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Cupid’s Corner - Tips on the Traditional Valentine’s Day Gifts

The February chill is in the air, but Valentine’s Day warms our hearts. You've been pierced by Cupid's arrow and find yourself out looking for a special gift for that special someone. Not wanting to make things too complicated, you decide on one of the tried and true options for Valentine's Day; wine and chocolate and/or flowers. However, you don't want to grab just any ol' bottle of wine and container of chocolates thinking it will be a match made in heaven. All of a sudden, the stakes are high!

Picking out the perfect bouquet of flowers can be intimidating if you don't know what to look for. Also, there is much more to chocolate then those stale generic chocolates found at chain stores during the holidays and Valentine’s Day!

Well, fear not. Team Oliver’s has you covered! Read on for some helpful hints on wine and chocolate match-ups AND tips on finding the best bouquet of flowers or roses that strikes your fancy – and his or hers, too. 

Chocolate + Wine = Satisfaction

Ask most people what the ideal partner for wine is on Valentine's Day and hands down you're going to hear “chocolate” without hesitation. However, this traditional “couple” doesn't always click. A sweet piece of milk chocolate can deliver a bitter taste with certain wines while a tannic wine can drown out the nuances of certain chocolates. So what gives? With just a little attention to detail, you can make it work and create a delicious wine and chocolate pairing that pulls on your heart strings!

When pairing wine with chocolate, you should treat this endeavor like pairing wine with food. In general, you want to pair lighter flavored chocolates with lighter bodied wines, and more full flavored chocolates with more full bodied wines.

When thinking of Valentine’s pairings, the classic romantic beverage, Champagne and chocolate come to mind—but this can be tricky because Champagne is usually dry and acidic, so it needs a creamier chocolate to balance. There is no right or wrong answer, but your odds of a great match rise with these general guidelines. Give them a try and see what you think, and most importantly, have fun!

Extra Dark Chocolate (70% cacao)

Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Barolo, Malbec

Medium Dark Chocolate (60% cacao)

Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Chianti, Rhone

Smooth Dark Chocolate (54% cacao)

Pinot Noir, Port

Milk Chocolate (46%cacao)

Port, Sherry, Dessert Wines, Riesling

White Chocolate

Try pairing white chocolate with Pedro Ximénez Sherry, Moscato d'Asti, Riesling, Gewurztraminer or Orange Muscat.

Ironically, in spite of the name white chocolate, the sweet and creamy white confection is technically not chocolate at all. It is commonly made with cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids, but does not contain cocoa solids.

This week, we have Michel Cluizel chocolates on sale for $14.99 for a 10-12 piece, 4 oz. package. Michel Cluizel began producing chocolate in 1948 in Damville, Normandy. Cluizel has developed a direct, sustainable relationship with renowned cocoa plantations world-wide. This enables them to find the best cocoa beans in the world, guaranteeing the best possible cocoa traceability. With Michel Cluizel, you get nothing but the best.

Picking the Perfect Flower

Here are some quick guidelines for choosing flowers. A lot of people pick up flowers only once or twice a year, so I thought a few tips could be helpful. Of course, if you have any questions feel free to ask our floral experts in the floral department at your nearest Oliver’s Market.

Look for bouquets where most of the blossoms are tight looking. This means that they are very fresh and will continue to open once you get them home. While bouquets that have blossoms that are fully open and showy are very beautiful, it means that they have been cut for a longer period of time and won't last as long as a bouquet with tighter blossoms.

If a bouquet of roses is what you're after, you want to gently feel the head of the flower and make sure that it is firm, but not mushy or soft. It is important to change the water daily so that bacteria doesn't form. While changing the water, trim a little bit of the ends off of the stems to ensure that your bouquet can soak up as much water as possible.

Following these quick and easy tips will guarantee that you will play the perfect Cupid this Valentine's Day. 

 

About the Author: Matt Rice

Matt Rice

Matt Rice is Oliver's intrepid blogger on all topics related to wine, beer, cider, spirits, and other gourmet products.

 


Where "Local" Means Sonoma County

To us Local means Sonoma County -- period. Not Marin, not Napa, and definitely not the state of California, as some of our competitors define it.

From the day we opened our doors in 1988, we’ve built our business on the simple premise that the best food and wine in the world are produced here, in Sonoma County. We didn’t feel like we were pioneers at the time, but as people have come to understand and embrace the value of locally grown and made food and the value of shopping locally, we realize we were part of the early days of the movement.

As a Sonoma County business, we’ve built enduring relationships with local growers, makers, and manufacturers, because they make the foods and wines we love. Many of them were getting started when we were. Now they are nationally known, but for us, they are still old friends who often delivered products to our Cotati store in their cars back in the late 1980s.

Along with local products being excellent choices for taste and quality reasons, buying locally also improves our local economy. The dollars you spend at local retailers buying local products support other local businesses and our tax base, too!

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