The end of this week graces us with (what is supposed to be) the most romantic holiday of the entire year. Hopefully, your night will be spent with a special someone, eating out at a four-star restaurant or cooking a three-course meal fit for the Food Network. But here’s a little tip: the food and wine you choose for your special dinner can play a major role in what happens after you eat. So with a little help from Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, we’ve laid out some food and wine pairings that will ensure your Valentine’s Day is as romantic as the all the commercials promise.
Adding chili peppers to your V-Day dinner is an obvious choice if you’re looking to spice things up. Not only will the Capsaicin found in chili peppers speed up your heartbeat and sweaty up your palms after just one bite, but eating chili peppers also releases endorphins, a chemical in your brain that can immediately fuel up your sex life. Now that’s chemical romance.
Perfect wine pairing: Gewürztraminer
Gewürztraminers are typically medium-bodied, fruity wines with flavors of citrus fruit, spice, peach, and lychee. Gewürztraminers can range from dry to very sweet, and everything in between. A little sweetness can go a long way toward tempering hot and spicy dishes. Though on the dryer side, on of our personal favorites is the 2011 Stepping Stone by Cornerstone North Coast Rocks! White. This Gewürztraminer is a mélange of apple, apricot, and melon fruit infused with exotic spices for the ideal combination of sweet and spicy.
Since more than 200 years ago, raw oysters have been declared the pinnacle of all aphrodisiacal foods. Oysters are said to be the first edibles used to increase sexual desire in the second century by the Romans and by legendary lover, Casanova. The compounds found in raw oysters such as zinc, D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) help to raise your libido and can also raise the levels of estrogen and testosterone found in your body.
Perfect wine pairing: Pinot Blanc
Originally from the Alsace region in France, Pinot Blancs are medium-dry to dry and are lighter flavored wines that usually have flavors of citrus, melon, pear, apricot and are mixed with mineral or smoky undertones. The Emile Beyer Tradition Pinot Blanc d’Alsace 2012 offers finely honed fruit flavors and subtle complexity that will pair perfectly with raw or cooked oysters.
Everyone loves chocolate. Whether it’s liquid or solid, hot or cold, chocolate always seems to bring us instant joy. This is probably because of the “feel good” chemicals found inside chocolate, namely Serotonin and Phenylethylamine. This inseparable chocolate-happiness connection is far from a recent discovery, as the Aztec emperor, Montezuma, is rumored to have consumed up to 50 goblets of chocolate each day in order to fuel his sexual desires. Sounds like he’s trying to overcompensate for something!
Perfect wine pairing: Cabernet Franc
Softer and more subdued than its cousin Cabernet Sauvignon, the lesser known Cabernet Franc is still full of flavor with notes of red and black fruits, plums, peppery undertones, and fine tannins. The Cornerstone Stepping Stone Napa Valley Cabernet Franc 2010 with a luscious core of berry fruit, infused with chocolate, and perfectly ripe, well-integrated tannins will pair perfectly with any chocolaty dessert.
For more information on pairing wines with your favorite meals, visit our Food & Wine Pairing Guide.