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What’s a Wine Lover to do for Valentine’s Day

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I’m not a fan of going out on Valentine’s Day. Too many people, prices are hiked, and there’s SO MUCH PRESSURE  – I’d rather make a great meal at home and pull out on of those “special occasion” wines – but not everyone loves the kitchen like I do.

So, another way to celebrate is to do something fun around that day – instead of fighting the insanity.

Gone Crazy sign

Pick your favorite restaurant (or one you haven’t tried, but heard great things about!)  – and make a reservation (or just pop in and grab a table in the bar) Order several appetizers to share between the two of you. There are always special menus being created around this time, so don’t be afraid to try something new or unique! Then pick a slightly more expensive bottle of wine than you normally would. You’ll come out in the end spending about what you would for dinner, but you’ve experienced your evening in a tapas and wine fashion. The new experience will light that spark that you can carry into the rest of your evening.

Cheesy Romance Image

We all look like this, right?

Another way to do something different is to call your favorite restaurant and place an order for carry out. Once you’ve set the stage for a romantic evening at home, picking up a great bottle and then your favorite foods from the restaurant, all you have left to do is relax and enjoy the company of your favorite person. (and a little clean up later)

Dinner by the fire

There are always things happening around the city that might entice the wine lover in you.

Here are some wine events happening around Cleveland this week and next!

Winestyles in Fairview Park has their Wine and Chocolates Tasting on February 9 and again on February 11. Reservations are recommended. $10 for 6 wines, but its $5 if you spend $10 while you are there on wine/accessories.

Little Italy Wines will be pouring Italian wines from @TuscanyCLE from 5-9pm on Friday, February 10. $5 for 4 wines.

And the newest wine shop in Cleveland, The Wine Spot, will be having their St. Valentine’s Day Massacre from 4-7pm. With bubbly, wine, seasonal craft beer and fine chocolates from Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates – for $12 per person – and reservations are NOT required there.

If you are up for a bit MORE adventure – take a drive to Lake Erie Wine Country, just north of Erie, PA. From February 17-19, the more than 23 wineries in the area will have their Wine and Chocolate Weekend. Enjoy wine & delicious food samples at each of their 23 wineries for $35 per person. ($20 for DDs) While all wineries will have the chocolates out, many will be serving other savory dishes with their wines.  Tickets include a LEWC wineglass, a gift, a recipe booklet and a $5 voucher good toward wine at any winery or food at designated restaurants. Even if you don’t hit all 23 in the weekend. Even a few will make it worth the trip. More information: Lake Erie Wine Country.

Whatever you decide to do, just put a little thought into what your partner would like.

It works every time.

What do you do (or NOT do) for Valentine’s Day? Leave some ideas in comments!

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Beer Love for Valentine’s

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Throughout February I’ll be putting up guest posts from some great women I know who know their beer. While I don’t necessarily agree that beer is a better pairing <ahem> I am a fan of the brew, and have some great craft beer and cupcakes events coming up soon!  This is a completely different pairing adventure – Enjoy!

If you are looking for a creative pairing that isn’t winecentric  – perhaps your significant other is a beer fan? Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to try a new adventure. This first post is from the wonderful Renee DeLuca, the Brewer’s Daughter. See more about her at the end. Many thanks to Renee for this great creative contribution!

His and Hers Beers

Valentine’s Day often brings to mind Cupid, roses, romantic dinners, chocolate and wine for two…but let’s not forget about delicious craft beer pairings that will romance any palate! Men and women alike are discovering that beer and food go better together than wine ever could—think about it: wine is always going to have that grape note. With beer, the flavor possibilities are endless.

Your options for fantastic food and brew combinations have never been greater. Here are some of my favorite pairings for beer lovers. Get to your local beer specialty store and ask for further recommendations when it comes to specific breweries.

Valentine’s Day Brew Menu for Two

Starting with a nibble on some cheese and crackers? Each type of cheese longs to be paired with a different type of beer. Some of my favorite combinations include an aged Gouda with a brown ale, Marscapone or an herbed cheese with a Hefeweizen, or a sharp blue cheese with a crisp IPA.

Add a burst of romantic red to your salad by tossing in some dried cranberries or tart pomegranate seeds. Pair with a light Kolsch or cream ale.

Sharing a seafood dinner? Try those aphrodisiastic oysters with a dry stout. Or pair a blackened fish with nice porter for balance. Perhaps crabcakes and an Abbey Tripel. Mild fish or some steamed mussels and a witbier.

Lovers with a hearty appetite for roast beef or lamb will appreciate a Scotch ale with dinner. Or how about a petite filet and strong ale to balance out?

Dessert on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to include chocolate, but it often does. There are many delicious chocolate stouts, bocks and porters. Don’t just drink them with your dessert—cook with them! Add beer to your brownies? Oh yes! But dessert pairings go beyond the obvious.

Top that bread pudding with an Abbey Dubbel reduction. How about ice cream made with beer? Several brands are now including brews in their ice cream recipes too—why not make a beer float? Fruit desserts call for a nice Helles or Dortmunder style beer.

The key to enjoying delicious beer and food pairings is to keep your mind and your taste buds open to all the possibilities. And as in romance, you never know when an unexpected pleasure will surprise you and become a lifelong love. Cheers and happy Valentine’s Day!

Renée M. DeLuca, is the daughter of pioneer microbrewer Jack McAuliffe. As owner of The Brewer’s Daughter Marketing & Public Relations Agency, she offers media and marketing services within the craft beer industry. She lives in NE Ohio with her husband, two teenagers, a 100 lb. yellow lab, two cats, and a refrigerator full of beer. You can find her on Twitter or read what she’s got to say here

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