There’s something about Valentine’s Day that just makes us want to drink more wine. Granted, we are almost always trying to find ways to drink more vino here in wine country. But for some reason, certain holidays seem to draw out the really special wine and food pairings for us.
If you’re looking for a last-minute recipe, we’ve got a few pairings that are super easy to execute — but won’t fail to impress your dinner date.
Sauterne is a classic choice for Valentine’s Day. This delicate, sweet wine hails from the Sauternais region of Bordeaux. The three grapes that compose Sauterne are sauvignon blanc, Muscadelle and Semillon. Botrytis, a form of Noble Rot (benevolent fungus), infests the grapes and the fruit shrivels. This rears a sweet, high-alcohol wine — classically known as a dessert wine. It tastes perfect with cheese, fruit or for a special occasion, foie gras.
Sauterne and Foie Gras Pairing
We recommend pairing your foie gras with late harvest Sauterne. You can pair the wine with just about any foie gras recipe, but we recommend the seared foie gras recipe below.
Other Foie Gras Pairing Options
For some, pairing Sauterne and foie gras is a little too on the nose. While we’re not opposed to “on the nose” (hey, cliches are cliches for a reason, right?), we get that some people love the classics — and others are a little more “food forward.”
If you fall into the latter category (or, just want to prove to you S.O. that you’re a rebel), try pairing your foie gras with any young wine. Depending on the context of your foie gras (are you serving it as a stand-alone dish or a part of a recipe?) you might want to consider your other ingredients in your wine pairing.
Seared Foie Gras Recipe
Seared foie gras is the perfect dish to serve on Valentine’s Day. It’s decadent and flavorful. It’s a dish that shows your dinner date you’re not messing around. It’s also ridiculously easy to make — but your date doesn’t need to know that.
This recipe is so forkin’ easy that you can hardly call it a recipe. You only need one ingredient (foie gras) and three kitchen tools (a nonstick or cast-iron pan, a knife and a spatula). The only seasonings are salt and pepper.
Simply allow the foie gras to come to room temperature. Slice it about ½ inch thick. Score the flat surfaces with a knife. Heat the pan up so it’s super hot. Place a slice of scored foie gras in the pan. Cook for 30 seconds; flip and cook for another 30 seconds. Let it rest on a cutting board.
Whatever you do, don’t fear the foie gras. If you’re worried about making a mistake, start with your smallest piece to use as a test piece.
Foie gras is so flavorful it can stand on its own. You technically don’t need to serve it with anything. Now, if you want to get a little more creative, you could always serve it with a sweet sauce to balance out its buttery, salty flavor. (Yes, you can even use port if you want to incorporate more wine into your meal.) Stone fruits are also a good option. In fact, you can grill the stone fruits after you sear your foie gras.
Sparkling Wine and White Chocolate
Another classic pairing for Valentine’s Day is wine and chocolate. For some, you can’t mess with the classics; others want to get as far out of the ‘box’ as possible.
No matter what category you find yourself in, sparkling wine and white chocolate is the perfect pairing to switch up your Valentine’s Day. The holiday was practically made for bubbly, and white chocolate balances out the tart bite in any Brut or dry prosecco.
If you’re a purist, you could always just head to your favorite chocolatier and pick up a dozen or so white chocolate truffles. Or, if you’re up for an easy challenge, this Elegant White Chocolate Mousse is easy to make — and you can make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge.
Pair it with a crisp, California brut — or an off-dry prosecco.
The good news is that it’s hard to go wrong on Valentine’s Day when you have a great wine and good company. We’re sure that with the right wine, you could order a pizza and it would still be romantic (though we don’t recommend trying that February 14!).