Matching Food with Wine on Valentine’s Day

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valentine_cover.jpg Fiona Beckett an occasional contributor to Sommelier India-The Wine Magazine (www.matchingfoodandwine.com) offers some interesting pairings of wine (and other drinks) to match Valentine’s Day favourites. “If you’re planning a Valentine’s dinner on Thursday and haven’t got round to the wine here’s a quick list of my picks with the world’s most sensual foods. Bear in mind that the pairings are suggested with Valentine’s night in mind. There may be better matches but they’re less romantic ones!”


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
Champagne. (Vodka is good too 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
Passionfruit
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 passionfruit brulée you could drink a sweet (demi-sec) champagne or other dessert wine. Or a passionfruit flavoured beer (Yes, such drinks exist! Try Floris from Belgium)
Prawns/shrimp
If you’re serving them as a classic prawn cocktail or in a salad with mayonnaise I suggest champagne or a similar sparkling wine. If you’re serving them hot in a stir fry or with Asian seasoning I’d recommend a dry riesling
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
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. If they’re served with cream go for a classic sweet wine like Sauternes

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