I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but at some point in the last 17 years, Valentine’s Day became more of a holiday about which red, tinsel-covered chocolate I’d buy for my kids, and less of a Cupid-filled one for my husband and me (I like to believe we don’t need a Hallmark holiday for that, anyway).
Although romance has a time and a place in our everyday lives, I do recall a particular time when my husband and I went away for a weekend in search of something a little more special, surrounded by the vines and wines of California’s Napa Valley. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out quite like we’d expected.
After a lazy morning and breakfast at the inn where we were staying, we ambled into town to rent bicycles to fulfill our romantic mission of visiting wineries on two wheels. It turned out that the only bicycle available was a tandem bike, for two. We took it. Sounds romantic–perhaps for the couple where one partner does ALL the driving–but it quickly turned into a rather memorable nightmare.
“You’re going too fast. Can’t you hit the brakes once in a while?” I yelled from the rear.
“Stop braking!” my husband retorted with frustration. “We’ll never make it up the next hill if we don’t get any speed.”
With each winery, and each tasting, the fighting got more intense (I’ll admit, I was probably the more vocal complainer). By the afternoon, we were hardly speaking to one another. But then, we arrived at a winery where wine was not the only thing on the tasting menu.
Chocolate. They offered each visitor a bowl filled with rich, dark chunks of mouth-watering chocolate to taste with their mouth-watering Zinfandel. Everything in me got a little lighter, smoother, mellower (no more yelling on the bike; now I let him do the pedaling, the breaking, all the work). It’s been more than ten years since that Napa trip, and I still remember the chocolate melting on my tongue, washed down with the spice of the full-bodied wine.
I was hooked. Not on the wine, but on the pairing of the two, and it seems I’m not alone.
While doing some research, I came across numerous articles and websites featuring the dangerously sexy combo of wine and chocolate. The different types of Green & Black Chocolates (70% dark is a personal favorite) are featured on About.com. And you can get some good tips on pairing wine and chocolate on The Daily Sip.
The chart below, from The Nibble.com, was taken from a survey in which they asked readers, “What Do You Drink With Chocolate?”
|Here’s what readers drink
|…though quite a few said they drank…(continued in
the next column header)
|“Absolutely nothing! Great chocolate must be enjoyed on its own.”
- Banyuls or Maury
- Brachetto D’Acqui
- Cabernet Sauvignon/Bordeaux/
- Framboise (Bonny
Doon Dessert Wine)
- Hungarian Tonka
- Late Harvest
- Liqueurs: Anisette,
- Mas Amiel
- Muscat/Moscato di
- Pinot Noir
- Port: Ruby, Tawny,
- Sherry: Cream,
- Single Malt
- Vin Jaun
- Vin Santo
Valentine’s Day or not, romance or not, there’s always chocolate AND/OR wine…
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