Valentine's Day has come and gone, and whether you're committed, dating, single, or just alive and breathing, there's a 99 percent chance you came into possession of a heart-shaped box full of Russell Stover chocolates this February. What to do with 12 to 20 morsels of America's finest drugstore confections, you ask? Well, as any good Bustle writer would advise, when contending with chocolates, Girl Scout cookies, Chipotle burrito bowls, or classic literature, there's only one logical move to make — pair those feel good treasures with wine.
But before I get into the importance of pairing your refined sugars with residual sugars, let's acknowledge the fact that, for better or for worse, you received a Valentine's gift. Did that chocolatey gift come from a new suitor, eager to stay relevant yet reluctant to flatter? Perhaps. Or was it the product of your unrivaled ability to horde holiday-themed office party snacks? Maybe. Or did you succumb to annual Hallmark-induced depression and binge on February 15 CVS sale chocolate? More than likely.
No matter the scenario, you are now officially the proud owner of milk chocolate truffles, dark chocolate parfaits, and butter cream caramels. And lucky for you and your sweet palate, I've taken care of the heavy lifting, pairing six of these Russell Stover classics with the finest pinots, zins, and proseccos 20 dollars can buy.
1. Milk Chocolate Vanilla Creams
Perfect Wine Pairing: Mix one bite vanilla cream with one swig pinot noir, then bask in the glory that is vanilla-cherry, cinnamon-spiced magic in your mouth. Try The Pinot Project's Pinot Noir for $12.
2. Milk Chocolate Chocolate Truffles
Perfect Wine Pairing: Chocolate-covered strawberries exist for a reason, and that heavenly flavor combination can easily be recreated with double chocolate truffles and the sweet strawberry effervescence of Banfi's Rosa Regale. Thankfully, this delicious red sparkling wine retails for only $19.99.
3. Dark Chocolate Raspberry Parfaits
Perfect Wine Pairing: This fruity dark chocolate truffle serves as the ideal excuse to indulge in the velvety texture of zinfandel. I recommend the bright cherry, plum, and raspberry flavors of Rosenblum Zinfandel, which will cost you a mere $13.
4. Dark Chocolate Coconut Creams
Perfect Wine Pairing: As Drake would say, "It’s a celebration — clap clap bravo. Lobster and shrimp and a glass of moscato." Or you know, dark chocolate coconut cream truffle and a glass of moscato. They're both good. Check out the sweet, floral notes in Villa Jolanda Moscato for only $8.99.
5. Milk Chocolate Butter Cream Caramels
Perfect Wine Pairing: Add some bright bubbles to the rich, smooth texture of caramel. Keep it light on the palate and wallet with Mionetto Prosecco for just $13.99.
6. Dark Chocolate Orange Cream
Perfect Wine Pairing: Rule of thumb — the darker the chocolate, the bolder the wine. Match this dark, fruity truffle with the bold blackberry flavors of Australian shiraz. Wine Men of Gotham make a delightfully jammy (and very affordable) version for $10.99.