Romancing the Wine
Wine and Chocolate Pairings for Valentine's Day
The end of January brings with it a deep sigh of relief. It takes me the whole month of January to get back to my pre-holiday routine, pre-holiday stress levels and, if I am lucky, pre-holiday weight... just in time for Valentines Day!
Clearly, Valentines Day is nowhere near as chaotic, stressful or calorie-ridden as the holidays, but the all too recent memories of the holiday season trigger an automated, and yet unfounded, response of panic.
Well, panic no more! Here are some Valentine gift ideas for your honey, which spark smiles, laughs and, perhaps even some euphoric highs... of course, it doesn't hurt that these gifts include alcohol and loads of sugar.
Wine and chocolate is the perfect gift that you and your loved ones can share together. After all, the basis of any lasting relationship is shared experiences. Let me rephrase that... shared happy experiences, which these pairings, all but guarantee. Below are three suggested pairings based on your objectives for this season of love: Red Hot Romance, Sweet Romance or I WANT You!
Red Hot Romance
Most people believe that dry red wine and chocolate pair well together. This is like saying Super Man and Lex Luther are best buds. Chocolate is chock full of sugar. Dry red has little to no sugar. This imbalance will make your wine taste like a garlic-and-fish-laden kiss. Ok, maybe not that bad, but the wine will lose its flavor and taste bitter and/or tart.
That said, I do agree there is something very sensual about a dry red wine and chocolate. It's up there with oysters, strawberries and champagne (another horrible "classic" pairing)... They all make you want to snarl your lip and growl like a tiger. So in honor of your inner cat, I have found the perfect chocolate to pair with dry red wines like Merlot, Syrah or Zinfandel (steer clear of Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir – too much acid and/or tannin!). Any chocolate with chipotle spices, such as the one at Atomic Chocolates (address below) will set your palates, and perhaps passions, on fire. Your wine will still lose some flavor, but the heat in the chocolate's spice will be ignited by the wine's alcohol. Hopefully, the fire on your palates will migrate north to your eyes... and then the rest is up to you!
Perhaps you prefer lace to leather? This pairing is for you. Atomic Chocolates also makes a chocolate called Rose & Honey – it doesn't get any sweeter than that! If you can't find this unique chocolate, try looking for chocolates with red fruits like cherry and raspberry, or citrus fruits, like orange or lemon, or even floral essence, like lavender or rose. Pair this chocolate with a semi-sweet Moscato. For under $20 you will have a very suggestive "message in a bottle". The floral and citrus notes of a Moscato pair well with the chocolate's fruity and floral notes, and the perception of the wine's sweetness actually lessens when paired with this chocolate. Magic? Nah, just a match made in heaven!
I WANT You!
Perhaps the other two pairings are too subtle for you? In all fairness, this last pairing has been known to create near orgasmic reactions. Please use this pairing with discretion - The last thing you want is to be shown up by a chocolate. Atomic Chocolates offers some of the best sea salt caramel chocolates around, which when paired with a decadent port wine, yield the definition of "pleasure". You can either look for a simple ruby port from Portugal or a lesser expensive port from Australia. The increased levels of sugar and alcohol in the wine, matched with the combination of sea salt, caramel and chocolate will make your lover's hair stand on the back of his/her neck and see stars... My work is done here. The rest, my friend, is up to you!
Happy Valentines Day!
Watch here to see Jessica talk about Valentine's day wine and chocolate pairings and make specific wine recommendations on TMJ4's The Morning Blend with Molly Fay and Tiffany Ogle.
(It is found in the gas station, in Times Square Pizzeria... yes, you read correctly. Trust me, you will not be disappointed!)
605 S 1st St
Milwaukee, WI 53204
If you can't find the wines recommended in the video, ask your local retailer to help you find these types of wine, priced between $12-$18.