Happy Valentine's Day! I hope everyone has gotten smarter out there and has decided to choose a great wine and some decadent dessert to share with someone special instead of overpriced flowers and fighting the crowds in a restaurant. Natalie Maclean sent this over to me and I doubt I could improve on these recommendations. The most fun pairing from playing around with the food and wine matcher sounds like late harvest zinfandel and chocolate mud pie. Pure decadence.
My own fun and playful options for Valentine's Day are chocolate fondue with strawberries, bananas, biscotti, and marshmallows or red velvet cupcakes and Champagne. These would be fun with that special someone or a great group of friends enjoying their single status.
Natalie MacLean, author of Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass concurs and suggests that “Just share a glass of wine (or three) with your sweetheart.”“Wine is liquid sensuality: Its heady bouquet stimulates the appetite and its velvet caress soothes that desire,” she observes. “What other drink is described as both ‘voluptuous’ and ‘muscular’? And when you pair wine with the mouth-coating luxury of chocolate, the combination is impossible to resist.”The creamy flavors of chocolate go best with sweet, full-bodied, high-alcohol wines, MacLean notes. She suggests wines to complement 50 chocolate dishes in her online matching tool at www.nataliemaclean.com/matcher. Just click on “desserts” to find pairings for chocolate mud pie to chocolate cheesecake.
Natalie’s top 10 wine and chocolate matches:
- Dark Chocolate and Banyuls, France
- Chocolate-Covered Biscotti and Recioto Della Valpolicella, Italy
- Chocolate-Orange Cake and Liqueur Muscat, Australia
- Chocolate with Nuts and Tawny Port, Portugal
- Milk Chocolate and Tokaji, Hungary
- Bittersweet Chocolate and Amarone, Italy
- Chocolate-Dipped Fruit and Icewine, Canada
- Chocolate Ganache Truffles and Sauternes, France
- Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake and Framboise, California
- Chocolate Hearts with Cream Filling and Cream Sherry, Spain