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Pair Up!

Jan 08, 2019 08:38PM ● By Maria Terry

Peachy New Year’s Brunch


Happy New Year! A great way to kick off the new year is hosting a fabulous brunch with friends or family. This menu was inspired by my dear friend Barbara who invited us to the most beautiful brunch I have ever attended. Her table was filled with so many delectable things, it seemed to glow. In fact, the golden-colored cheesecake really did! This cheesecake inspired me to create a “peachy” brunch menu based on foods that share that lovely color. 

Brunch wouldn’t be right without sparkling wine. It hardly matters what kind of bubbles you choose, dry or sweet, pale brut or blush rosé. Sparkling wines are so versatile they go with almost every kind of food, including peach-colored cantaloupe melon wrapped with salty prosciutto. The sweet melon will perfectly balance the salty pork, and each sip of bubbles will cleanse the fatty meat.

As the main attraction, create a bagel bar, and be sure to include one or more of the variations on salmon. Lox, gravlax, and smoked salmon are similar yet subtly different in flavor and texture. Lox, the simplest preparation, gets its name from the Yiddish word for salmon (laks). It is cured in a salty brine and gets no heat treatment. Gravlax, a similar preparation to lox, adds sugar and dill to the cure. Smoked salmon can be both cold-smoked, which leaves it with a raw texture similar to lox or gravlax, or hot-smoked, which results in a firm, flaky texture. Whichever you choose, a Grüner Veltliner is a bright wine with a touch of white pepper that complements additional bagel toppings on the horseradish cream like chopped red onions and capers. The wine’s delicate citrus flavor won’t be overpowering, and the briny fish will enhance it. If you can’t find a Grüner, Sauvignon Blanc is a fine substitute.

To end on a sweet note, serve an Eiswein made from the Riesling grape. Riesling has lots of stone fruit flavors like peach and apricot that will highlight those same flavorsin Barb’s famous Apricot Cheesecake.

So, go on. Pair Up!


Maria Terry is a Certified Sommelier and Wine Educator in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Horseradish Cream



¼ cup mayonnaise

½ cup prepared horseradish

2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard

¾ cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

1 pinch white sugar, or to taste

Salt and black pepper to taste



Stir the mayonnaise, horseradish, and Dijon mustard in a bowl until evenly combined. Fold in the whipped cream, then season to taste with sugar, salt, and pepper.


Yield: about a cup


Apricot Cheesecake





2 cups finely crushed graham crackers

2 Tablespoons sugar

¼ cup butter, melted



3 eggs

Two 8 oz. cream cheeses at room temperature

1 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups sour cream

One 15¼ can unpeeledapricot halves, coarsely chopped, drained



10-ounce jar low-calorie apricot spread

¼ cup apricot nectar



Prepare the cheesecake the day before you plan to serve it. Take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator about an hour before you start.


Preheat oven to 375℉. 


In a food processor, add the graham crackers and sugar; pulse until fine. Add the melted butter; pulse until combined. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. 


In an electric mixer, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla; mix until fully combined. Gently stir in the sour cream and apricots. Pour the filling over the crust into the pan. 


Place the cake in the oven and bake 35 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the cake in the oven for one to three hours. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter about 30 more minutes. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.


Prepare the glaze at least five hours before you plan to serve the cake. In a small saucepan, melt the apricot spread over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in the apricot nectar. Cool. Spoon glaze onto the center of the cake and spread evenly over the top,allowing a small amount of glaze to drip over edges. Chill, uncovered, in the refrigerator another four hours before serving.


Yield: 16 servings