Best Food and Wine Pairings This Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, which typically involves a bottle (or three) of wine. However, not everybody knows what wine pairs best with certain foods and flavours.

Thankfully, we’re here to help. Whether you’re spending Valentine’s with your loved one and cooking a romantic meal, you’re eating with your best friend for ‘galentines’, or you’re enjoying a tasty dinner alone with your favourite wine, we’re here to give you the best food and wine pairings this Valentine’s Day.

Keep reading for some of the best wine pairings with the top Valentine’s foods this February 14th.

 

Charcuterie Board

Regardless of whether you’re spending this Valentine’s Day with your partner, a first date, or your best friend, a charcuterie board is always a good idea.

Charcuterie boards are a great way of getting into the Valentine’s spirit and launching your date night. If you’ve never had a charcuterie board before, it typically consists of a mixture of cheeses, cured meats, spreads, and pickled items.

The best part is that it requires little preparation, and can be served in a matter of minutes. However, a romantic cheese and meat board is incomplete without a bottle of wine - there are plenty of options for pairing wine with charcuterie boards.

If your charcuterie board has lighter meats such as mortadella or prosciutto, then you could pair lighter-bodied wines such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, or medium-bodied wines such as Pinot Noir or Merlot. Soft cheeses such as camembert or Philadelphia also pair well with Pinot Noir. Sauvignon Blanc can pair well with olives too, which are always great on a charcuterie board.

For spicier meats such as peppered salami or chorizo, fruity reds such as Malbec are your best choice in terms of wine pairings. For stronger-flavoured meats, opt for full-bodied wines such as Syrah or even Chardonnay, so they aren’t overpowered.

Syrah can pair well with hard cheeses - the flavours can overpower lighter wines, so full-bodied wines are always the best pairing with strong cheeses.

For some of the best cheese and wine pairings, see this post.

 

Oysters

Oysters are delicious, classy, and the perfect aphrodisiac to kickstart your Valentine’s evening. They’re also pretty easy to serve - especially on the half shell. There are plenty of wines that pair well with seafood - and if you’ve got a bottle of Champagne in, then you’re in luck as Champagne can pair well with oysters.

Typically, Champagne has a bready flavour that gives the flavour profiles some depth. The smooth texture of oysters can contract perfectly with the fizz of Champagne, creating a delicious texture on your palate.

If you plan on frying or smoking the oysters, then you may want to pair them with a creamy Chardonnay - especially with a creaming oyster dipping sauce.

 

Paella

Paella is a great main course for Valentine’s Day, making a perfect Valentine’s dinner. It’s something that you can cook with your loved one as a date night activity, or prepare for your loved one as a gesture of love.

White wine and rosé can pair perfectly with paella - especially fresh and fruity wines. Paella is associated with warmth and sunshine, so light and fresh wines are sure to set the scene.

The general rule of thumb is that wine pairs well with local dishes - so Spanish wine is sure to taste delicious with your homemade, takeaway, or restaurant-ordered Paella. Ribera del Duero wines are always a great choice with Paella, as are Galicia wines.

If you decide to add other meats such as beef or chicken, a bottle of rosé is sure to combine well with the nuanced flavours. Merlot is also a good choice and can intensify the rice flavours.

 

Carbonara

Carbonara is a delicious main course that’s perfect for Valentine’s Day - you could even do a ‘Lady and The Tramp’ and have a spaghetti kiss.

The dish primarily involves spaghetti, parmesan cheese (or cheddar), bacon, eggs, and butter, making for a deliciously creamy pasta dish.

However, you may be wondering what wine pairs best with this classic Italian dish. Well, first things first, local wines go with local foods, so your best bet would be Italian wines.

Pinot Grigio is always a great choice for Italian food and can pair perfectly with carbonara. Pinot Grigio is refreshing and light-bodied, with neutral flavours that won’t overpower the flavours of the creamy carbonara sauce.

It’s not just carbonara that you can pair Pinot Grigio with - other pasta sauces such as tomato, cream, and seafood can taste delicious with a glass of fruity Pinot Grigio.

However, if you prefer a bottle of red wine, then you’ll be glad to know that Pinot Noir can also pair well with carbonara.

Pinot Noir has higher levels of acidity that can easily cut through the egg, cheese, and olive oil found in a classic carbonara sauce. It’s a fruity red wine with a refreshing kick. Even though it’s light and fruity, you can taste secondary notes such as forest floor - which can complement the bacon flavours found in carbonara.

 

Fondue and Fruit

Fondue is a classic Valentine’s dessert - it’s romantic, it sets the scene, and it’s a great way to finish off any romantic meal.

You can dip whatever you like in your chocolate fondue, whether it be marshmallows, crackers, brownies, or even sweets. However, fruit may be the most suitable for Valentine’s day - especially strawberries and cherries.

If you’re opting for a milk chocolate fondue, then why not pair it with a nice fruity Merlot or a Pinot Noir? Milk chocolate is sweet and creamy and should be paired with a wine that’s not too heavy in body.

However, if you’ve chosen a dark chocolate fondue, then you’ll need a wine that can match the intensity. Dark chocolate can be intense and bitter in flavour, so why not choose a full-bodied Zinfandel, Merlot, or Cabernet Sauvignon.

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