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Spicing up your Valentine’s Day with expert wine advice

Posted by by Bill Belkin, wine and spirits category manager
Friday, February 10, 2012

This may be an unlikely place to read about the alleged aphrodisiac qualities of certain foods and I’m not going to regale you with tales of sordid food and wine pairings. What I will say is that there are unmistakable amorous properties within the confines of culinary courtships - ones you and your significant other should explore as Valentine’s Day fast approaches.

My personal recommendation is to cook this main meal together and to accent the evening with lovely wines before, during and after the joint endeavor. This is not so much a recipe as my words are gentle prodding’s toward exploring some of the “foods of love.”

Valentine’s Day occurs in the dead of winter and as such your palate should be craving a rich, deeply flavored red wine. This just may be the time to dredge up that long lost Australian Shiraz that used to be to “over the top for you” or that full throttled Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley that has a wee too much alcohol for easy food pairing.

I think Cline Cashmere from Sonoma or any Seghesio Zinfandel would be a great choice. IF money’s no object, then haul out the Mollydooker Boxer Shiraz that you have been holding onto for too long…

My food of choice for this incredible meal is Italian – pasta – their national culinary treasure. And since the Italians know more about “amore” than most cultures, then surely pasta is the food that has in all its unique and peculiar shapes given way to millions of new loves.

My Personal Recipe

As with great relationships, it’s all in the preparation. For your pasta dish add the following:

  • Garlic (yes, I know it’s the anti-kissing aroma) in copious amounts, sliced and chopped gently and reserved aside.
  • Shallots (milder than onion) sliced carefully, lightly sautéed in extra virgin olive oil.
  • Dried Porcini mushrooms soaked in Marsala wine (drain well)
  • Broccoli cut into little florets
  • Fusilli pasta

In a hot skillet, more olive oil, broccoli, dried Porcini mushrooms - sauté until both are al dente – cooked yet a little snappy.

In a huge pot of salted boiling water goes your fusilli pasta. Cook until al dente, drain and toss in the contents of your skillet mixture. Why fusilli? Because all the wonderful oil, garlic and mushroom are going to wrap themselves around the noodle and plant their delicate aromas and flavors all over the place.

Of course because you ARE romantic, you have gone out and purchased a small block of Parmesan-Reggiano and you are now scraping small hunks off into your wonderful vegetarian dish…

Whip up a salad with golden beets, orange bell peppers, hearts of palm and light vinaigrette, and you will be well on your way to an evening of (ahem) romance.

With this tactile and aromatic meal, we are going to call on our friends from Northern Italy and reach for a Barbera from either Alba or Asti. These wines are earthy and fruity without being overt or overbearing.

Of course IF you are still around after the meal, a Kopke LBV Port and a hunk of DARK chocolate and well, you’ll be writing to thank me next Wednesday!

Time for me to go buy some ingredients - here’s to romance!

Tags: valentines dayred wine

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