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Two-time James Beard Award-winning authors Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg know a thing or two about matchmaking. They have been coupled both personally and professionally for the past two decades researching and writing their bestselling books such as The Flavor Bible, What to Drink with What You Eat, Culinary Artistry, and their latest The Food Lover's Guide to Wine.
While they are happy to share a few pairing tips on what underlies great matches, they insist that the real beauty is in experiencing these peak pairings for yourself to see how they work their magic for you and your palate.
And what better time to give a few (or all) of them a try than the days leading up to (or even following) Valentine's Day? After all, it's impossible for aphrodisiacs to do their thing if they're paired with the wrong partner - so there's plenty of motivation to find the right matches for your Valentine's Day repasts.
Here are a few of Karen and Andrew's favorite aphrodisiac food and wine pairings and why they work:
Candy, flowers and bling may dominate Valentine's Day gifts, but this year, one more item is likely to be among the love offerings: heart-shaped pizzas.
Searches on Google for "heart-shaped pizzas" have soared 230% since January, according to Google's research tool Insights for Search.
And the highest number of searches for heart-shaped pizzas over the past few weeks is coming from Illinois, Texas and California, according to Google.
The novelty pizza has easily been around for decades but lately, pizza sellers - large and small - have been rushing to capitalize on this quirky trend, especially around Valentine's Day.
A Valentine's Day proposal alone may sound sweet, but Philadelphia-area bakery Cupcakes Gourmet is laying on the sugar extra thick.
And hey, look on the bright side: If the person says no, at least you're left with a snack to eat your feelings with.
Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Ah, Valentine’s Day. If everything goes right, then you have a happy romantic night out with your loved one, and wake the following morning to songbirds chirping, the sun caressing you with buttery light, a suffusion of love in your heart, and no hangover at all. If things go wrong, then you get a night full of misery, anger, disappointment, shame, betrayal, and tears, but what did you expect? That's what dating is all about.
Here’s the deal, though: It didn’t have to be this way. I blame Pope Gelasius I. Back in 496, in a frenzy of popely goody-two-shoes-ness, Gelasius banned the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, when noble youths would run through the city naked, striking people they met with shaggy thongs made of goat-hide, and substituted Valentine’s Day in its place.
Go figure, right? I mean, come on. Which would you rather have, a city full of crazy naked youths running around smacking people with thongs, or a dopey card with a heart on it? Uh-huh. You got that right.
Be that as it may, Lupercalia is gone, Valentine’s Day is here, and no matter what your romantic situation is, you’re undoubtedly going to need a drink. Here are five suggestions to match some possible Valentine’s Day activities.