Just in case you haven’t gotten the message from the flower tents at the grocery store, the big chocolate and wine displays, the advertisements on TV, and all of the other not-so-subtle hints: Valentine’s Day is on February 14th EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR.

But I get it. This really isn’t the most important holiday in the world and you really should be showing the people you love how you feel every day. It’s still fun to celebrate, though, and I don’t want you to rush to the store, grab some wilted flowers and moldy chocolate covered strawberries, and feel crummy about yourself for not planning something extravagant. You don’t need to do something huge and over the top to show people you care. To me it’s more about the little things, like the perfect wine and dessert pairing. Now don’t start stressing- the perfect pairing doesn’t have to be complicated! Here are a few amazingly delicious but super simple dessert and wine pairings you can throw together by the big day.

Chocolate covered strawberries and champagne

It’s a classic for a reason. Don’t spend a fortune on the strawberries. It’s super easy to make your own, plus they’ll be fresher and more carefully made than if you bought them. My mom used to run a fruit arrangement store and Valentine’s Day was their busiest time of the year. They always did their best to serve high quality dipped fruits, but all stores/services related to food, fruit, and flowers are over-taxed at this time. No matter how hard they try, you will not receive the same quality you would any other time of the year.

Side note- if you do order something, be nice to the delivery people/wait staff. They’re spending the most romantic night of the year making you look good. If something isn’t right it’s probably because they’re overworked.

It’s easy to make chocolate covered strawberries. All you have to do is melt some chocolate over the stove or the microwave, and carefully dip the fruit in while it’s still hot, then let them set on a plate or tray. Pop them in the fridge if you’re in a hurry. While you’re at the store picking out strawberries, make sure to grab a bottle of bubbly to pair them with. I like Lamarca prosecco, Mionetto prosecco, Filipa Pato Brut Rose, or Mumm Napa Brut Champagne. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations, especially if you’re at a wine and liquor store like Spec’s or Total Wine and More. The people who work there are trained and love when their knowledge is called upon. Once you’ve dipped your strawberries and popped your champagne, relax and enjoy yourself!

Strawberry shortcake and Moscato

Moscato is nice and sweet but not super heavy, which makes it the perfect pairing for this light and delicious dessert. This is really great if you have a heavy meal and it takes about 5 minutes to put together. The world’s easiest strawberry shortcake is one we used to have a lot in the summer when I was a kid. All you need is pound cake from the freezer section, a box of strawberries that you’ll rough-mash, and a bottle of whipped cream. Slice the pound cake, spoon on some strawberries, and spray a little (or a lot) of whipped cream.

Chocolate with any red wine you have

This one will be a home run if you play it off right. A bold chocolate dessert with a bold red wine is a very popular pairing. You can either make the dessert yourself- I love the Hershey’s Best brownie recipe, the Treebeard’s cookbook chocolate cake recipe, or a yummy Ghirardelli brownie mix. Then grab a Merlot, a Cabernet Franc, or a Barolo. Serve the dessert, pour the wine, and fall in love- with the pairing or with the person you’re with!

Another fun option is to set out several bottles of red or sparkling wine with a bunch of different desserts and do a taste test. It is ridiculously easy to pull off and is fun to do. Don’t stress about the wine choices, either. If it’s a taste test you really can’t go wrong because you’re there to have fun. Whether you find the perfect pairing or everything’s a bust, you and your special someone will have an amazing time trying everything and you’ll have some fun stories to tell later.

Now go have some fun and stop stressing over Valentine’s Day!

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