Photo: kamoda, Flickr
Unless you're hiding under a rock, you've noticed that, in the days leading up to Valentine's Day, chocolate varieties flood the market. Make your Valentine's more romantic and indulgent with these gourmet chocolate-and-wine varietal pairings.
Green & Black's Organic Chocolate Peanut Bar ($3.50, 3.5 oz)
This smooth-tasting bar is a mix of milk chocolate (37 percent, to be exact), caramelized organic peanuts and sea salt. An Aussie Shiraz – for its fruit-forward, jammy notes – would stack up well with this bar. Or, if you're a fan of whites, consider Gewürztraminer; its sweet notes will contrast nicely with the sea salt.
Harry & David Bing Cherry Chocolates ($22.95, for a 16-oz box)
Embedded inside each of these double-dipped chocolate balls is a dried (but juicy!) bing cherry. Yet when paired with a festive, sparkling Rosé – such as Cupcake Vineyards Brut Rosé, $16, which has a nose of wild strawberries – the chocolate reveals a softer finish.
Vosges Haut Chocolat Mo's Milk Chocolate Bacon Bar ($7.50, 3 oz)
Riding high on the bacon trend is this bar from a cult chocolatier with roots in Chicago. There's a lot of smokiness in this 41-percent cacao chocolate (from the applewood-smoked bacon and Alderwood-smoked salt) and that's why a Pinot Noir will pair best. We suggest any Pinot Noir from Barnett Vineyards, which is in the Spring Mountain District of Napa and produces wonderful Pinots with smoky, earthy notes.
Lindt Classic Recipes Milk Hazelnut Bar ($3.50, 4.4 oz)
Hazelnut flavor can stand up to the effervescence in a bottle of sparkling wine without a problem. The two are rich, creamy and powerful. In this Swiss-made bar, "gently roasted" hazelnuts (or so promises the packaging) are combined with silky milk chocolate, providing wonderful mouthfeel.