The Top 5 Valentine's Day Food & Sherry Pairings

06 February 2018

Oysters & Manzanilla

Oysters have been viewed as a potent aphrodisiac for centuries, Casanova supposedly ate 50 oysters each day for breakfast to aid his romantic exploits. However in terms of the science behind the theory, studies have identified that raw oysters contain amino acids that help increase levels of some hormones. Furthermore, their high zinc content assists with testosterone production. But maybe it’s really the manner of sharing a platter over a dinner table, slurping down their salty briney flavours that actually makes them the perfect food for love.

Manzanilla is a great wine to combine with fish and especially seafood. Some people believe they can taste the saltiness of the sea in their glass, which makes it a match made in heaven for pairing with Oysters.

Asparagus & Fino

As well as its somewhat suggestive appearance, Asparagus contains vitamin B that helps increase histamine and is a strong source of Vitamin E, which can increase the production of hormones in both men and women. Dipped in butter or romesco sauce it's another dish good for eating with your fingers and sharing

Fino is a great match for all types of fish, meat and vegetable tapas dishes and its low acidity enables it to work well with salad dressings.  Similarly in this pairing with Roasted Asparagus Salad, an aged Manzanilla Pasada gives additional complexity and structure to compliment the distinctive asparagus flavours.

Roasted Asparagus salad Recipe

Artichokes & Amontillado

Legend states that the Greek God Zeus created the artichoke.  After his advances were rejected by a beautiful woman he turned her somewhat unromantically into a thistle! The vegetable with a soft heart, artichokes are another food great for sharing, eating with your hands and getting messy with buttery dipping sauce. Whether you believe in the seductive power of the artichoke or not, they're packed with healthy antioxidants and delicious to boot.

For the ideal marriage, the nutty yet fresh flavours of Amontillado ensure it combines perfectly with flavoursome vegetables, in particular artichokes.

Spicy Food & Medium Sherry

Spicy food warms you up, stimulates nerve endings and increases the blood flow. Chillis increase the heart rate and stimulate the body to release endorphins, the natural feelgood chemicals that cause you to sweat and flush at the cheek. We don't need to tell you what this will remind you of!  Quite literally spicy food can put you in the mood for love.

Which sherry would you guess pairs best with spicy food? Served chilled, Medium sherry is the most suitable match, try our recipe for Spiced Prawns to combine shellfish and spice for added success!

Chocolate and Pedro Ximenez

Chocolate clearly has a strong modern day association as a gift for Valentine’s Day, however chocolate has through history played a role as an aphrodisiac. The Mayans used cacao beans as currency to cajole a night of passion, whereas Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, was rumoured to need fifty cups of chocolate every day to satisfy his many wives. So what’s the science bit? It comes down to two key elements found in chocolate, phenethylamine and tryptophan. Phenethylamine is a stimulant released in the brain when we fall in love, whilst tryptophan helps produce serotonin, which is associated with enhanced moods and arousal.  The sweetness and velvety texture add to the sensuous nature of chocolate, making it a fabulous way to end to a meal.

Lusciously sweet Pedro Ximenez is the perfect partner for chocolate desserts, try this recipe with the addition of smoked nuts as a sweet treat for that special someone.

Chocolate mousse with smoked nuts Recipe

And if you’re not feeling hungry, then just stick with the sherry, your Valentine is sure to appreciate this most versatile of wines, guaranteed to fall head over heels in love!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of El Consejo Regulador.
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