• By: Jane Staples

Love and Chocolate to Melt Your Heart

Chocolate. It’s the world’s favourite flavour! There are speciality chocolates for every occasion, and Valentine’s Day is one of them. Whether you celebrate romantic love on Valentine’s Day or you’re having a passionate affair with chocolate, I’ve got you covered, with sweet suggestions and dessert wines to melt your heart. Have fun picking out luxury chocolates or a fabulous cake from one of Ottawa’s decadent pastry shops and chocolatiers. Dessert destinations that will seduce your senses include:

Anna Stubbe Chocolates and Confectioneries is located on Hazeldean in Kanata.

Pasticceria Gelateria Italiana, on Preston Street in the heart of Little Italy.

Purdys Chocolatier, located in Carlingwood Mall, St. Laurent Shopping Centre and the Rideau Centre.

There’s one wine rule you need to know before you pick up your dessert wine: the wine must be sweeter than the dessert. Otherwise, it will taste dull (and that would be a shame!)

Dessert Wines to Rock Your World:

Royal Tokaji 5 Puttonyos Aszú 2017
Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary

Award-winning Tokaji Aszú (Pronounce: toe-ki ah-tsu) has an interesting history. It was once one of the most coveted wines in the world, cherished by royal customers including Hungarian noblemen Peter the Great, King Louis XIV and Catherine the Great. Apparently, the Austrian composer Joseph Haydn received some of his payments in the form of this wine. When you taste it, you’ll understand why. This beloved Hungarian dessert wine is made using mostly grapes (Furmint variety) that are affected by a beneficial mould called Botrytis cinerea. In grapes, this mould is beneficial because it concentrates the grape’s sugars and adds distinctive aromas of ginger and saffron. Five puttonyos refers to the number of 25L baskets of these botryised grapes that are added to the wine barrel; the more baskets added, the sweeter the wine.

Tokaji Aszú is a sensuous, satiny, smooth nectar with luscious layers of aromas and flavours: apricot jam, tangerine, honey, ginger and marzipan. There’s a delicate floral aspect on the nose, too. It’s a rich wine, yet it feels silky on the tongue. All this flavour is with balanced with perfect acidity and a heavenly lingering finish. It’s one of those wines that you never forget once you taste it. Pair it with marzipan chocolates, Crème Brulèe or biscotti.

Sweet 11% • LCBO Vintages# 972836 • $35 • 250 ml

Note: this wine is not available every year, so if you find a bottle, grab it!

Henry of Pelham Vidal Cabernet Icewine 2018
VQA  Short Hills Bench, Ontario

Ontario Icewines are highly regarded internationally. They are made under strict guidelines, with hand-harvested frozen grapes after a minimum number of cold nights. My own favourite Icewines are crafted using Cabernet Franc grapes, like this one, which also uses Vidal grapes. This is a gorgeous bright coral colour, with vibrant flavours of raspberry, tangerine, strawberry and sweet spice. It’s basically dessert in a glass!

Pair with Chocolate Mousse or chocolate cheesecake or chill and serve on its own.

Sweet 11% • LCBO# 672402 • $39.95 • 200ml

Taylor Fladgate 10-Year-Old Tawny Port
Douro, Portugal

Port is an elegant fortified wine, made by adding a proportion of grape spirit or brandy to the wine during the fermentation process. This allows the wine to retain some of the natural grape sweetness and results in a rich, smooth wine product. It is named after the city of Oporto on the northwest coast of Portugal, from where it has traditionally been shipped. Port is made in several styles, and this is one of the most popular. You’ll find aromas and flavours of ripe cherries, figs, chocolate, toffee and nuts, in a velvety, smooth texture with a lingering jammy finish. Port is a classic match for dark chocolate. A bowl of nuts and some stinky blue cheese like Roquefort or Gorgonzola also pair very well with it.

Sweet  20% • LCBO Vintages# 121749 • $36.95 •  750 ml


Enjoy your celebrations – and please drink responsibly!

For more wine and food discovery from Jane Staples, visit www.bellovinoj.com

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