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Pairings

Pairings

Wines to match favourite Valentine's Day foods

Wines to match favourite Valentine's Day foods

If you haven't yet worked out what to drink next Friday (February 14th, if you need reminding!) here are a few suggestions to match popular Valentine's Day foods.

Asparagus
If served on its own with melted butter or a hollandaise sauce a subtle, creamy white burgundy or Chardonnay would be the most seductive choice. If dressed with a vinaigrette or in a salad with seafood I’d go for a crisper white like a Sancerre, Pouilly Fumé or other top quality Sauvignon Blanc.

Camembert
Camembert baked in its box makes a sexy instant fondue but isn’t the easiest of dishes to pair with wine (even trickier than when it’s served cold). A crisp dry white such as Chablis or a good quality Pinot Grigio from the Alto Adige is your best bet.

Caviar (or, more likely, a caviar imitation)
Dry champagne. (Vodka is arguably better but not as romantic.)

Chocolate (dark)
There are possibilities with wine (sweet reds like Maury or Quady’s seductive Elysium being good choices - see www.quadywinery.com) but my own preferred option with dark chocolate is a frozen shot of cherry brandy or other fruit-flavoured spirit or liqueur or a small glass of sloe or damson gin. An orange-flavoured liqueur like Grand Marnier also works well.

Chocolate (white)
An ice-cold raspberry flavoured wine or liqueur like Southbrook Winery's Framboise from Canada. Especially if the dessert includes raspberries.

Duck
Pinot Noir

Ice cream (vanilla)
Tricky with wine. A toffee or chocolate-flavoured liqueur is your best bet. Very sweet PX sherry can be wonderful poured over it.

Ice cream (chocolate)
Try a coffee-flavoured liqueur like Toussaint or Kahlua.

Lobster
Good white burgundy (or other Chardonnay) or vintage Champagne.

Oysters
Champagne or Chablis. Not Guinness on Valentine’s Night, I suggest.

Passion fruit
Can be quite sharp so you need a very sweet wine to balance it. A sweet Riesling or late harvest Semillon or Sauvignon Blanc will work well. If it’s mixed with a creamy dessert as in a passion fruit brulée you could drink a sweet (demi-sec) Champagne or other dessert wine. Or a passion fruit flavoured beer. (Yes, such drinks exist! Try Floris from Belgium.)

Prawns/shrimp
If you’re serving a classic prawn cocktail I suggest a dry or off-dry Riesling which would also work with an Asian-style stir-fry or salad. A sparkling rosé - including Champagne - would be a suitably kitsch all-pink choice.

Smoked salmon
Champagne on this occasion. But see other possibilities.

Scallops
Made for top white burgundy or other really good Chardonnay. Champagne is also good if that’s what you’re drinking.

Steak
The best full-bodied red you can afford. Whatever turns your partner on . . .

Strawberries
If served plain and unadorned, gently sparkling Moscato d’Asti or Asti is lovely or go for the luscious Fragola liqueur I wrote about this week. If they’re served with cream go for a classic sweet wine like Sauternes.

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