What are you doing for Valentine’s weekend? Well, of course, it’s a weekend. When the holiday falls on a Saturday, the whole weekend becomes a celebration of love or hot and spicy food or small-batch chocolate or binge-watching Downton Abbey or every single Beyonce video with some ice cream. You know, you choose.
Valentine’s Day has always meant work for me. Between my gigs in flowers and online travel and food gifts, a lady like me has always worked to make your holiday a little bit special. From my time in Paris, I can tell you that folks actually do fly to the city of light for the holiday. I swear, I saw them there and made sure to point them to the stylish bistros for an oh-so-perfect dish of beouf bourguinon. I was away from my husband during that time, so you could find me at the Parisian dive wine bar with my lady friends eating all the oysters and all the wine.
This Valentine’s Day weekend, I’m hosting a Pop-Up Shop in the Boston area. And as soon as Saturday night hits, a bunch of us, coupled and uncoupled, are heading to my favorite local Sichuan spot for super spicy stews and cocktails and probably lots of red wine.
Red wine is good for all sorts of things, like relaxing little old me after three days of shopping ’til you drop for food. It’s also just great in these homemade Chocolate Truffles. It provides a bit of sweet and fruity contrast to the rich dark chocolate flavor.
Don’t stress about the red wine too much. I generally aim for a very fruity variety like a Gamay, a Syrah or a Zinfandel. If I have a sweet port in my liquor cabinet, I use that sometimes too. You decide. Gift them all away in a single big box or do individual size portions, like I did here. Either way, make sure to save some for you. They go great with Beyonce videos.
Red Wine Chocolate Truffles
Makes: 24 to 30 truffles
Ingredients:To Make the Truffles
- 8 ounces (60% or higher) dark chocolate
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons port or fruity red wine
- About 1/4 cup high-quality cocoa powder, for rolling
- Tiny plates (made from glass or paper)
- Glassine or plastic bags (that fit a single plate)
- Long toothpicks or similar (paper straws work too)
- Hole puncher
Directions:To Make the Truffles
- Chop the chocolate into 1/2-inch pieces. Add it to a medium-size glass, ceramic, or metal bowl (that will fit in your fridge). Set aside.
- In a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream and port or wine just to a boil, and then remove from the heat. This will take no more than 5 minutes.
- Carefully pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Give it 2 minutes to melt, and then stir vigorously to make sure the cream and chocolate are thoroughly blended. Let the mixture cool to near room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge 2 hours or until firm. If you cannot make the truffles immediately, the mixture will keep, covered, in the fridge up to 1 week.
- When ready to make the truffles, line a regular baking sheet with parchment paper. Put on an apron or wear “work clothes.” The chocolate mixture will melt in your hands as you go, so work fast and prepare to get dirty. Place the cocoa powder on a large plate and reserve.
- Drag a small warmed teaspoon (dipped into a glass of hot water and then dried) through the truffle mixture to pick up about 2 teaspoons’ worth. Using your hands, press and pinch each spoonful into tiny irregular-shaped balls and place them on the cookie sheet. Don’t worry about making them perfect.
- When all the balls are formed, place the cookie sheet in the fridge for 1 hour or the freezer for 10 minutes until firm—choose what works best for you.
- Roll the truffles in the cocoa to coat lightly. Package your truffles up as a gift, or store them in an airtight container in the fridge up to 1 week.
- Place a single chocolate truffle or two (depending on your plate and bag size) on your plate. Slip it into the bag.
- Fold the opening of the bag under and punch two holes side by side in the center of the top of the bag. Slip a toothpick through both holes to secure the bag shut. Gift, as is.
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