Valentines Day dinner suggestions and wine pairings
Author: Gus Murray
I'm going to start this blog with a word I will only say once, and once only...Lockdown (EURGH!) has seen an end for this of any plans we may typically have held for this day - a romantic date to see a show, candle light dinners in fancy restaurants, romantic meals out etc. But that doesn't mean we can't push the boat out for Valentine's Day in other ways.
While we can all agree that 2020/21 has certainly pushed us to our limits in some ways, it has also taught me (and all of us, I believe) about our resilience, compassion and what truly matters most...family and loved ones.
My wife was recently deployed for 6 months, which meant I was able to do some experimenting in the kitchen. I discovered I have the capacity to make a mean Roast...but also baking or, as the catering world would put it...'pastry work'! (Desserts!)
So, in line with my newfound love of cooking (when I can), here is my suggestion for Valentines and a romantic meal to cook, along with some wine pairing suggestions...
Romantic meals suggestions
Starter - King Prawns in Garlic Butter - simple to cook, but easy to get wrong by over or under cooking. But delicious to start with, and fantastic with one of my favourite wines...Assyrtiko from Greece, or Gavi di Gavi from Italy. Both are dry whites, with that zing of citrus that cuts through the butter and goes great with Prawns.
Another is a bottle of Rosé sparkling wine...that clean, acidity and light fruitiness just complementing the prawns...and what better way to start your evening than with a 'glass of giggles'! (more on Rosé fizz at the end of this blog...)
Main - Pan-fried Sea Bass with a citrus, caper dressing - Fish again, but it's simple and elegant. Delicious with some easy greens to go with it - spinach or broccoli for example. Sea Bass has a delicate flavour and you want a wine that isn't going to overpower it. Wines that I'd suggest would be a Pinot Bianco from Italy, or a Sancerre from France. I'd also recommend an English Bacchus, as this would go well with the Sea Bass, but also really complement those green veg!
Desert - Chocolate dipped Strawberries - certainly not labour intensive, by any stretch of the imagination, but this reminds me of one of my early dates with my wife. A glass of bubbles, curled up on the sofa, sharing some strawberries and marshmallows with some chocolate dipping sauce...the idea of a perfect date, and it was really quite nice way to finish a nice meal in. My suggestion for wines pairings - BUBBLES!! (we all love rosé but also white sparkling wine).
I hope the above has inspired your Valentines dinner maybe, or just made you chuckle at my expense. But I'd also plead that you buy and support your local shops this Valentines (and thereafter) ...whether it's for wine food, candles, or whatever...please do what you can to support your community.
For instance, at Stanlake Park there's a lovely Valentines gift pack with a bottle of Rosé Superior (their absolutely best-seller) to enjoy today, and an elegant, printed voucher valid for a wine tour and tasting for two: something to look forward to once all these bad times are over!
And Happy Valentine's Day from Stanlake Park.