Hi Start Cooking,
Want to seduce someone this Valentine’s Day? Just share a glass of wine (or three) with your sweetheart. Wine is liquid sensuality: Its heady bouquet stimulates the appetite and its velvet caress soothes that desire. What other drink is described as both ‘voluptuous’ and ‘muscular’? And when you pair wine with the mouth-coating luxury of chocolate, the combination is impossible to resist.
The creamy flavors of chocolate go best with sweet, full-bodied, high-alcohol wines.
My top 10 wine and chocolate matches:
1. Dark Chocolate and Banyuls, France
2. Chocolate-Covered Biscotti and Recioto Della Valpolicella, Italy
3. Chocolate-Orange Cake and Liqueur Muscat, Australia
4. Chocolate with Nuts and Tawny Port, Portugal
5. Milk Chocolate and Tokaji, Hungary
6. Bittersweet Chocolate and Amarone, Italy
7. Chocolate-Dipped Fruit and Icewine, Canada
8. Chocolate Ganache Truffles and Sauternes, France
9. Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake and Framboise, California
10. Chocolate Hearts with Cream Filling and Cream Sherry, Spain
Natalie suggests wines to complement 50 chocolate dishes in her online matching tool at www.nataliemaclean.com/matcher. Just click on “desserts” to find pairings for chocolate mud pie to chocolate cheesecake. Her online food-and-wine matcher doesn’t just focus on chocolate. The interactive tool has thousands of wines to pair with any dish: meat, pasta, seafood, vegetarian fare, pizza, eggs, cheese and dessert. You simply choose the food or wine from a drop-down menu to get the pairing suggestions. There are also lots of recipes for those planning a romantic meal. The matcher is updated regularly with new dishes and wines from the 85,000-plus readers who subscribe to Natalie’s free e-newsletter, which offers tips on how to buy, cellar and serve wine.
Natalie has won four James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award. Eric Asimov of the New York Times calls Natalie’s approach “a winning formula,” describing her as “the disarming Everywoman … she loves wine, loves drinking.”
Thanks, Natalie for sharing your expertise!
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