Bottega Gold Prosecco for Valentines Day

Bottega Gold Brut Prosecco

Bottega Gold Brut Prosecco

Have you been thinking about what sparkling wine you can buy for your Valentine without breaking the bank? Champagne may have first popped into your mind, but maybe you could also consider Italian Prosecco? Prosecco is generally made, lighter bodied and maybe a bit off dry, making it a fun indulgence to share with friends and family.

I recently received a bottle of Bottega Gold Brut (BC $24.99) to sample.  It comes in a very striking gold coloured bottle, making it look very special for a special day like Valentine’s Day.

In the glass this wine is pale lemon in colour.  A light intensity nose of flowers and citrus, with a hint of lime in the background.  This one is dry on the palate with medium plus acidity and light body.  Agressive, medium sized, creamy bubbles.  Citrus, apple, a hint of lime, and some lemon rind on the palate.  Medium length.  Overall a straight forward wine to enjoy with friends.  It should pair well with crab cakes, stuffed mushrooms, goat cheese, and a fresh fruit salad.

If you are interested, here is the website for the Bottega winery to get more info on this wine and their other wines.

Spoil Your Valentine at Bistro Pastis

Valentines and wine

Valentines and wine

Is your spouse or significant other tired of the same old Valentine’s day card or chocolates?  Why not spoil him/her with sensual French cuisine?  Bistro Pastis in Kitsilano has this wonderful menu.  Check it out!

Valentine’s Day 2014 Menu

Salmon Tartare
Horseradish, Buckwheat Blinis
Butternut Squash Ravioli
Truffle Butter Sauce, Sage Leaves
Vouvray, Chenin Blanc, Chateau Gaudrelle
Lobster Napoleon
Potato and Herb Tuile, Saffron and Corn Purée, Julienne of Vegetables, Tarragon Emulsion
Chardonnay Mȃcon Solutré-Pouilly Joseph Burrier
Roquefort Crusted Beef Tenderloin
Thyme and Bacon Potato Gratin, Root Vegetable Mousseline, Red Wine Jus
Château les Paruades 2009
Chocolate Timabale, Dark Chocolate Mousse, Pineapple Flambée
Pistachio Ice Cream, Caramel Sauce
Crémant de Bourgogne Bailly Lapierre Réserve

$42 Wine Pairing Optional

Bistro Pastis
2153 W 4th Ave. Vancouver, BC V6K 1N7 | Tel: (604) 731.5020 | Fax: (604) 731.5039

A Valentines Day Chocolate Cocktail

Valentine’s Day is just a little over 1 month away.  Have you started to plan how to pamper your significant other.  Of course a nice dinner and cocktails would be appreciated.  But what cocktail to mix?  How about one that uses chocolate?  Here is a recipe I recently recived in my email.  Give it a try and hopefully your evening will be full of romance.

A Valentine’s Day dinner, Iceberg Vodka’s Chocolate Seduction is sure to impress with rich chocolate and coffee highlights in this drink made for two.

Chocolate Seduction Cocktail

Chocolate Seduction cocktailIngredients:
2 oz. Iceberg Vodka
1 oz. coffee liqueur
1 oz. nut liqueur
1 oz. chocolate liqueur
Fine grated bittersweet chocolate

Combine Iceberg Vodka and liqueurs in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into two cocktail glasses. Top with chocolate.

Celebrate Valentines Day at Vicino Pastaria and Deli

Have you thought about what to do for Valentine’s Day?  Taking your significant other out for dinner should be on the top of the list (unless you prefer to cook a dinner), but where to go?  One place may be Vicino Pastaria and Deli in Gastown.  They sent me this information which I am passing along to you.  Pick a nice Chianti and you will be set for a wonderful dinner.  Enjoy!


Vicino Pastaria Room Overview

Vicino Pastaria Room Overview

(Vancouver) – It’s an accepted fact that Italians are amongst sexiest and most romantic people on the planet – they can even claim St. Valentine (San Valentino) as one of their own. Italians are also great cooks who appreciate flavourful food, simply prepared from the freshest, most exquisite ingredients. On the Sagra of San Valentino, chic couples, from Milano to Roma, Venezia to Genova, stroll cobblestone streets arm in arm, in search of small neighbourhood restaurants in which to celebrate the day with a seductive dinner.

You don’t have to go as far as the Via Veneto to celebrate Valentine’s Day Italian-style. In Vancouver’s own little corner of old world charm, Gastown (recently named one of the top four hippest hoods in the world), sitsVicino (‘neighbour’ in Italian), an unpretentious restaurant that is very serious about serving beautiful food at reasonable prices. In honour of San Valentino, Executive Chef Chris Picek has created a special five-courseMenu Compreso that pays homage to the arte and amore of eating and living well. It is only available on Thursday, February 14.

Seduction begins with the first spoonful of the Stuzzichino (starter) of leek and roasted garlic soup with crispy duck skin. Next up is the Antipasti (‘before pasta’) course of baked ricotta with caramelized endive, blood orange and fennel pollen dressing. Italians don’t eat pasta on its own as we do, pasta is just one of many courses in a meal and this dinner is no exception. The Pasta course is orzo served with sautéed with Yellowfoot Chanterelles. For the Primi there is a choice betweenRoasted Pork Chop with pepperonata and red wine butter or Ling Cod, with crushed potato, olive tapenade and leek sauce.  Now, if you really want to dine like an Italian, this is the point at which you insert an optional cheese (Formaggi) course. However, if that seems like too much, then linger over Dolci – a rich chocolate spice cake.  Raise a glass or two of vino (Vicino is now licensed), to San Valentino, and end with an espresso.

Then stroll arm and arm over Gastown’s cobblestone streets and imagine you’re in the Brera. What happens after that is up to you.

Menu Compreso: $55 for five courses.
Optional Formaggi:  $10

Where We Are

68 East Cordova Street
Vancouver, BC
V6A 1K2
604-336-0042 /

Township 7’s Taste the Stars Valentine’s Affair!

Still thinking of what you can do memorable with your significant other for Valentine’s Day?  Something wine-related is always good.  Township 7, located in Langley, has two special seminars you might want to attend.  The first event about how to make a “champagne” style sparkling wine is FREE, while the other is a seafood and wine pairing at a reasonable $30 per person cost.  Here are the details.  Have a great Valentine’s Day celebration!

Saturday, February 12th, Seminar 1 & 3 PM, Dinner 7-10 PM

Join Township 7 for their Taste the Stars Valentine’s celebration on Saturday February 12 at their picturesque winery in Langley, just a 45 minute drive from Vancouver. For the first time this year, they are holding special seminars on méthode champenoise winemaking and sabrage, chocolate making, and seafood/wine pairing. Enjoy a decadent, entertaining and informative time and participate in the traditional French style of crafting champagne with Township 7 winemaker Bradley Cooper and proprietor Mike Raffan, learn how to make delectable truffles by Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut, and what pairs best with oysters on the half shell with 1 Fish 2 Fish. Partial proceeds from the Valentine’s activities will be donated to the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

The Delicate & Mad Art of Methode Champenoise

Discover how traditional handcrafted champagne is made in France and join Township 7’s proprietor and winemaker in the fun and sometimes messy and challenging process of dégorgement, then adding the dosage and corking of sparkling wine!
Complimentary winemaker seminars at 1 and 3 pm.

Taste the Stars Evening at Township 7

Impress your paramour and indulge your senses with an early Valentine’s celebration of fine wine, paired with raw oysters and seafood canapés. Enjoy live music by the popular local band, We Play for Wine, while you taste your way through two rooms featuring seafood delicacies by 1 Fish 2 Fish, enjoy winemaker Bradley Cooper’s discussion of wine food pairings and complete your visit in our romantic chocolate room with Jacqueline Pearson of White Rock’s Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut, rolling dark chocolate truffles.

$30 per person (grazing/non-seated)
21152 16th Avenue
Langley, BC V2Z 1K3

Free Valentines Chocolate and Wine Pairing in Kelowna

If you live in the Kelowna area, you may be interested in trying this wine and chocolate pairing event. Two great things on their own, and even better together. Plus it is in time for Valentines! Here is the announcement, by Volcanic Hills Estate Winery. Enjoy!

You are cordially invited to attend our Complimentary Valentines Chocolate and Wine Pairing Event.

Come and sample a wonderful handpicked selection of Roger’s Chocolates paired with our award winning wines.

Date:   Saturday, Feb. 12th, 2011

Time:  11:00 – 5:30 (or until we run out of chocolate!)

Price:  No Charge

Location: Volcanic Hills Estate Winery, 2845 Boucherie, Rd, West Kelowna

No RSVP required.

Valentines Day Celebrations with Hester Creek Winery

Are you a romantic person like me?  Like to do something nice with your partner for Valentines day?  How about this weekend get away at Hester Creek Winery in the Okanagan.  Their details are below.  Enjoy!


  • Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Valentine’s at Hester Creek Estate Winery

    Give the gift of Valentine’s at Hester Creek Estate Winery

    Saturday, February 12th, let romance be the order of the day. Celebrate the Valentine in your life with a dine & stay weekend at ‘The Villa’ at Hester Creek. Saturday evening, enjoy a multi-course dinner designed and prepared by Chef Roger Planiden. Hester Creek Estate award winning wines are skillfully paired with local and seasonal flavours intended to inspire an evening to remember. The incredible artistry of classical guitarist William Leggott creates the perfect mood for this intimate evening. Later, retire to one of our Deluxe Guest Suites, unrivaled in the South Okanagan for their dedication to quality and excellence. Each suite is beautifully appointed with the utmost attention to detail. As well, a delicious breakfast awaits you in the morning. Make this a truly romantic weekend get away by adding a second night to your stay.

    Valentine Menu
    Prepared by Chef Roger Planiden

    Truffle Scented Celery Root Veloute with Dungeness Crab
    2008 Pinot Gris

    Pan Seared Scallop Cucumber and Apple Slaw Sherry Gastrique
    2008 Pinot Blanc

    Raspberry Sorbet

    Roasted Tenderloin of Beef Wrapped in Pastry For “Two”
    Filled with Forest Mushroom Duxelle and Arugula with Sauce Bernaise
    Libraried 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
    Chocolate Trio
    Bitter Chocolate Brule, White Chocolate Soup, Warm Chocolate Pudding
    2007 Reserve Merlot
    Dinner reception: 6:30 pm
    Dinner served 7:00 pm
    Cost: $455.00 per couple includes one night in a deluxe “Villa” suite, dinner, live music, wine, & gratuities.

    Limited seating available.
    For reservations, please contact, or call 250-498-4435

Aphrodisiacs and Wine for Valentines

With Valentine’s Day coming up in February, I thought I’d get a head start on this blog about Aphrodisiacs and Wine to help you decide your Valentine’s meal.  There are many different foods that have been touted to have some aphrodisiac component to them.  A few foods:

  • cheese (In European culture, cheese is said by some to resemble the scent of a woman.)
  • arugula (Is also known as “rocket seed”, with mustard warming a person, making better blood flow.)
  • truffles (It is said that sows instinctively seek out truffles, it’s because they give off scents identical to certain substances found in the male boars sexual organs – namely a pheromone “androstenol” with a strong musky smell. Androstenol is also secreted by men’s armpit glands.)
  • chocolate (Chocolate contains both a sedative, which relaxes and lowers inhibitions, and a stimulant to increase activity and the desire for physical contact.)
  • oysters (Oysters being the aphrodisiac, due to their shape similar to a woman’s genitals, but also as they contain zinc which which promotes well being.)
  • asparagus (The asparagus of course visually is a phallic symbol. also because according to traditional Indian medicine, it increases circulation in the genito-urinary system. Chinese traditionalists believe the roots increase compassion and love, so they save the best ones for their friends and family.)
  • chilies (Chilies get a person’s blood rushing, heart pumping, face flushing and pores sweating, providing great physical stimulation.)
  • strawberries (Strawberries gained their reputation as an aphrodisiac due to their large number of tiny seeds symbolizing fertility. In art and literature, the strawberry was usually portrayed as a symbol of sensuality and earthly desire and has been described as fruit nipples.)

Is wine an aphrodisiac?

Of course. Wine relaxes people’s thoughts. A moderate quantity of wine reduces a person’s anxiety and releases their inhibitions. In studies published from the 1994 British scientific journal, Nature, claimed that the intake of alcohol can increase the levels of libido in women. According to this research, alcohol raises the testosterone level of women, which can entice those who lack sexual interest and desire. Port wine is said to be one of the most aphrodisiac alcoholic beverages around. This drink, which originated in Portugal, is said to promote lovemaking especially when served with strawberries (from

Some suggested wine and aphrodisiac food pairings:

  • Wild Mushroom and Truffle Risotto paired with a Viognier or a New Zealand Pinot Noir.
  • Fresh Oysters with Red Wine Shallot Mignonette paired with a California or Chilean sparkling wine.
  • Arugula, Pine Nut & Chevre Pizza matched with a BC, New Zealand or Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Asparagus wrapped with smoked salmon & fresh basil paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon based Rose or a Pinot Noir.

Here are some specific wines that you may want to find either in a government liquor store or a private wine shop:

  • Stags Hollow Viognier, BC, 2010. This Viognier was pale in colour with some sweetness, orange, and flower aromas. Very pretty. Tropical fruit and cinnamon flavours.  Medium body.
  • Perrier Jouet Grand Brut N/V Champagne, France. This is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Pale lemon in colour.  Light lees and toast on the nose. Light body with apples and white fruit.  Small bubbles with lower acidity.  I really enjoyed this one in part due to the lower acidity which made this Champagne very easy to drink on its own.
  • Bastianich Flor Prosecco, Italy ($19.99).  A delightful sparkling wine with melon and lychee aromas. Off dry, light body, with cinnamon, citrus and peach flavours.  Small bubble.  This is such a fun wine.
  • Mud House Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010, New Zealand.  Pale lemon in the glass.  Lots of gooseberry on the nose with some herbal on the nose that continued to the palate.  Medium plus acidity with long length.  Really nice flavour.
  • Vina Santa Rita Medalla Real Pinot Noir 2008, Chile. Santa Rita is a premium producer from Chile.  I really enjoy their wines, and spent time visiting them in Chile. Their Medalla Real Pinot Noir is coloured light purple in the glass.  Ripe cassis aromas. Round mouth feel, light boded with an abundance of cassis flavour.  Low tannins.
  • Bartier – Scholefield Rose, BC ($20) is 100% Gamay Noir from the Wise Brothers’ vineyard in Oliver. This wine was medium salmon colour in the glass.  Light, youthful aromas of strawberries, red cherries and other red fruits.  It is dry on the palate with medium plus acidity.  Medium body.  I get fresh summer fruits like raspberries, red currants, strawberries and red cherries, and a lingering watering mouthfeel on the finish.

If you want an extensive list of aphrodisiac foods, I’d suggest following the “Life of Reiley“.  Enjoy the pairings and I hope they bring great enjoyment for you and your significant other!

Valentine’s Day, Aphrodisiacs, and Wine

Valentine’s Day is coming up soon. A nice dinner with special wine and food with your significant other i’m sure would be greatly appreciated. But what wine and food to serve?

There are many foods that are purported to be an aphrodisiac:

  • oysters on the half shell,
  • asparagus,
  • cheese, and
  • chocolate.

There are more, but i’ll give you a bit of info on these and some pairings you may want to consider. Oysters are an aphrodisiac due to their shape similar to a woman’s genitals, but also because they contain zinc which which promotes well being. Try pairing oysters with some bubble. You may enjoy:

  • Moreson, Blanc de Blancs Brut Method Cap Classic, South Africa. This is 100% Chardonnay. A very fine bubble. Red apple, citrus, light spice and bready flavour. Long finish. Nice.
  • Cuillier Pere et Fils, Brut Selection Pinot Noir / Chardonnay, France. Fine bubble with green apple and pear aromas. Lemon and pear flavours. This wine was like enjoying a fresh pear. Very tasty!

The asparagus of course visually is a phallic symbol, and visual excitement can be part of being an aphrodisiac. Try pairing it with:

  • Cremaschi Furlotti Pinot Noir from Chile. A wonderful bouquet of violets. Light bodied with some acidity. The floweriness of the Pinot Noir grape is an aphrodisiac in itself.
  • Miguel Torres Cabernet Sauvignon Rose, also from Chile. This one has a bouquet of cherries, which continues on the palate. Some spiciness and a balance of acidity with sweetness.

In European culture, cheese is said by some to resemble the scent of a woman. Italian culture views cheese as an aphrodisiac, much like chocolate. Some cheeses would be a fresh goat cheese, a brie/camembert, and maybe a bit stronger cheese such as a Quebec Oka. Remember that cheese right out of the fridge has little aroma. Leave the cheese out for a few hours so that it warms up and those aphrodisiac aromas can come out. A few wines:

  • Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rose from South Africa. Mulderbosch rose shows some typical cabernet flavours and aromas, but without the big tannins that one get with a red wine.
  • Amayna Sauvignon Blanc from Chile. Citrus and tropical fruit flavours with some oakiness on the bouquet due to barrel fermentation. The wine had a very round mouthfeel with just the right amount of acidity to cut through the fat in the cheese.

Chocolate contains both a sedative, which relaxes and lowers inhibitions, and a stimulant to increase activity and the desire for physical contact. A red wine and/or a dessert red wine would go well here.

  • Buller Old Fine Muscat, Rutherglen, Australia (dessert wine). Medium dark amber-coloured Muscat has aromas of toffee and marmalade. This Muscat has enough body and flavour to balance with the richness of chocolate (and chocolate cake)
  • Poplar Grove Merlot, British Columbia 2005. Light garnet in colour. Cherry, cassis and leather nose. Big cherry flavour with some vanilla. Medium tannin and length.

I find that the roundness and fruitiness of Merlot and it’s softer tannins make it a nice varietal to pair with chocolate. In my opinion 72% cocoa is about the right amount of cocoa for me. When you get into the 90% range, it gets a bit gritty.

I hope you are able to find some inspiration in these suggestions. Enjoy Valentine’s Day!