Hold The Cheese

Offer spiced or mixed nuts the next time you're serving wine this holiday season for a healthier alternative.

Photo Modified: Flickr/WhitneyInChicago

Try something a little healthier in your holiday entertaining routine: nuts.

Holiday parties are often filled with sweets, cheese and all things highly caloric. To avoid repetition and, frankly, adding more hours to everyone's 2011 gym time, try something a little healthier in your holiday entertaining routine: nuts.

In their fresh, high-quality form, nuts can pair beautifully with wine. A classic combo is nuts with Port, but to mix things up a little, Team Daily Sip recently held a tasting of wine and gourmet roasted nuts by Oren's Kitchen. They're available online here, as well as at Foodzie and Whole Foods. Here's what we discovered in the tasting:

• The Indian Ajwain Cashews matched well with a juicy Pinot Gris — with ripe grapefruit flavor — from Washington. The wine complemented the cedar, cumin, and ghee in the spice. So consider drinking Pinot Gris when you have Indian food in general.

• We got the most out of the Coconut Chili Macadamias with a Gewurztraminer. Because of its ability to pair with the coconut and chili flavors of these particular nuts, it shouldn't come as any surprise that Gewurztraminer is also great with Thai food.

• With the powerful Smoked Paprika Pecans, a Rhône Syrah seemed to work best. In general, Syrahs pair beautifully with hearty Spanish dishes laden with paprika.

Everyone has their own preferences, so if you have a unique food-wine pairing you like, tell us about it below.