of eating latin style dishes. My wife elisabeth was raving about this dish for a few days.