It’s no secret I love February — it may still be winter, but at least for me it is a short month filled with a whopping three big holidays of ultimate feminine spoiling: my birthday, Valentine’s Day, and my wedding anniversary all happily fill this month of love. February is cozy, sweet, dreamy, and I love all 28 days of it! 🙂 In the same way Christmas lights and decorations help lift the gloom of dark December, so Valentine’s
Day (in all its cheesiness) makes February more fun and gives us a great excuse to enjoy some chocolate and drink some wine! Although none of us here NEED an excuse for that. 😉
But the world of chocolate and wine pairing, though. Yikes. It’s like stepping into a flavor minefield if you don’t have good direction. A pairing can either send your taste buds into flavor ecstasy or quickly banish them to foul pairing hell. So what to do if you would actually like to try and achieve flavor bliss?
First, think of your food and drink like paints on a palette or musical notes — you are composing specific “works” based on the combined qualities of your ingredients. In a nutshell, food and wine can either create complementary pairings (where the weight, textures, and flavors complement or agree with each other) or contrasting pairings (where the weight, textures, and flavors have opposite characteristics and create exciting dynamics through contrast). An example of a complementary food and wine pairing would be ribeye steak with Cabernet Sauvignon (heavy, rich, full-bodied). A contrasting example would be pad thai with Riesling (both light, but spicy against acidic and sweet).
But for now, let’s just keep it simple with a delicious complementary pairing that will delight both wine noobs and experts alike.
Let me introduce you to Banfi Rosa Regale, an Italian sparkling red wine from Piedmont, Italy. It is made from a red grape known as Brachetto. Yes, it is sweet and bubbly like soda pop, BUT it offers great structure, fine perlage (tiny bubbles equal higher quality in sparkling wines) and enough acidity to make it elegant and sophisticated and oh so enjoyable. The aromas of red berries, orange, and rose are hypnotic, and the sweet but slightly tart flavors of strawberry and raspberry that unfold on your palate with drive you crazy and keep you coming back for more. I first tried this wine at a business networking event when I worked at a chamber of commerce, and it was pretty much all I could think about that evening — how utterly amazing this wine is! I still feel that way, and that is why I think you should get thee to Total Wine (or wherever you can find it – wine.com has it, too) and stock up for Valentine’s Day!
(goes to pour herself another glass because it’s too… freaking…good…)
Now, that wine was amazing on its own, but wait, things are about to get even better when it meets its sweet match! This wine will get along VERY well with milk chocolate. I would personally applaud your choice of Seattle Chocolate Milk Chocolate Truffles (which is what I paired with) but you could also have great success with other brands of milk chocolate you enjoy. The creamy sweetness of each are tantalizingly divine together. I literally taste vanilla whipped cream. Wow!
Speaking of chocolate, the aforementioned Seattle Chocolate Company has some of the best-tasting chocolate in the world (prove me wrong) and they have a great factory tour which is a fascinating education in all things chocolate. I even got to touch fresh, raw cacao fruit before the beans get roasted. Since I especially love exploring subtle flavors and aromas in wine, I really enjoyed blind tasting through several of their delicious chocolates and trying to guess the flavors and ingredients. Their store also carries a number of fun pairing ideas of their chocolates matched with various Washington wines. Do check them out if you’re in the greater Seattle area!
So there you have it: milk chocolate with Brachetto for the Valentine’s Day win!
Happy Valentine’s Day, sweet readers! ❤