Valentine’s Day is approaching, and if you’re like us, you’ve got wine-and-dining on the brain. A good beverage pairing should be like a good date: interesting and exciting but not overwhelming or overpowering. So, whether you’re looking for the best beer to match your better-than-takeout curry, the perfect wine for a romantic dinner, or want to try your hand at dessert pairing, we’ve got matches made in heaven for your Valentine’s Day meal.
We’re offering suggested beverage pairings for two dishes and one dessert on the menu for the week of February 10–16. For each selected dish, the Test Kitchen sat down and sampled it alongside two potential pairings before selecting a winner. Take a behind-the-scenes look at our tasting process—and add the recipes to your box!
Thai Shrimp Curry
With creamy coconut curry, tender shrimp, rice noodles, and spicy Thai chile, this dish reminded us of something we’d order at our favorite Thai restaurant. To drink, we wanted something crisp and bubbly that would highlight all those piquant and aromatic flavors—so we selected two different Belgian beers, a tripel and a farmhouse saison.
Tripels are essentially very strong, rich pale ales with a dry, malty sweetness balanced by hops. We enjoyed the beer on its own, but found it a bit overpowering with some of the more delicate aromatics in the curry. The saison, however, was a natural fit. Notes of ginger, blossom, and citrusy hops were an excellent complement to the curry, and we loved how the sweeter grain notes provided balance for the spicy chiles.
Want to learn more about why we loved this duo? Try the recipe for yourself!
Fancy chicken and potatoes is a classic Valentine’s Day meal, so to pair, we wanted something that felt festive and celebratory and could balance the richer aspects of the dish. After much debate, we narrowed our pairing down to two options: an elegant Pinot Noir from Oregon and a robust rosé from Tavel in France’s Southern Rhône.
With mouthwatering acidity and smooth tannins, Pinot Noir is a classic match for poultry, and we enjoyed it with this dish. More herbal than fruity, we particularly appreciated the way the wine brought out the rosemary on the potatoes.
But when we tried the dish alongside the rosé, we were smitten. Rosés from Tavel tend to be very dry, with a deep-pink color and more body and structure than other rosés. This textural complexity cut through the richness of the crispy potatoes and the cranberry-garlic compound butter on the chicken just enough that it kept us coming back for more of both the wine and the dish. Plus, the eye-catching pink color felt fun and special for the holiday—we’ll take our valentines in wine form this year, thank you very much.
Has this pairing caught your eye? Add the recipe to your box!
For our first foray into dessert beverage pairings, we sought a match for our decadent, creamy, tiramisu cheesecakes. Rather than go the dessert wine route, we decided to try two dark beers to match with the rich flavors and textures: a black porter and a chocolate stout.
We loved the porter on its own and were hopeful about its pairing potential with its maltiness and notes of semisweet chocolate and café au lait. However, the chocolate stout had a fuller body that stood up to the decadence and creaminess of the cheesecake. With a rich, roasty flavor and aromas of coffee and chocolate, this reminded us of sipping an espresso while enjoying a sweet treat—the perfect beverage to help you savor the dessert.
Craving this pairing for yourself? Try out the recipe and let us know what you think!
Recipe contributed by Plated Recipe Editor Sara Heegaard.
This article is intended for individuals 21-years-old and over. Please drink responsibly.
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