MAKE A FABULOUS MEAL
Forget to make a reservation? Or perhaps you’d rather not be bothered by the restaurant crowds with your special someone. Either way, surprise your significant other this Valentine’s Day with an amazing, home-cooked meal. There are a variety of recipes from The Ktchn, BBC Good Food, Food.com and Babble (click the images to visit each site).
WINE PAIRING SUGGESTIONS
The general rule is red with red and white with white. So red wines for red meats, white wine for lighter game like chicken or turkey along with seafood and cream-based dishes such as seafood alfredo. For fattier foods such as steaks, a dryer red wine is best. The easiest way to determine whether wine is dry or not is to check the alcohol volume. If it’s over 9%, it’s likely to be on the dryer side (most dry wines range between 10-14%). Cabernet Sauvignon is a go-to for many red dishes, however they tend to be the heaviest of the dry wines and may not be as easy to sip and enjoy before or afterward your meal. I personally like a good Pinot Noir (Gnarly Head has a great Pinot Noir for just $8 at Binny’s). It’s light enough to drink but pairs really well with red dishes, including red pasta dishes (so you non-meat eaters should certainly enjoy this too!).
For whites, a safe go-between is Sauvignon Blanc or an un-oaked Chardonnay. Part of what gives Chardonnay’s a little tougher flavor is the oak barrels they ferment in, thus a smoother, more palatable flavor profile for foods if you go with an un-oaked.
Both types of wine can be very smooth and enjoyable with a meal. If you don’t have a lot of variety at your nearest liquor store, or if you aren’t sure what to get, again check the alcohol volume. I suggest Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc or aim for something of a mid-ranged dryness of about 7-11% and let your palette be pleasantly surprised by how great a well-paired wine can taste with your amazing dinner!
Don’t forget the bubbles! Champagne is a MUST-HAVE for Valentine’s Day, however, if you don’t want to get a pricey bottle like Moet, Veuve or even Dom then look for a Prosecco which is basically Italian Champagne or a sparkling white. Bubbly white wines are typically identified as champagne. However, on a label wines may only be called Champagne if they are actually from the region of Champagne in France. If you don’t mind the cost, I suggest splurging on a bottle of Henriot. If not, my go-to for bubbles that you can find almost everywhere is Mionetto Prosecco. It is actually one of my favorites – I actually prefer it over many of the pricier options.