Italian food and wine pairings for Valentine's Day
Italy has long been associated with love and romance - think Romeo and Juliet courting on the streets of Verona (ignoring the tragic ending of course...), the amorous sonnets of Petrarch, or Audrey Hepburn's Roman Holiday! Here are some of our suggestions for dishes and drinks pairings that will help to bring out your inner Casanova.
To kick off your dinner, why not create a cocktail just for your loved one? Prosecco-based cocktails are a great option, as bubbles are always festive and celebratory - and have the added bonus of being extremely easy to mix! Try adding a measure of Briottet Creme de Peche to your glass of Prosecco (may we suggest our Le Calle?) for a cheat's version of the classic Bellini.
For something stronger, a Negroni adds a touch of class to your evening (although be careful how many you have!) Mix Boxer Gin, La Copa Red Vermouth, and Campari over ice and garnish with a slice of orange.
There's no aphrodisiac more famous than the oyster, and if these feature on your Valentine's menu, why not ditch the Champagne and go for a glass of Italy's answer to premium fizz - Franciacorta. Our Miolo Brut Franciacorta DOCG is made from solely Chardonnay grapes, using the classic Champagne method, giving it a beautifully elegant citrus and biscuit character. Just the ticket with an oyster! It should also pair quite nicely with a Caprese Salad - just slice and layer Mozzarella, basil and tomatoes for a simple starter.
Steak and chips always seems to be a popular Valentine's choice, and for that you'll want a nice full bodied red - for a real treat my personal favourite is Clos Roareti's Rosso Veronese - a Merlot from the Veneto with real depth and complexity. Its richness will work even better if you put a Gorgonzola sauce with your steak!
If you're going down the seafood route, then how about tagliatelle with prawns (lobster if you're feeling fancy)? Italy has a wealth of white wine options to match with this - why not try Inama's Campo di Tovi Soave Classico or, for a real treat, Castel Juval's Muller Thurgau. Both are great matches to a variety of fish and seafood dishes.
If you're not meat eaters, then a mushroom and taleggio risotto is a beautifully indulgent choice - make it extra special by drizzling a little truffle oil on top before serving. For a real blow-the-budget treat, pair this with Antinori's Cervaro del Sala - a blend of Chardonnay and Grechetto that rivals the best of Burgundy. For a more budget-friendly option, the Kalsa Grillo is gorgeous, made from a native Sicilian grape variety that is wonderfully smooth and fruity.
Italian dessert doesn't get much better than a really good tiramisu - soak your biscuits in Vecchioflorio Marsala Dolce alongside the coffee for a really indulgent dessert. You'll have plenty of Marsala left over, so it would be rude not to serve a glass on the side! If you're too full for a real dessert, but still craving something sweet, serve a glass of Falchini Vin Santo del Chianti with cantucci biscuits on the side for dipping.