Skip the cliché chocolates and reboot your Valentine’s Day with a romantic evening in, featuring wine and cheese. More than 60 percent of America’s foodies say wine and cheese make a great pairing for a romantic meal, according to research² conducted by Castello® cheese, maker of creatively crafted imported cheeses available at grocery and fine food stores nationwide.
More than half (51 percent) of Americans describe themselves as foodies – defined in the survey as someone who is a gourmet and enjoys having new food and experiences. The survey reveals a key insight for Valentine’s Day 2014: Foodies want their partner to say, “I love you” in a unique way – much more than they want an expensive gift. Foodies are far more interested in a romantic evening at home (54 percent) than they are in a night out on the town.
The Perfect Excuse to Stay In
“[My wife] Lizzie and I are true foodies – so you might expect that our perfect evening involves a fancy restaurant or a luxurious gourmet getaway,” says Chef Michael Symon, co-host of “The Chew,” author of numerous best-selling cookbooks and owner of several restaurants. “The reality, as the survey shows, is our ideal Valentine’s Day is a night at home. We can talk, cook a delicious meal and enjoy each other’s company. It’s the best way to show each other that we truly understand what makes us happy.”
Additional survey results show more than half (56 percent) of foodies expect to prepare or share a meal with their partner on Valentine’s Day. Meanwhile, only 43 percent of foodies plan to give a personal gift, and fewer than one-quarter (24 percent) of foodies plan to give their partner the traditional box of chocolates.
A Memorable, Intimate Valentine’s Night is Well Within Reach, With Wine and Cheese
Symon says that a sampling of specialty cheeses, matched to your partner’s favorite wine, can kick your romantic evening off right – or even serve as a main course for your special evening in. His wife, Liz Symon, is a sommelier and knows a thing or two about perfect pairings.
“Wine and cheese provide versatility to let your creativity unfold,” says Liz Symon. She recommends:
“Lead with a salad topped with crumbles of Castello® Danish Blue cheese for a bold accent to the flavors, and pair it with Pinot Blanc. Any main dish made with a creamy Havarti, Havarti with dill or Havarti with garlic, is best balanced with herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc. Cap off the night with Castello® Alps Hirten with Champagne or sparkling wine.”
Experience Delivered vs. Dollars Spent
The Symons’ idea of “staying in” for Valentine’s Day is best measured in the experience it delivers, rather than the dollars spent. “Use the money you’ll save by not going out, to dress the dining table with special flowers, surrounded by your best dishes, flatware and napkins,” continues Liz Symon. “Lit candles, spaced around your table and room, set a warm, elegant tone. Show your partner how well you know them by creating a music playlist of their favorite romantic songs.”
²Survey results were obtained through online interviews among a representative sample of 1,014 adults 18 years of age or older. Interviews took place January 16-19, 2014. The survey was conducted by The Futures Company on behalf of Castello® cheese.