Here we are again: St. Valentine’s Day. To be honest, I know that it’s even difficult to decide what to eat in a regular day’s dinner, and when it’s intended to be a special one, it’s even harder to decide. But no worries, as every year, I also have suggestions about it this year – all of them are previously tried and tasted (even eaten) by me, so you can trust that it’ll be a harmonious pairing.
I believe everybody will be able to find something suitable for themselves in these pairings: Food-wise I’ve put some seafood, meat or vegetarian options, while wine-wise I have white, red or sparkling…
1. Louis Roederer, Brut Premier Champagne, paired with Smörgåstårta
I’ve already shared the recipe for Smörgåstårta before, it’s such a great meal, full of seafood, easy to prepare and serve, looks extremely pretty and tastes delicious. What else you can expect from a dish?
This time, instead of a still wine, I’ve paired it with a sparkling wine: Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne. If you ask me the definition of perfect pairing, that would be it!
2. Perrier-Jouët, Belle Epoque, Rosé 2006, paired with pasta pappardelle with giant shrimp and avocado sauce.
Preparing this meal is quite easy: First start with the avocado sauce; ingredients are avocado, garlic, Parmesan cheese, walnuts, olive oil and salt – mash everything until they become a paste. Grill the shrimp. Meanwhile boil the water and cook the paste al dente. The rest will depend on your plate decoration skills.
Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé 2006 was my wine favorite sparkling wine of 2018, luckily had chance to taste it twice, and in both of them it gave me pure joy. To be honest, this is one of the wines that I had the hardest time deciding on the pairing because it’s so good that nothing seem to be enough for it. But this dish made a great company, also visually.
3. Bodegas Casa Rojo, The Orange Republic, Godello sobre lias 2016, paired with Nova Scotia lobster and risotto.
I am lucky to live in Nova Scotia where grows very tasty lobsters and it’s possible to buy them with good prices. Any dish becomes a special one with the addition of lobster. In this case, I’ve used the lobster claws, just boiled and then heated a little bit on a buttered pan for the taste. As a side dish, risotto and some baby carrots – to completing the plate with veggies!
To be honest, making good risotto is not an easy task – I have years of practicing to find the perfect recipe. I am using very high quality carnaroli rice from Po Valley of Italy. Other very important part is the broth: This time I’ve used lobster, onion, asparagus, carrot and tomato… And of course more onion, white wine and some Parmesan cheese went into it during cooking. The result was an al dente and creamy risotto. For baby carrots: I’ve boiled them for couple of minutes and sautéed them with some butter and maple syrup. It becomes very crispy.
For pairing, I’ve chosen a wine produced with Godello grapes from denomination of origen Valdeorras, in this case it was harvested in 2016, aged on lees. The name “The Orange Republic” comes from the vicinity of the vineyard to the orange orchard. Inside of its the elegant and rich bouquet, it’s even possible to smell orange blossoms.
4. Kocabag Wines, K of Kapadokya, Emir 2017, paired with buffalo burrata served on grilled eggplant and zucchini
This is for vegetarians, and for those of you who loves veggies. Eggplant and zucchini are so tasty when they are grilled with olive oil. If you are not afraid of the smell, add some garlic into it (it might not be the most romantic atmosphere though!).
5. Kayra Wines, Terra Varietal Series, Kalecik Karasi 2017, paired with Hünkâr beğendi (with sauted lamb) and basmati rice pilaf.
Literally translation of hünkâr beğendi from Turkish would be “the sovereign/sultan liked it”. And I liked it even more! But let me be honest: my mom cooked this one. It’s her specialty – she cooks it for me whenever I am home! I don’t have her secret recipe but to wrap it up: Grill the eggplant on fire without peeling the skin. Once the eggplant is cooked, mash it and stir with milk, melted butter and roasted flour, and the final ingredient is kashkaval cheese. It is served with with cubes of sauteed lamb with a sauce of tomato, green pepper and onion on top. As a side dish, basmati rice pilaf is served as well.
My wine selection to this delicious meal was a wine from an indigenous variety called Kalecik Karasi, this one is from 2017 and called Terra, produced by Kayra Wines.
6. Chehalem, 3 Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013, paired with duck leg confit and risotto d’orzo with shiitake mushrooms.
This has been a very honest article but I have to say that the duck leg confit was pre-cooked and frozen! So of course, it was very easy to make it – just following the instructions on the package to heat it up. As a side dish I’ve made a risotto, but instead of using rice, I’ve used orzo – which technically is pasta but it definitely gives a great taste to it. To make the broth I’ve used shiitake mushrooms and white wine.
The wine that I’ve paired was a Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley of Oregon, produced by Chehalem Winery.
No matter what you eat & drink, I hope you all have a tasty and lovely St. Valentine’s Day!
All images © 2019 by Neslihan IVIT. All rights reserved.