Valentine’s Day is coming up, and most of us instantly think chocolate when we hear wine and truffles, right? Well, this could be the proverbial chocolate-and-wine-pairing blog, and don’t get me wrong, chocolate and wine is good, but let’s put a spin on it this year, and sip and savor.
Let us expand our palate pleasure and take a savory trip to Truffle-Town.
Consider the other truffle this holiday. Expanding on the pairing of truffles and wine, head to the earthy, unctuous, and elegant fungi truffle. Yes, you read right, but do not despair. If you like savory and that perfect pairing, keep reading! You won’t find these truffles in a sweet shop; on the contrary these are found bedded around trees and forest floors. Truffles are hypogeous fungi that grow close to the roots of trees and develop intense aromas when reaching maturity, in order to attract animals to eat them and, in doing so, spread the spores. Truffles can be found all over the world; however, are mostly found in France, Italy and Spain. Coincidentally, you can also find great wine in each of those countries.
Italy is often considered the land of love and romance. After all, that’s where we met Romeo and Juliet. For romantic dining consider a wine from Juliet’s birthplace such as the Passimento Rosso Veneto, or the Massimago "Zurlie" Sparkling Rosé, and pair either with Tartufo Bianco, white truffle risotto. Or a Barolo, with a steak topped with truffle carpaccio.
Departing Italy, head to España for Black Winter Truffles. Spain is rich with black truffles, with the most production in the northeastern Girona Forest. Black truffles can be a bit pricey, but this is a special evening! To keep costs reasonable, and so you can still afford the roses, use shaved truffles over potatoes with some type of game meat, like venison or lamb, with Burgo Viejo Reserva Rioja DOCa Spain. The dark fruit and spicy characters of this wine will complement the earthy, gamey notes of the truffles and meat.
If your favorite companion on Valentines Day is a romantic movie like Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Casablanca, C’est la vie! One of the best pairings with truffles is Champagne!! Have some popcorn popped in white truffle oil, or just grab a bag of truffle potato chips and pop a bubbly! The salty, earthy combination is a heavenly partner to a yeasty brioche glass of bubbles, and poof, your night has been elevated to elegance.
If all of this savory earthy talk has left you longing for the sweet type, or if you decide to choose one of the above pairings for your evening, and you want a sweet finish, a few things to keep in mind: chocolate has tannins just as red wine does, so remember this, when pairing. A “big” chocolate goes with a “big” wine. A sweeter truffle pairs with a wine with some fruitiness to it, like the Barrell Oak Winery Chocolate Lab. However, if your truffle is more on the dark side and not sweet, you do not want a sweet wine; choose a rich port or a “big” wine, like Petit Verdot. If you have never tried Madeira and want a new experience, try a Madeira and something with salt, like a truffle sprinkled with sea salt. It’s a game changer! The unique raisiny notes of the Madeira are a perfect companion to sweet-salty.
We hope you enjoyed this trip, and are inspired to venture from the sweet truffle to the savory one, and find your own favorite pairing! After all, the trials and trips with pairing are the most fun! Let us know what you discover! Cheers to you from truffletown, and Happy Valentine’s Day!