Monday, February 10, 2014

Valentines 2014 - Gift Guide

Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and so you've probably got a little bit of last minute shopping to do.  A perfect Valentine's dinner for me involves a gorgeous dry-aged steak dinner at home, a few glasses of bubbly, followed by a few glasses of something stronger.  I've always loved Valentine's Day, everything is red and cheerful despite the dreariness of winter outside, and it's always a perfect excuse to buy an extra-fancy bottle (or two) for that special someone.

Without further ado:

1.  Start your Valentine's evening right with a bottle of Angostura No. 1, the company's newest limited edition sipping rum from their Premium Cask Collection.  It's sweet, with a lot of wood and citrus on the nose.  It has round sweet flavors of caramel, lemon, spice, cinnamon, toasted nuts, roasted peaches, and a finish of banana pastry.  It is a complex sipping rum that has been produced in a limited quantity of 9,600 bottles.  While rum is following the trend of whiskeys and producing limited edition releases, the price point of rum has not yet caught up with whiskey.  No. 1 drinks like a much more expensive bottle, and will surely impress your someone special.  $49.00

2.  This year for Valentine's Day, Moët & Chandon has a fantastic gift box ready to go!  The box set comes with a bottle of Moët Rosé Impérial, and two champagne flutes - perfect for romantic gondola rides or impulsive picnics!  $119

3.  Heart-Shaped Cheese Trio from River's Edge Chèvre comes with three artisanal bloomy-rind goat cheeses: Petit Bonheursmooth with Pink Peppercorns, Old Flamedense, and Hearts Desire with Spanish Paprika.  $78

4.  There is nothing more romantic than a perfectly cooked, perfectly salted steak.  There's something so lovely about the ritual of splitting a large cut for two, and spending the entire meal savoring each bite together.  Dry aging makes the meat more buttery and full of flavor, and nice marbling keeps your steak juicy.  Go for this Dry Aged Porterhouse beauty from Strassburger.  $249 for 4 20 oz Steaks.

5.  This year spring for a special treat, Casa Dragones sipping tequila!  This tequila is one of the best things I've tasted all year, it is silky smooth, and has a complex layering of pineapple mango, passion fruit, agave, with a creamy mid palate, and a clean yet spicy finish.  Basically, it's the best tequila on the planet.  Casa Dragones also comes in a gorgeous Turquoise Blue box set that comes with two hand-etched Riedel tequila sipping glasses, and a hand-etched crystal decanter filled with this delicious ambrosia.  $275

6.  I am so smitten with Pancracio Chcolates from Spain - I love these little chocolate lip truffles lacquered in red chocolate!  $20

7.  Need more bubbles?  Bravo!  Try Chandon Étoile Rosé from the Napa Valley, a gorgeous bubbly with almost a blood orange color to it.  It has notes of bright citrus, raspberry, candied orange peel, passion fruit, grapefruit pith, with an undertone of clay and leafy green grass.  It has a nice clean finish, and stays on the palate for quite a bit.  This wine is aged for a minimum of five years, and has a bit of Pinot Noir grapes added to the mix to give it its distinctive color and flavor. $50

8.  Still need more bubbles?  I'm a huge fan of Chandon Rosé, also from the Napa Valley, which is a great Rosé for any occasion.  It is a light and dry bubbly with tasting notes of berry, cherry, stone fruits, crisp pear, and a bright green apple.  Plus it is at a great price point of $22! Shall we open a bottle now??  But of course!

9.  Want to get creative with that Chandon Rosé?  Mix it into a cocktail!

4 Raspberries
1/3 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Gin
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
2 dashes Rose Water

Muddle Raspberries with Gin and Simple Syrup.  Add Lemon Juice and Rose water, and shake with ice.  Strain into a cocktail glass and top with Chandon Rosé.  

10.  Sweetheart Heels by Alice + Olivia will heat up any outfit, no matter how cold it is outside.  $295

11.  The morning after Valentine's Day requires just as much attention!  Breakfast in Bed with hot French Toast, Maple Syrup, Fresh Fruit, and a delicious cup of coffee.  Keep it quick and easy with a Nespresso Maestra Machine in Candy Apple Red.  I love the vintage look of this machine, sure to look handsome in anyone's kitchen.  $550

12.  If you're looking for a gift for a discerning whiskey-lover, try Tullamore D.E.W. Phoenix Limited Edition Irish Whiskey.  The Phoenix is a blend of three different kinds of Irish Whiskey: Golden Grain, Pot Still Whiskey, and Malt.  There's flavors of caramel, spice, oak, candied orange peel, grapefruit, and a spicy tannic finish that comes from the two years it has spent in Oloroso sherry casks.  It's a delightful dram, and a powerful one at that, coming in at 55% ABV.  $63

14.  For those with a sweet-tooth for both design and Amaretto, Moschino has teamed up with Disaronno to create a charming limited edition bottle for Valentine's Day, making for a perfect night-cap on such a sweet night.  $24


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