Holiday Entertaining: Wine and Cheese Pairings for November Gatherings

Throwing a wine and cheese party or including these combos as an appetizer is a great idea for the holiday season. While wine and cheese pairing doesn’t require a lot of preparation, you do need some basic knowledge and planning to make it a success. After all, not every cheese is going to go well with every wine.

Wine and cheese complement each other due to various factors like texture contrast, flavor balance, palate cleansing, aromatic interplay, and even cultural traditions. The interaction between the wine’s sweetness, acidity, and tannins with the cheese’s saltiness and richness creates a pleasing experience. 

Here are some tips to make your upcoming wine and cheese gathering a success. 

Wine and Cheese Pairings for November Gatherings

Not everyone has the same tastes in wine and cheese. To deliver the most delightful experience to your guests, you’ll want to offer several wine options along with complementary cheeses. Here’s a good list:

1. Riesling and Brie

You can find Riesling in many different flavor profiles, ranging from super sweet to dry. A dry to semi-dry Riesling pairs well with a creamy, soft brie. The wine’s acidity tempers the cheese’s richness. 

2. Sauvignon Blanc and Cheddar

Sauvignon blanc is known for being highly acidic. It pairs well with cheddar cheese because the cheese enhances its earthy flavor. 

3. Champagne and Mascarpone

Many people like to serve champagne at their holiday gatherings. If you’re planning to pop some corks, you can pair your bubbly with a smooth, rich, and spreadable cheese like mascarpone. 

4. Pinot Grigio and Mozzarella

Because opposite flavor profiles often pair well, you may wish to combine a light-bodied yet dry Pinot Grigio with a slightly sweet and soft mozzarella. 

5. Rose and Havarti 

Sure, there’s a nip in the air. But many people still prefer a lighter, fruitier wine like a nice rose. You can balance the light, crisp qualities of this wine by pairing it with the buttery and mild qualities you’ll get in Havarti cheese. 

6. Cabernet Sauvignon and Aged Gouda

If you enjoy a full-bodied wine, you’ll want to put a cabernet sauvignon on your list. This wine pairs well with aged gouda, which offers a sweet yet sharp taste that is similar to the wine, making for a delightful combination. 

7. Beaujolais and Feta

Beaujolais is a light red wine that offers sweet undertones with hints of red berries. It pairs well with the tangy and salty flavor of feta cheese, which offers a unique contrast of sweet and salty. 

8. Zinfandel and Asiago

Zinfandel is a white wine offering hints of black pepper and a spicy, fruity finish. The low bitterness of the wine pairs well with a rustic and buttery cheese like asiago, which can bring out its tartness. 

9. Malbec and Aged Cheddar

Both Malbec and aged cheddar have deep, complex flavors that complement each other. Malbec has rich, dark flavors, and aged cheddar has a sharpness that creates a bold and delicious flavor combination. 

10. Merlot and Parmesan

The sharp, nutty flavor of a bold parmesan cheese pairs well with the fruity and dry characteristics of Merlot. 

Additional Wine and Cheese Party Ideas

In addition to pairing the right wines and cheeses, here are several ideas to make your event a success. 

  • Keep it simple. Everyone has a lot going on during the holidays. Avoid overwhelming guests with too many demands or options. A handful of carefully chosen wines and cheeses are ideal as long as you have sufficient quantities. 
  • Offer other foods. Cheese alone often isn’t enough to create a lasting impression. Add some other items like crackers, raw veggies and fruits, and charcuterie meats. 
  • Avoid breaking the bank. You’re probably spending plenty on other holiday items. There’s no need to buy the most expensive wine and cheese. Moderate selections are perfect for sharing goodwill and joy during the holidays. 

Get Everything You Need for Your Holiday Gathering at Nick’s of Calvert

Now that you have the perfect wine and cheese pairings for any holiday cocktail gathering, you need the right place for your supplies. Nick’s of Calvert offers one of the largest selections of wine, beer, and spirits in Southern Maryland — all at the most affordable prices. We also have a full deli with the freshest and most unique cheeses. 

Whether you are sure about your selections or need some assistance making the right choice, we’d be happy to help. We carry many brand names you’ll recognize, including some premium labels. Give us a call at (410) 414-7105 or visit us today. 

St. Patrick’s Day Recipe Ideas: Corned Beef and Cabbage, Irish Soda Bread, and More

St. Patrick’s Day is the ideal time to celebrate with delicious, Irish-inspired food. This year, the holiday falls on March 17th, commemorating the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. The annual event has evolved into a day to showcase Irish culture with festive parties, green clothing, drinking, and, of course, tons of delicious food. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here is a list of St. Patrick’s Day recipes that will be sure to please family and friends at your celebration. 

Traditional Irish Food

Corned Beef and Cabbage

You can’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without corned beef and cabbage. This famous Irish dish is so simple to make if you have a slow cooker. 

Irish Soda Bread

Irish soda bread is another staple, which is a thick bread made from baking soda and buttermilk. It looks quite dense, but the bread is actually quite fluffy and moist inside. 

Guinness Beef Stew

Beef stew is a hearty Irish meal that is rich and satisfying. You can make it even more “Irish” by adding some Guinness to the mix. Here’s the recipe


Barmbrack is a traditional sweetened bread from Ireland. It is also referred to as a “speckled loaf” because the bread is dotted with raisins. 


The Irish know what they’re doing when it comes to potatoes. Colcannon is a mix of fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes with fresh greens like kale or cabbage. Don’t forget the butter when you serve it!


Boxty is a thick potato pancake popular throughout Ireland, Scotland, and the North of England. It is simple to make and often served as a side or combined with bacon and eggs for a filling breakfast. 

Irish Potato Soup

Just buy plenty of potatoes for your authentic Irish meal. This Irish potato soup is creamy, rich, delicious, and surprisingly easy to put together. 

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s pie was traditionally made with ground lamb, but many people use beef instead. This tasty and filling casserole includes potatoes and cheese, making it a crowd-pleaser. 

Festive St. Patrick’s Day Appetizers

Cheddar Beer Fondue

Check out this recipe for a warm, melted blend of Irish cheddar cheese and beer. Combine it with bread, apples, sausages, and other items of your choice for dipping. You’ll want to make the recipe with light beer and save the Guinness for drinking. 

Scotch Eggs

Scotch eggs might have originated in Scotland, but they remain a popular pub snack throughout Ireland. You make them by wrapping a soft-boiled egg in ground meat and then frying it. Here is the recipe

Guinness Pretzel Bites

If it includes Guinness beer as an ingredient, it works as a St. Patrick’s Day dish. These buttery pretzel bites are filled with yummy cheese-and-Guinness filling, making them an ideal appetizer where Irish drinks are flowing.

Delicious Irish Desserts

Grasshopper Bars

If you like a combination of chocolate and mint (who doesn’t?), try these tasty Grasshopper Bars made with marshmallows and peppermint extract. 

Rainbow Layer Cake

Many people picture a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow when they think of St. Patrick’s Day. You can bring at least part of that fantasy to life with this gorgeous and delicious rainbow layer cake

Baileys Brownies

Everyone loves rich chocolate brownies. But these contain a splash of Baileys, giving them an Irish kick and making them an ideal dessert for your meal. Here’s the recipe

Irish Drinks & Cocktails

Green Beer

What’s St. Paddy’s day without some green beer? It’s simple enough to make on your own with just a few drops of food dye. 

Irish Coffee

Sweet and strong, this soothing cup of traditional Irish Coffee will be the ideal pick-me-up as you head into your holiday celebration. 

Baileys Irish Float

This is an adult twist on the ice cream float containing beer and Irish cream. You’ll definitely have to try this Bailey’s Irish Float

Lime Sherbet Float

For the kids or non-drinkers attending your St. Paddy’s day celebration, give this yummy and cool lime sherbet float a try. A bonus is that it’s quick and simple to make. 

Get Everything You Need for Your St. Patrick’s Day Celebration at Nick’s of Calvert

Whether you’re planning a St. Patrick’s meal at home, a family gathering, or heading out to a large celebration, Nick’s of Calvert has everything you need. From specialty meats and cheeses to the freshest produce, Nick’s of Calvert makes preparing for your Irish-inspired holiday fun and easy. We even have premade sides that just need to be heated, as well as a full selection of beer, wine, and liquor. Call us at (410) 414-7105 or visit our Prince Frederick location today. 

How to Create a Romantic Valentine’s Dinner at Home

Whether you’re celebrating with your significant other for the first time or the twentieth, you’re probably already trying to come up with some winning Valentine’s Day dinner ideas. Not every couple wants to battle the masses for reservations at the trendiest restaurant in town. The truth is you can have a special and romantic evening right in your own home. 

There’s a lot to be said for not having to book a babysitter or pay for an expensive prix fixe menu. But Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be just another home-cooked dinner night. You should always step it up a notch by making the atmosphere and food as romantic as possible. Here are some tips for creating a romantic Valentine’s dinner at home. 

Choose Your Location

Your first step will be deciding where in your home you are going to have the meal. Sure, you can choose the dining room table. But there are other options. For example, you can set up an indoor picnic with a nice blanket, picnic basket, and some pillows for comfort. 

Another idea is to set up a small folding table somewhere in your home, such as in front of the fireplace or window. Cover it with a nice tablecloth, and you have the makings of a restaurant-worthy seating area. 

Presenting Your Dinner

Once you’ve chosen a location, you’ll want to make it look amazing. Put out your special dishes and tableware that only come out for special occasions. Grab some fresh flowers from your garden or the grocery store to use as a centerpiece. Don’t forget your favorite glassware for those special drinks. Finally, if you’re cooking a fancy meal, you can even create a print-out of a personalized menu to lie on the plates and commemorate your meal. 

Romantic Dinner Drinks

It’s common to plan some drinks to go along with your romantic dinner date. Wine and champagne are classic Valentine’s Day drinks that will set the mood. You can also choose alcohol-free versions and extra garnishes, such as strawberries or raspberries, to make your drinks seem more luxurious. You can also try your hand at mixing your own cocktails or mocktails to complement your meal. 

Valentines-Worthy Ingredients

When you’re celebrating a special day like Valentine’s Day, you should give some thought to your ingredients. Consider the concept of “umami,” which is Japanese for a “pleasant, savory taste.” Most people are fond of these flavors, so it makes sense to include them in a special meal. Foods that include them are things like beef, pork, chicken, and seafood. Others include aged cheeses, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, and asparagus. 

Certain foods are also considered aphrodisiacs, so you might want to explore a few of these. While science may not fully back up the idea of food influencing feelings, there’s always the power of suggestion. Foods included on this list include lobster, figs, oysters, okra, and even red wine. 

Cooking a Meal Together

Smithsonian Magazine reports that creative projects, like baking and cooking, are mood-lifting and inspire positivity. Cooking together is a great way to inspire communication and spend some quality time creating something you’ll both enjoy. 

To make this activity successful and not stressful, it’s a good idea to divide up the responsibilities. After 30 minutes or so, you might want to switch roles to keep it interesting. 

Fun Valentine’s Activities

If you and your partner enjoy games, think about having a blindfolded taste test as part of your meal. You can do this with drinks, different cheeses, desserts, or just about anything. One partner will wear a blindfold as they taste items prepared by others and try to guess their names or ingredients. 

Another trend in dining that you both might find a lot of fun is to cook part of your meal at the table. For example, who doesn’t love cheese or chocolate fondue? Another option is to place a small girl or hot stone in the center of your table that can cook meat or vegetables. 

Delicious Valentine’s Desserts

Finally, even if you typically skip dessert, this is a night you might want to indulge. You can grab a pre-made fancy dessert from your local bakery. Or, you can whip something up at home, such as brownies or a chocolate cake. 

Get Everything You Need for Your Romantic Valentine’s Dinner at Nick’s of Calvert

No matter which of these romantic Valentine’s Day dinner suggestions you decide to incorporate into your plans, you’re going to need some supplies. Nick’s of Calvert has everything you could possibly need, from specialty meats and cheeses to the freshest produce. Our full service meat counter is the centerpiece of our store. We offer many pre-made items to supplement your meal and sell a full selection of beer, wine, and liquor. Visit our location today or call us at (410) 414-7105 with any questions. 

Christmas Meals from Around the World

Depending on where you live, how you celebrate the holidays may look very different. Not only do traditions and activities vary, but so do the foods that are commonly found on the Christmas dinner table. Indeed, even in the U.S., popular Christmas foods—and different takes on those foods—can vary regionally. At Nick’s of Calvert, we love that each culture, region, and religion has its own way of doing the holidays, and when you shop with us, you can find the ingredients that you need for whatever you plan to serve. Here’s a look at some common Christmas meals from around the world

Feast of the 7 Fishes – Italy

If you are from Italy or grew up with Italian influence, you may be familiar with the holiday tradition of the “Feast of the Seven Fishes.” While the tradition originates from southern Italy, today, it’s especially popular amongst Italian Americans. Seven is the most repeated number in the bible, and therefore this meal features seven dishes of seafood. Some of the most common types of fish and seafood to be featured are cod, shrimp, calamari, and linguini with a clam or lobster sauce. Yum!

Wigilia – Poland

The traditional Christmas meal in Poland is called Wiglia, and it’s a meal that can’t be started until every member of the family has first participated in the traditional breaking of the wafers. Then, 12 dishes are served for dinner. One of the centerpieces of the meal is the traditional Polish borscht, a type of cabbage soup that is red in color and served throughout the year. In addition to the borscht, one can traditionally find sauerkraut, cabbage rolls, mushroom soup, and dumplings on the table, as well as a variety of sweet foods, such as dried fruits and gingerbread.

Lechón – Puerto Rico

While mainland Americans typically love to serve a roast ham on Christmas, in Puerto Rico, families prepare lechon, or roast suckling pig. The tradition requires multiple days of preparation. Alongside the roast pig, sides that are commonly found include meat pastries wrapped in plantain leaves, coconut-based pudding, and even a version of eggnog that has coconut in it.


If you spend the holidays in Greenland, you may be surprised—and perhaps even a little taken aback—by one of the traditional foods you’re sure to find on the table: whale meat. That’s right, whale is a very popular meat to be served during the holidays in this country, and mattak, which is whale blubber that’s wrapped in whale skin, is commonly served. Next to whale meat, reindeer is another popular (and perhaps more palatable for most Americans) dish.


Who doesn’t dream of spending Christmas and New Year’s in Paris gazing up at the Eiffel Tower, or in a dreamy and charming village in the French countryside? In either case, you’re sure to be delighted by the food if you’re able to make it to this country for the holidays. Some sort of meat—usually a type of fowl like pheasant or turkey—will likely be the main dish, complete with roasted chestnuts. Alongside the meat, you may find traditional sides such as a classic French gratin, green beans, and roasted brussel sprouts. And don’t forget the cheese! A large cheese platter is a must in any French dinner, and is served before dessert. Finally, the most important part of the French meal is the Buche de Noel, the French version of a yule log cake.

The Philippines

If you’re in the Philippines for the holidays, you’re in for a special treat. During Christmas, both sweet and savory foods can be found upon the table. Aside the roast suckling pig—the traditional meat that’s served during the holidays—you’ll also find the delicacy called puto bumbong. This side features a gelatinous mixture of rice that is soaked overnight, served in a tube of bamboo, and loaded with coconut, butter, and sugar—yum! You might also find ham, noodles, and even Filipino-style spaghetti.

Get Everything You Need for the Holidays at Nick’s of Calvert

Whether you’re preparing a traditional American-style holiday meal or want to do something special by preparing a meal that incorporates different dishes from around the world, Nick’s of Calvert has everything you’re looking for. From specialty meats and cheese to the freshest produce, Nick’s of Calvert makes preparing for the holidays easy. We even have premade sides that just need to be heated, as well as a full selection of wine, beer, and liquor. When the holidays feel stressful, choose Nick’s of Calvert to get all of your grocery shopping done in one place. Call us at (410) 414-7105 with any questions or visit our location on Costley Way today.

Alternatives to a Turkey on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving seems to be defined by the turkey dinner. Every picture you see and recipe you read is probably centered around this classic main course. But maybe you don’t like turkey or have other reasons for wanting something different. 

Fortunately, you have a ton of options. Plenty of people take a break from tradition and serve something other than turkey for their Thanksgiving meal. If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some alternatives to a turkey on Thanksgiving. 

Alternatives to a Turkey on Thanksgiving

Prime Rib

Prime Rib is a popular alternative to a traditional Thanksgiving turkey meal. Of course, there are hundreds of prime rib recipes to choose from, so you’ll want to find one that meets your tastes. Many, however, will include ingredients like minced garlic and olive oil. Then, slowly roast the meat for up to two hours over low heat to get the best results. 

Roast Chicken

If you’re thinking of cooking a different kind of bird, consider the tried and true roast chicken. You can’t go wrong with Julia Child’s Favorite Roast Chicken recipe, which includes lemon juice, celery leaves, and chicken stock. 

Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington is a definite showstopper of an entree. The traditional dish consists of beef tenderloin coated in a pate and mushroom mixture, which can also be wrapped in a Parma ham. Then, the entire dish is covered with a golden flaky puff pastry. Because of this mix of ingredients, the entree can almost be a complete meal in one. 

Baked Salmon

Seafood might seem way outside the box for a Thanksgiving meal, but it’s really quite traditional. In fact, historians believe that much of the original Thanksgiving feast consisted of seafood. And something like salmon doesn’t take long to bake in the oven, and it’s delicious when you include a maple and brown sugar glaze. 

Rack of Lamb

A rack of lamb is a pretty impressive dish to set in the middle of your Thanksgiving table. It’s also delicious when paired with something like tiny potatoes or cranberry chutney. Even though it looks complex, it’s fairly simple to make. You simply rub the meat with plenty of herbs, garlic, and oil, and cook it over medium heat for a short period. 

Pork Loin

Pork loins are one of the most tender cuts of pork. Once cooked, they are also easy to slice and serve with herbs and roasted vegetables used as a garnish. A quality tenderloin is delicious with just a few herbs, salt and pepper, or a mild marinade. You can also add a brown sugar dijon glaze. Another bonus is the leftovers make delicious sandwiches. 

Broiled Lobster Tails

Lobster sure sounds like a fancy Thanksgiving entree. But many people don’t realize how fast and easy it is to cook. Once you prepare your side dishes, like rice or baked potatoes and salad, it will only take about 15 minutes to prepare and cook your lobster tails. You only need a few simple ingredients and the actual cook time is under 10 minutes!

Mushroom Steaks

Not everyone wants to celebrate Thanksgiving with a big platter of meat. For health or other reasons, you or your guests might choose to have an alternative main dish. Fortunately, you have a ton of options. One is to cook mushroom steaks. You can grill or cook them on a cast iron skill, choosing different ingredients, like garlic, to add flavor. 


Maybe you and your loved ones lean more toward pasta dishes for holiday celebrations. Lasagna is a long-time Italian-American tradition, and you can’t go wrong with it. It’s simple to pre-make, and the leftovers can be handed out to guests or sent to the freezer for later. 

Baked Ham

Another tried and true holiday main course is baked ham. The trick to cooking the juiciest and tenderest ham in the oven is to keep it wrapped in foil as it bakes and rests. If you remove the foil too soon, your ham can get dried out. Depending on the recipe, you can glaze your ham with honey, brown sugar, cinnamon, or something else delicious. 

Shop at Nick’s of Calvert for the Freshest Cuts of Meat

Whether you are sticking with a family tradition or trying something new for your Thanksgiving meal, using high-quality ingredients is a must. At Nick’s of Calvert, we take pride in bringing you only the best quality food at the most affordable prices.

Nick’s offers a full-service meat counter that is the centerpiece of our store. We vow to deliver complete customer satisfaction and would be happy to help you choose the perfect cut of meat for your Thanksgiving meal. Call us today at (410) 414-7105 or visit our Prince Frederick location. 

Fourth of July Celebration – Choosing the Right Beer

While planning a Fourth of July cookout can feel like a big commitment, your holiday should be stress-free and enjoyable. At Nick’s of Clinton, we do what we can to make prepping your menu and planning your cookout as straightforward as possible. With fully stocked shelves and a large selection of wine, beer, and liquor, we have everything you need for the perfect day. And if you don’t feel like cooking or baking, don’t worry—we have you covered with pre-made foods and desserts, too. Visit our store today or give us a call at (301) 843-4825 today. 

Fourth of July Celebration – Choosing the Right Beer

 For beer lovers, there’s no better time to crack one open than the 4th of July. It’s hot, it’s a holiday which means you have the day off work, and the menu options are t-a-s-t-y. Whether you have a favorite beer type that you know will make it onto the menu on the Fourth or prefer to mix things up based on food pairings and mood, we have some great beer recommendations this holiday season. And at Nick’s of Calvert, you can get all of the beer (and other shopping list items!) you need all in one location. Here are some of our favorite beer recommendations based on your Fourth of July food pairings— 

Indian Pale Ale

 Over the past decade, IPAs have gone from a little-known brew type to one of the most popular beers on the market. Whether you love standard IPAs, double IPAs, or hazy IPAs, these hoppy beers pair perfectly with 4th of July ribs, brisket, or any spicy foods you might prepare (think: stuffed jalapenos or a spicy salsa). IPAs are great on a hot day and pack a lot of flavor. 

 Light Lagers

Light lagers are among the lightest, palest types of ale on the market and are just about as different from an IPA as you can get—they’re rarely hopper or bitter at all. Because they are so light, they are great with just about any type of food, whether something fresh (that delicious green salad you’re planning for the holiday), traditional (hot dogs, anyone?!), and even spicy options. While fish isn’t a traditional Fourth of July menu item, light lagers do pair well with seafood. 

 Blonde Ale

 If you’re in doubt about what type of beer to drink or purchase for your Fourth of July celebration, choose a blonde ale! These beers are smooth, light in color, and are light-to-moderate on alcohol content. Blonde ales pair with just about any food, so they’re great when you’re not sure what everyone will enjoy. 

 American Wheat Ale

 Popularized by craft breweries, American wheat ales are a crowd favorite. Well-known for their maltiness, these beers can range in bitterness and are usually medium-bodied. Menu items on the Fourth of July that may pair well with an American wheat ale include that cheese platter you’re planning, fruit, light salads, chicken, and strawberry shortcake. 


 A Dubbel, often called a Belgian Dubbel, is a complex, flavorful, and highly alcohol beer. The deep color of the Dubbel is unique in that it comes from caramelized or candied sugar, not malt. These beers are sweet rather than bitter and offer a mouthful of flavor. They pair great with pork and sausages (consider upgrading from the traditional hotdogs this Fourth!), as well as potatoes and barbeque food in general. 


 Porters are a style of darker beer that isn’t to be confused with stouts. Typically, porters contain notes of chocolate, grains, and toffee. Because of this, they are often characterized as heavier beers and aren’t recommended for light drinking. More popular in the wintertime, porters are often paired with chilis, stews, meats, and braised dishes. However, if you’re a lover of a porter, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy one on the 4th!


 Stouts are similar to porters in that they are dark and often have notes of chocolate or dark fruits, like cherries, but unique in that they’re highly roasted, bitter, and hoppy. They can easily overpower a lot of dishes, and for this reason are often consumed for dessert alongside dark chocolate truffles or espresso cake. However, they can stand up to other strong flavors, such as those found in aged cheddar, barbeque, and smoked meats.

 Find the Best Beer at Nick’s of Calvert

 If you’re still not sure which type of beer makes the most sense for your Fourth of July festivities this year, we recommend purchasing a few different options and letting your guests choose. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even recommend specific pairings for your guests or host a beer tasting table. 

 At Nick’s of Calvert, we have all of the ingredients for a perfect Fourth of July celebration. Check out our store for the freshest vegetables, the highest quality meats and cheeses, and the best prepared foods and sides. We have a large selection of beer, wine, and liquor to complement whatever dishes you’re serving. Plus, our friendly staff will go above and beyond to make sure you can find whatever it is you’re looking for.

 To learn more about great beer pairings and the selections we carry, visit Nick’s of Calvert on Costley Way or call (410) 414-7105 today. 

Want to Cook a Romantic Meal for Valentine’s Day? Here’s What You Should Consider

This Valentine’s Day, you might want to skip the reservations at that fancy restaurant and instead dine at the most comfortable restaurant in town – your home. The truth is that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to make your significant other feel special. Sometimes, a delicious homecooked meal is way more romantic.

Now that you’ve decided where you’ll eat, choosing the menu can be challenging. Instead of choosing some tried and true dish, here are some ideas for creating a romantic Valentine’s Day meal you and your loved one will enjoy and remember.

Valentine’s Day Appetizer and Starters

Valentine’s Day is about sharing. So, whether you are fixing a meal for two or a small group, here are some appetizer ideas that will get your meal started in the right direction.

  • Balsamic Strawberry Goat Cheese Crostini— This bite-sized Italian bread is topped with creamy goat cheese and strawberriesto create a delicious combo of sharp and sweet flavors.
  • Sweetheart Salad— If you’re feeling creative, make this sweetheart saladthat involves slicing fruit using a heart-shaped cookie cutter.
  • Chargrilled Oysters— There’s a rumor about oysters. But, just eating them is a bit sensuous. Try this recipe for some delicious cheesy chargrilled oysters.

Valentine’s Day Mains

Here is a list of main dishes you can serve for your Valentine’s Day meal:

  • Seared Ribeye— A seared ribeyeis an ideal main dish to share, especially if you’ve chosen the right appetizers, sides, and dessert. A well-cooked steak is the perfect Valentine’s dinner idea.
  • Grilled Filet Mignon— If you’re looking for the leanest piece of meat, a Filet Mignonis an excellent choice. You can grill it or sear it over high heat.
  • Garlic Butter Lamb Chops— Lamb is pretty is a pretty classy meal if it’s something you enjoy. These garlic butter lamb chopscan be served with a simple salad and vegetable side.
  • Braised Short Ribs— These delicious braised short ribsare cooked slowly and will give you and your loved one a meal that is packed with flavor.
  • Pork Ragu— If you’re looking for something different and flavorful that is also going to produce some leftovers, consider making this Pork Ragufor Valentine’s day. It can be served over any type of pasta, but pappardelle is an excellent choice.
  • Coq Au Vin— This is a super flavorful classic chicken recipe. Your coq au vinis braised in a red wine sauce that brings out a ton of flavor in the dish.
  • Fettuccine Alfredo— If you’d like to serve a decadent pasta dish this Valentine’s day, look no further than a classic Fettuccine Alfredo.
  • Simple Chicken Parmesan— Another popular pasta dish that is also a good comfort meal is Chicken Parmesan, which pleases even the pickiest eaters.

Valentine’s Day Side Dishes

The mains are essential. But don’t forget your side dishes. Here are some options:

  • Sweet Potato Casserole— If you want something sweet as one of your side dishes, this sweet potato casseroleis sure to fit the bill.
  • Roasted Brussel Sprouts— A simple but delicious side dish, consider including roasted Brussel Sproutsas a healthy addition to your Valentine’s meal.
  • Couscous Pilaf with Sauteed Mushrooms— This couscous pilaf with sauteed mushroomsis packed with Mediterranean flavor thanks to the cumin (a symbol of love and fidelity) and coriander ingredients.

Valentine’s Day Desserts

It’s not truly Valentine’s Day without a delicious dessert. Top off your meal with one of these decadent treats:

  • Chocolate Bundt Cake— This is a simple recipe for chocolate bundt cakethat anyone at your table will love.
  • Chocolate-covered Strawberries— A must-have for many Valentine’s couples, here’s how you can make chocolate-covered strawberriesthat will impress.
  • Slow Cooker Apple Crisp— It’s still cold outside. So, think about using your slow cooker to work on a scrumptious apple crispwhile you enjoy the main event. If you’re brave, add a scoop of French Vanilla ice cream on the side.

Valentine’s Day Wine & Spirits

There are probably too many wine and spirits options to list for your Valentine’s Day meal. After all, what you choose will depend on your particular tastes and menu selections. Some popular choices include champaign, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, as well as your choice of microbrews that pair well with various meal selections.

Get Help With Your Romantic Meal from Nick’s of Calvert

Now that you have some options for your romantic Valentine’s Day meal, let Nick’s of Calvert help with the ingredients you need. We offer one-stop shopping for all of your meat, grocery, and liquor needs. If you need a particular cut of meat or just want some suggestions for your special meal, we’d be happy to help. Stop into our store or give us a call at (410) 414-7105.

Choosing the Right Meat for Your Holiday Dinner

Now that we are in the middle of the holiday season, you have probably been busy planning meals, get-togethers with loved ones, and cooking up a storm. While turkey is the centerpiece of many holiday meals, it’s not the only option as a main dish.

Of course, everyone loves the traditional bird, but you can also please the palette with a roast, pork tenderloin, or some other type of meat. As you plan your holiday dinner, here are some tips for choosing and preparing the right meat to get the best results.

Choosing the Right Meat for Your Holiday Dinner

Beef Tenderloin

Choosing the Right Meat

Beef tenderloin is one of the easiest holiday meats because it doesn’t require a lot of prep time. As a general rule, you should estimate about ½ pound (or 8 ounces) of meat per person. This accounts for any shrinking during cooking.

Preparing Your Meal

Season your roast to your liking, which might include salt, pepper, thyme, olive oil, and garlic. Place it in the oven at 350-450 degrees F for about 45 minutes (or 130 degrees internal temperature).

Prime Rib

Choosing the Right Meat

Prime rib is sold in boneless or bone-in, and it’s delicious with a homemade au jus. When purchasing prime rib, plan on roughly ¾ to 1 pound per person. If you choose bone-in, about one rib for every two people is a good option.

Preparing Your Meal

To prepare your prime rib, rub it with olive oil, salt and pepper, the cut several slits in the meat to insert garlic. Roast the meat over indirect heat at 350 to 450 degrees F for about 12-14 minutes per pound.

Pork Roast

Choosing the Right Meat

For every guest you plan to serve, plan on purchasing about ½ pound of raw pork tenderloin. For a large holiday meal with a lot of side dishes, you may be able to get by with slightly less. But don’t forget about those leftovers.

Preparing Your Meal

For the best flavor and tenderness as well as safety, cook pork to at least 145 degrees F for medium-rare. It will still be pink inside but delicious and safe to eat.

Rack of Lamb

Choosing the Right Meat

A luxurious and dramatic cut of meat for your holiday meal, rack of lamb will be sure to make an impression. When grocery shopping, count on about two ribs per person if using American lamb.

Preparing Your Meal

When preparing rack of lamb, season with olive oil, garlic, salt/pepper, and oregano. Sear the meat on direct heat (350 to 450 degrees F) and then turn it once, continuing to cook on indirect heat for another 10-15 minutes.


Choosing the Right Meat

The general rule of thumb with turkey is to aim for 1 to 1 ½ pounds per person at your table. This is because a lot of the bird turns out to be bones, especially with smaller turkeys.

Preparing Your Meal

There are many ways to prepare a turkey. If you plan to roast it the traditional way, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, wash it and remove the giblets, season and butter it to your liking, and then roast it for about 15 minutes per pound.

Duck and Goose

Choosing the Right Meat

Duck and goose are “gamey” but also traditional choices for holiday meals that are a welcome departure from options like turkey or ham. Similar to turkey, you’ll want to purchase about 1 to 1 ½ pounds of duck or goose per person.

Preparing Your Meal

Make sure your bird is completely thawed before cooking. Remove the neck and giblets if they are still present, as well as any excess fat. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Rub the bird thoroughly with cut sides of a lemon and coat with salt. Place a garlic clove in the cavity and roast the bird until the internal temperature is about 150 degrees.

Spiral Ham

Choosing the Right Meat

Ham is an excellent option to serve a big crowd. It can be even be served pre-sliced. When purchasing a spiral ham, consider going with about ¼ to ½ pound per person with a boneless hand and ½ to ¾ pound per person for a bone-in ham.

Preparing Your Meal

Spiral hams come fully cooked. So, all you need to do with one is heat it through without drying it out. Preheat your oven to about 250 degrees F and cook your ham for about 13-16 minutes per pound or until it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees.

Shop at Nick’s of Calvert for the Freshest Cuts of Meat

Whether you are trying something new for your holiday meal or sticking with a family tradition, starting with high-quality ingredients is a must. At Nick’s of Calvert, we work hard to bring you only the highest-quality food at the best prices.

Nick’s offers a full-service meat counter that serves as the centerpiece of our store. We promise complete customer satisfaction and would be happy to help you choose the perfect cut of meat for your holiday meal. Contact us today at (410) 414-7105 or visit our Prince Frederick location.