Happy Chinese New Year! While there's no tradition we're aware of that involves eating the animal celebrated in the Chinese Zodiac calendar (tiger wouldn't have been on our menu last year, nor will dragon be next year), we're now in the year of the rabbit. And rabbit just so happens to be one of the most celebrated items in French cuisine--as well as one of the best meats to match with wine.
Rabbit meat is so prized because it's lean and readily absorbs the flavors of other ingredients. It's also widely available thanks to New Jersey-based specialty-foods purveyor D'Artagnan, which also sells items such as duck, quail, venison, truffles, foie gras and countless others that'll make your cardiologist cry. And it just so happens that D'Artagnan published a cookbook containing a version of the most decadent--and wine-friendly--recipe known to man: Lièvre à la Royale.
Along with a rabbit, the dish contains pork, foie gras, heavy cream, Armagnac and a couple bottles of wine (some versions incorporate truffles and bacon, too). And it'll take you about three days to make it. Lièvre à la Royale is also held by many to be one of the greatest pairings with a Northern Rhône Syrah or a big red Bordeaux.
So go ahead and celebrate the year of the rabbit by cooking one (there are plenty of easier recipes here), and get the Chinese New Year started right by getting a taste of a truly great food-wine pairing.
What's the greatest pairing you've ever tasted? Share it with us below.