The end of next 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: Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blancs are typically dry wines with flavors of citrus fruit, melon, fig, and herbs. Sauvignon Blancs can range from dry to semi sweet, and everything in between which can help toward tempering hot and spicy dishes. Though on the dryer side, one of our personal favorites is the Château de Fontenille Entre-Deux-Mers 2013. This Sauvignon Blanc blend is a mélange of scintillating citrus, fig and melon with an underpinning of minerality 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: Viognier
Originally from the Northern Rhône region in France, Viogniers are medium-dry to dry and are lighter flavored wines that usually have flavors of tree fruits, nuttiness, and undertones of spice with peachy aromas. The Château du Trignon Viognier Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc 2013 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: Shiraz
Slightly softer and more subdued than Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz (aka Syrah) is still full of flavor with bright notes of red and dark berries, peppery undertones, and fine tannins. The Bellingham Ancient Earth Pinotage Shiraz 2013 with a luscious and lively core black cherry and mulberry flavors wrapped in a light patina of oak, it pair perfectly with any chocolaty dessert.
For more information on pairing wines with your favorite meals, visit our Food & Wine Pairing Guide and be sure to see our 2014 3 Aphrodisiacal Food & Wine Pairings.