Another Columbus Day has come and gone, and I’m sure many of you are left feeling a little empty, or maybe you let it slip by without much attention. I have good news and good news: there is always next year and we are here to help. How does one celebrate Columbus Day? This is the annual conundrum people face when the holiday rolls around and not only do you not have access to an old wooden ship, but you realize you have outgrown most of your pilgrim outfits from childhood. So without props or costumes, what do you do? Once again, wine saves the day and can aid to the voyager willing to set sail for an evening of discovering new worlds of food and drink.
Step 1: Have a plan.
This diagram represents wines from all the important geographies represented by the life of Christopher Columbus. Born in Genoa, Italy, went to Spain to enlist in the services of some queen, and eventually ran ashore in America. Historical purists will interject at this point with “Hey there buddy, Genoa is in the Liguria wine region in Italy, what’s with this Chianti in the diagram?” I can already hear it now.. This isn’t for a lack of trying but simply a sad truth that unlike Columbus, not all wines from all regions in Europe make it to America. Chianti was close enough though, and if your party guests aren’t geography snobs you should be fine with any Italian, Spanish, and American wines. You will notice the wine representing America is from Missouri, and while I’m not certain where he first ran ashore, I’m guessing it wasn’t on the banks of the Missouri River.
Step 2: Obtain Provisions for Voyage
From a quick Google search and utilizing the descending order of reliability scale (Wikipedia – Ask Jeeves – Magic 8 ball – Yahoo Answers), I discovered from a keen Yahoo Answers user which foods would have been available on the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria circa 1492. Columbus and his jolly crew would have packed foods that are readily available around the Mediterranean, that stay relatively fresh during an excruciating voyage across the Atlantic, and contain wonderful scurvy fighting powers. Referring to the picture above and how we translated this: breads, cured Italian meats, hard cheeses, olives, honey, nuts, olive oil, fruits (scurvy fighting Vitamin C), antioxidant-rich chocolate and joy-infused wine. According to my source, Christopher’s personal favorite food item was chickpeas. Naturally, we filled this void with hummus! Hopefully, your guests will delight at the research you put into your historically accurate menu and the hunting and gathering you had to do at the grocery store. If not, or if you have a picky eater aboard, you can make them walk the metaphorical plank of eating a cold potato.
Step 3: Entertainment for the Crew
It’s an unfortunate fact of any modern day theme party that is absent of a real ship and an ocean; your guests could get bored of eating food and drinking wine (didn’t happen for us, but it could). If the tides turn on the captain of the party, and mutiny seems imminent; have suitable entertainment ready at the helm…
American Filmmaker Chris Columbus discovered his own new world of movie making paradise and directed/wrote classics such as Home Alone, The Goonies, Gremlins, Mrs. Doubtfire, Harry Potter (1-3), and Gremlins. This wide range of titles is sure to please any crew.
Step 4: Bon Voyage!
Invite over as many people as you can fit on your boat and set sail!
Salute. Salud. Cheers!