The Ultimate Guide to Celebrating Valentine’s Day (at Home) in Saratoga

This Valentine’s Day may look a little different than you and your boo are used to. But while the pandemic may be keeping you from going out to your annual V-Day dinner extravaganza at Prime or Osteria Danny, it hasn’t canceled love. So a suggestion: bring romance into the safety of your own home and do it while supporting local. And yes, by “romance” we mean New York–produced cheeses, chocolates and wines.

What You’ll Need

• Local Cheese Plate from Putnam Market ($20; comes with three types of New York cheese, marcona almonds, almond-fig spread and a baguette. Available to order on DoorDash.)

• Bar Collection from Saratoga Chocolate Co. ($64; comes with nine different chocolate bars: Dark Horse, Fleur de Sel, Genmai Cha, Latte, Milk, Salted Caramel, The 70%, Toasted Sesame and Velvet. Available for in-store purchase or to be shipped.)

• (At least) four bottles of wine from Purdy’s Discount Wine & Liquor. Paul K. Parker, the store’s wine consultant, has provided two options for each pairing: one New York–produced wine and one from outside of the Empire State. (Available for in-store purchase, curbside pickup or delivery.)

Pairing #1

Cheese: 3-Year-Old Cheddar from Adirondack Cheese Company

NY Wine: Red Tail Ridge Pétillant Naturel ($28.99)

Wine Option 2: Perrier Jouet Blason Rosé ($69.99)

Paul says: “Both of those wines have this beautiful acidity that will set the cheese off really well. The Pétillant Naturel is just a little bit wild and exotic, but in a really nice, comfortable way. It’s not wild and funky—it has a touch of funkiness that makes it interesting rather than weird. And the PJ’s a classic. Just an absolutely, dead-on classic.”

Putnam Market’s Local Cheese Plate.

Pairing #2

Cheese: St. Stephen from Four Fat Fowl

NY Wine: Hosmer Cabernet Franc ($17.99)

Wine Option 2: Charles Gonnet Chignin ($15.99)

Paul says: “Both of those wines will be absolutely gorgeous with that cheese for very, very different reasons. The Hosmer’s got great elegance and really great herbal notes. In this case, its tannic structure is going to play off the fattiness of the cheese. In the case of the Chignin, it’s kind of the other way around. The Chignin is a floral white that’s not going to play against the cheese—it’s going to play with the cheese.”

Pairing #3

Cheese: Kunik fromNettle Meadow Farm and Artisan Cheese

NY Wine: Lieb Cellars Estate Pinot Blanc ($17.99)

Wine Option 2: J. Bouchon Pais Viejo ($14.99)

Paul says: “The Pinot Blanc has really good fruitiness, brightness and acidity, and this wonderful combination of leanness and length. It’s going to set the cheese off—it will operate like a jewelry setting. It will make the cheese just kind of pop. The Pais is going to function very, very differently. That particular grape has these hot tequila notes, and I mean that in the best possible way. In the case of the Pais, it will feel a little bit like you’re having a full meal, I suspect. That will just ring so many bells. That’s going to be a celebration.”

Pairing #4

• Chocolate: One of (or all of) the nine Saratoga Chocolate Co. flavors that come in the Bar Collection

• NY Wine: Atwater Estate Vineyards Celsius Ice Wine ($17.99)

• Wine Option 2:Domaine du Dernier Bastion Maury Rancio ($26.99)

Paul says: “Maury is a dessert wine that’s made from the Grenache grape varietal. And Grenache, on its own, has this slightly spicy character. Think chocolate and raspberry. With the ice wine, you’ll get a very different kind of spiciness coming from the Gewürztraminer, and you’ll get this bright fruitiness and acidity. In this case, think more of a combination of raisins and chocolate.”

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