Valentine’s Day is drawing near and romance is in the air. If you’re planning an intimate night in with your partner, a mouth-watering meal and some excellent wine are perfect for getting the evening off to a great start. Here are our top tips for getting just the right balance of passion and culinary delight into your Valentine celebration.

Keep it simple

The last thing you want is to be stuck in the kitchen fighting with your food rather than sat at the table with your partner. Look for simple but suitably decadent recipes that are easy to put together and which you both enjoy. If you don’t really know what your partner’s tastes are it pays to ask. You certainly don’t want to cook up a juicy steak and suddenly find your new love is a vegan.

Presentation is everything

While the food is important, the presentation for a Valentine’s Day meal is a big part of the fun. There will be plenty of opportunities to add a touch of romance here and there. A candle burning on the table or a rose placed on a plate may all seem cliched but this is, after all, Valentine’s Day. Remember, we have five senses and you should try to play to all of these to create the right atmosphere. Plan with romance in mind, everything from how you are going to present food on the plate and the music to the lighting and the smell and taste of the your cooking.

Pairing wine with your Valentine’s Day meal

This is a special occasion and it’s nice to start off with something quintessentially romantic. A nice, chilled glass of bubbly is a great way to begin. It’s light and refreshing and the perfect little ice-breaker.

Starter Sparkling wine is a great choice if your starter is something like a camembert baked in its box. This is a great food to share together with some crusty, French style baguette. Then again, maybe you’re going to try something utterly decadent and go for the traditional caviar. Main Seafood is the perfect choice for a romantic meal because of its supposed aphrodisiac effects. Whether you settle for oysters or lobster, you want something light and refreshing to go with it. We suggest a really well-chilled bottle of white burgundy to really compliment the delicate taste of the seafood.   If you’re choosing a traditional steak for your romantic meal a full-bodied red is usually the best choice. Go for something like a Malbec, Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon. For an extra special wine, you could try a Monastrell which comes with the earthy taste and aroma of Black Forest fruits. Or maybe a taste of northern Italy might be more to your liking, in which case try a tantalizing dry red Barolo.    If you’re cooking a vegan Valentine’s delight, there’s also plenty of choice out there. Vegan wines have become increasingly popular over the last few years and you can now find everything from a fruity Merlot to a fantastic Rioja to complement your meal. Should you be planning something a little lighter for your main course, try a fresh and fruity vegan Pinot Grigio to tantalise your palate.  Dessert Of course, no Valentine’s Day meal would be complete without an utterly decadent sweet to finish. Chocolate and strawberries are the traditional combination and for this, and you need a wine that has sweet undertones but isn’t too over-powering. A red Zinfandel is a good choice as it gives just the right balance to the slightly bitter taste of dark chocolate combined with the sweet juice of the strawberry. If you want to cleansing your palate after a chocolate feast, a glass of sparkling wine is a great alternative.

Don’t forget your wine etiquette

There are a few bits of wine etiquette you’ll need to help add to the romance: 1-If you’ve made the invitation and cooked the food, you should also pour the glasses of wine and not leave it your date. 2-While you should be attentive and top up their glass when needed, don’t force the issue if your partner doesn’t want more. 3- When choosing a nice red, check the wine to see if it needs to be decanted and how long you should leave it to breath. 4- Finally, if you’re having wine, be it a sparkling white or a sumptuous red, make sure that you serve it at the right temperature. Whatever your plans for Valentine’s, have a wide range of quality reds, whites and sparkling wines to make it a memorable evening. 

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