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5 Great Pairings for Valentine's Day Bubbly

Robert Whitley on

We can all agree that Champagne adds a bit of sparkle to Valentine's Day. A box of chocolates will get high marks, too. So far so good, right? Until you take a bite of chocolate with a sip of Champagne. That's when the Valentine's mood is likely to sour.

Champagne and chocolate -- a traditional combination on Valentine's Day -- simply do not mix. The sweetness of the chocolate will make even the finest Champagne taste harsh and acidic, hardly a match made in heaven. So, what to do?

First of all, if chocolates are a must, then shy away from a brut Champagne or any other sparkling brut, no matter its reputation. A sweet Italian bubbly such as Brachetto d'Acqui, a red wine that shows bright raspberry and strawberry flavors, is excellent with chocolates.

But if Champagne (or its domestic equivalent) is a must, think an elegant dining experience with food selections that actually work with Champagne.

Here are five suggestions that are sure to win hearts and tummies.

1. Lobster with drawn butter. It's special, a real treat for ordinary folk, and it pairs nicely with the earthiness you will find in an older Champagne or sparkling wine.

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2. Caviar is the quintessential food pairing with Champagne, and like lobster, it's a rare treat for most of us, the sort of thing that will make your Valentine's Day memorable.

3. Smoked salmon on toast points brings out the smoky, savory notes inherent in the finest Champagne.

4. Oysters on the half shell are a classic with Champagne, which plays off the briny, salty, earthiness of the oyster and cleanses the palate like no other wine can.

5. Potato chips -- I kid you not -- are one of the great matches with Champagne. It's the salt. Champagne loves salt. Just try it!

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