The best food and wine pairings for Valentine's Day
If you're planning a special meal for Valentine's Day you may be wondering which wine to pair with your menu. I've picked some favourite Valentine's Day foods and suggested some matches that should work well with them.
AsparagusIf 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.
CamembertCamembert 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). Funnily enough a glass of champagne - or similar style sparkling wine - works surprisingly well or go for a dry white like a Chablis.
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.
DuckPinot Noir. Look to New Zealand and Chile for the best value
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.
LobsterGood white burgundy (or other chardonnay) or vintage champagne.
OystersChampagne or Chablis. Not Guinness on Valentine’s Night, I suggest.
Passion fruitCan 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 base 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/shrimpIf 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 salmonChampagne on this occasion. But see other possibilities.
ScallopsMade for top white burgundy or other really good chardonnay. Champagne is also spot on if that’s what you’re drinking.
SteakThe best full-bodied red you can afford. Whatever turns your partner on . . .
StrawberriesIf served plain and unadorned, gently sparkling Moscato d’Asti or Asti is lovely or go for the luscious Fragola liqueur. If they’re served with cream you could serve a classic sweet wine like Sauternes.
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