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Wine & Chocolate Pairings For Valentine’s Day

February 10, 2014 6:00 AM

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BOSTON (CBS) — While some say Valentine’s is a holiday as artificial as a sugar-free sweetener, others mark the occasion with love letters, flowers and of course, chocolate. Regardless of how you feel about the day, who doesn’t want an excuse to indulge in decadent confections and bubbly concoctions? After all, it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said: “Give me wine to wash me clean of the weather-stains of cares.” In the dead of winter, couldn’t we all use a little something to take us away from our salt-stained Ugg boots and gray snow banks?  Here are some local chocolates and treats and what you can pair them with to impress your Valentine.

-By Katie Curley-Katzman, CBS Boston

Here are our picks for best wine and dessert pairing for Valentine’s Day:

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Sweet and Salty

If Philips Candy House’s almond bark or a box of their sea salt caramel selection are part of your Valentine’s Day plans, go for a champagne or Proseco. You can’t go wrong with classics like Veuve Clicquot but try Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve (around $55) it has strong pear flavors and is so fruity and floral your spirits will automatically be lifted. For something more cost-effective without the headache, go with Nicholas Feuillatte Brut Reserve (around $35).

(Photo from: Hot Chocolate Sparrow)

(Photo from: Hot Chocolate Sparrow)

Chocolate for Dinner

Many local restauranteurs are sprinkling chocolate accents into their Valentine’s Day menus. What’s best with chocolate braised short ribs or white chocolate baba ghanoush? always Syrah. The 2004 Clos du Bois North Coast Syrah ($14) never disappoints. For something local, try Turtle Creek Winery’s Syrah, based in Lincoln (around $17). For Boston restaurants to go to on Valentine’s Day, go to our Valentine’s Day guide.

Photo Credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Photo Credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Dessert First

If you see Valentine’s Day as a reason to skip the main course and opt just for desserts, don’t forget to take that approach to your wine selections as well. Desserts don’t pair well with what you’re paring with your steak. Instead, go with Port or dessert wines that are sweet enough to off-set your desserts. Try W&J Grahams 10-Year Tawny Port (around $30) or  the local Hardwick Vineyard and Winery’s Quabbin Native ($14). As if you needed any help with the dessert part – try the Harvard Square cake at L.A. Burdick.

(Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)

Trendy Choice

If you’re not sure what to serve and want to impress your date, pull out a bottle of Madeira wine. Currently making a comeback, it’s actually the perfect wine to pair with chocolate and offers something different than Port. It goes best with caramel and fruit notes – Try the Caramel Sushi or the Limon Mayan Truffle at Beacon Hill Chocolates – but whatever you choose, you really can’t go wrong. Blandy’s Five Year Old Malmsey (around $20) is a great Madeira pick.

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Quick Cocktail
Need to dress up an old bottle of champagne in a hurry? Here’s an old standby champagne cocktail that will always impress.
Place one sugar cube in a chilled champagne flute or brandy snifter, give it three dashes of bitters, fill the glass with a dry champagne or really, any cheap champagne, give it a quick squeeze of lemon and make it festive with a lemon peel inside the glass. If all else fails, adding a cherry, sprig of lavender or a strawberry to the bottom of a champagne glass dresses up the most mundane bubbly.

Katie Curley-Katzman loves learning, collecting and writing about wine. She holds a certificate in wine tasting and education from the Institut d’Oenologie in Aix-en-Provence, France and is a graduate of Salem State University with a degree in English and French. Her wine writing has appeared in the Quarterly Review of Wines Magazine. Have a wine question or suggestion? Tweet her @KatieKWBZ
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