Today is Valentine’s Day and you know what that means: More likely than not, someone in your life, be it a best friend, favorite coworker, or longtime lover (though hopefully they know better by now) will be giving you one of those shitty heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. Let’s be real, here; it’s definitely the thought that counts. We appreciate gifts no matter what they are. But those cheap, processed chocolates are pretty terrible.
Still, when paired with delicious wine, the chocolates become slightly more bearable, almost good. Almost. So crack a bottle, unwrap those chocolates, and get to gorging. Hey, it’s Valentine’s Day and you deserve it.
Raspberry Cream – Chambord
We’re going straight raspberry on raspberry with this one. Chambord is a raspberry liqueur produced in the Loire Valley of France. It’s sweet and relatively low in alcohol (16.5 percent), making it a perfect companion for these subpar raspberry cream candies.
Roman Nougat – Oloroso Sherry
Ugh. The Nougat. It’s the worst one in the box, but it’s made slightly more bearable when paired with an Oloroso Sherry. This dry, golden-brown-colored sherry presents raisiny aromas of dried fruit. Dark and nutty, this wine is an ideal choice to serve with this all-around hated chocolate-box item.
Coconut Cream – Late-Harvest Chenin Blanc
One of the better ones in the box, the sweet, creamy coconut flavors need a wine that presents equally rich, tropical fruit flavors. Look to a late-harvest Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley, specifically from Coteaux du Layon, Bonnezeaux, or Quarts de Charmes, for a nutty, coconut romance.
Peanut Butter Crunch – Ruby Port
You know it’s PB Crunch when there’s two little candies placed in one pathetic box square, eager to jump into your mouth and get stuck in all of your back teeth. While we know it sounds crazy, pairing this wine with a bottle of Ruby Port will taste like a chocolatey, PB&J explosion in your mouth. Sorry, you’ll still have to pick your teeth when you’re done.
Buttercream Filling – Moscato d’Asti
Buttercream-filled candies aren’t the worst in the box, but they’re definitely not the best. The uber-sweet filling is extremely reminiscent to white cake frosting, both of which go beautifully with a frothy Moscato d’Asti.
Nut Clusters – Tawny Port
O.K., the nut clusters aren’t so bad. Whether it’s almond, cashew, or any other random nut they’ve thrown in there, pair with a Tawny Port to experience a caramel-nut-chocolate gastronomical heaven.
Fruit & Caramel – Muscat de Beaumes de Venise
Hope you’re ready for gooey teeth with this candy. Why is the caramel always SO HARD to chew? Pair with a Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, a light VDN from the southern part of the Rhone Valley, to complement all of those sweet fruit and caramel flavors.
Caramel Filling – Madeira
So. Much. Chewing. At least a fortified wine from the Portuguese islands of Madeira makes it all worth it. The nutty, oxidized flavors are flawless with caramel. Make sure to get a sweet bottle, of course; as with Sherries, Madeira comes in an array of flavor profiles, ranging from nutty dry to syrupy sweet.
Chocolate Truffle – Banyuls
These chocolate-on-chocolate treats always get us thinking we’re about to have a decadent truffle, and then, somehow, they fall short. Let a bottle of Banyuls, a sweet VDN from Languedoc-Roussillon, help cheer up your disappointment. These sweet red wines are ideal with chocolate and are a nice change up for Ruby Port drinkers.