It’s possible to love February.
Often a cold month here in Canada, February can seem endless and uneventful. Valentine’s Day, however, pops up in the middle, and we Canadians seem to use it mercilessly to bring some excitement to the month. The question is: what’s the best way to generate some excitement?
To me, nothing says “Valentine” like “Dessert Wine.” They rhyme for a reason: they’re the perfect pairing. Whether you plan on indulging with some chocolate, or whipping up a creamy cheesecake for the occasion, Dessert Wines and Valentines’ treats can be a marriage made in heaven.
What can be better than opening that nicely sweet taste of summer berries in February? Their luscious, concentrated flavours can be sipped on their own, shaken up in a cocktail, enjoyed with some ice cream, used in a dessert treat, or mixed into prosecco or champagne… endless possibilities!
And in celebration of “Dessert Wine Day” Field Stone is offering 15% off ALL dessert wines for a limited time at Calgary Farmers Market, at Gasoline Alley Farmers Market (Red Deer) and at Edmonton’s Bountiful Farmers Market. Packaged and pretty, all you have to do is pick your favourite flavour: Strawberry, Raspberry, Wild Black Cherry, Saskatoon Berry or Black Currant. Priced under $20, we offer three fruity liqueur-like varieties, and two port styles. There is something for all gents’ and ladies’ tastes.
In addition, we’ll have one lovely gift pack also available – a Raspberry Fruit Wine and a Strawberry Dessert Wine, all prettily packaged and only $40.00. Don’t let your Valentine go without wine …
Perhaps you are not in the market for a Valentine gift, but need birthday gifts this month. What could be better than a lovely packaged dessert wine, produced from 100% Alberta-grown fruit? Join the thousands who are committed to supporting local and giving local this year.
At any rate, in celebration of “Dessert Wine Day”, I am offering a few Dessert-Wine-Recipe ideas for a special occasion. With fresh strawberries and raspberries available year-round, you can easily try them all!
First, for the Raspberry lovers:
Raspberry Chocolate Mousse
3 cups (750 ml) fresh or frozen raspberries
½ cup (125 ml) Raspberry Dessert Wine
2 cups (500 ml) chocolate chips, melted and cooled
16 oz (500 g) cream cheese, softened
¼ cup (50 ml) honey
3 Tbsp. (40 ml) Raspberry Dessert Wine
3 Tbsp. (40 ml) white crème de cacao
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla
Combine raspberries with 125 ml. wine and set aside. Beat together on medium speed the chocolate, cheese and honey. Beat in the 40 ml wine, crème de cacao and vanilla until blended. Spoon the raspberry mixture evenly into 10 small serving dishes and top with the mousse mixture. Garnish with chocolate curls and refrigerate for up to one day. Yum!
And here’s a festive twist on the popular summer patio drink:
Raspberry-Champagne Mojito Cocktail
1/2 large lemon – cut in 1/4″ pieces
6 large mint leaves
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
3 oz (90 ml) white rum
1 oz (30 ml) Raspberry Dessert Wine
Place the lemon, mint leaves and sugar in a mixing glass. Using a wooden spoon, crush the ingredients until the sugar has dissolved and the lemon has released its juice. Add the raspberries and continue to muddle until the raspberries are well mashed and have released their juices. Top with ice cubes, rum and dessert wine. Shake vigorously until very cold. Strain the mixture into two Champagne glasses. Top with a little Champagne. Garnish with a mint leaf and a fresh raspberry threaded through a cocktail pick. Serve immediately.
Now, for all strawberry lovers, a more “healthy” version of dessert:
Strawberry & Chocolate Buttercream Mousse
1 c. dates
3/4 c. water
1/4 c. cacao powder
2 tbsp. cashew butter
2 tbsp. coconut oil
2-3 tbsp. Strawberry Dessert Wine
2 c. strawberries, washed & sliced
In a blender or food processor, blend all ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate overnight to develop flavours and mousse-like consistency. When ready to serve, top with fresh strawberries. No guilt!
And for those who like it all to be really, really easy:
Super Simple Strawberry Valentine Martini
1 part vodka
3 parts Strawberry Dessert Wine
Chill martini glasses, and rim with sugar (run a cut strawberry around the rim, then dip in shallow dish of sugar). In a shaker put clean, hulled strawberries in bottom and mash with a wooden spoon until they are very well smashed. Add ice to fill the shaker and add the vodka and dessert wine. Shake for about 20 seconds until well mixed. Pour into the prepped glasses, garnish with a strawberry and serve.
Tip: Serve with your favourite milk chocolate treat on the side, and your sweetie will love you forever.
Of course the winter months can be long and chilly. This year especially, we are spending much more time at home, and maybe more time in our kitchens. If you are in need of some comfort food this month, I’m offering up my favourite 2021 version.
Don’t be afraid to pair a bright and fresh fruit wine with a comfort food recipe. Lately, my favourite is an easy slow-cooker version of Moroccan Chicken & Couscous. Paired with our Cherry Fruit Wine, this has become a cold night favourite. The robust flavour of Moroccan spices is nicely balanced by the flavourful Cherry. A winter match you’ll much enjoy!
Moroccan Chicken & Couscous
½ c. chicken broth
8 oz. tomato sauce
¼ c. apple cider vinegar
1 T. plus 2 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 T. minced garlic
1 lb. chicken breasts, cubed
1 can chickpeas
¾ cup dried cherries
4 servings of couscous, prepared with butter, parsely olive oil.
Place chicken, chickpeas, and dried cherries in the slow cooker. In a bowl, mix together first 10 ingredients and pour over chicken. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
Put couscous in a bowl and top with the Moroccan chicken. It’s that easy!
Whatever you get up to this month, remember that the summer tastes of fruit wines are a perfect match for winter…
And that’s all for February.
Happy February, everyone, and Happy Valentine’s!