How to Create a Romantic Valentine’s Dinner at Home

Whether you’re celebrating with your significant other for the first time or the twentieth, you’re probably already trying to come up with some winning Valentine’s Day dinner ideas. Not every couple wants to battle the masses for reservations at the trendiest restaurant in town. The truth is you can have a special and romantic evening right in your own home. 

There’s a lot to be said for not having to book a babysitter or pay for an expensive prix fixe menu. But Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be just another home-cooked dinner night. You should always step it up a notch by making the atmosphere and food as romantic as possible. Here are some tips for creating a romantic Valentine’s dinner at home. 

Choose Your Location

Your first step will be deciding where in your home you are going to have the meal. Sure, you can choose the dining room table. But there are other options. For example, you can set up an indoor picnic with a nice blanket, picnic basket, and some pillows for comfort. 

Another idea is to set up a small folding table somewhere in your home, such as in front of the fireplace or window. Cover it with a nice tablecloth, and you have the makings of a restaurant-worthy seating area. 

Presenting Your Dinner

Once you’ve chosen a location, you’ll want to make it look amazing. Put out your special dishes and tableware that only come out for special occasions. Grab some fresh flowers from your garden or the grocery store to use as a centerpiece. Don’t forget your favorite glassware for those special drinks. Finally, if you’re cooking a fancy meal, you can even create a print-out of a personalized menu to lie on the plates and commemorate your meal. 

Romantic Dinner Drinks

It’s common to plan some drinks to go along with your romantic dinner date. Wine and champagne are classic Valentine’s Day drinks that will set the mood. You can also choose alcohol-free versions and extra garnishes, such as strawberries or raspberries, to make your drinks seem more luxurious. You can also try your hand at mixing your own cocktails or mocktails to complement your meal. 

Valentines-Worthy Ingredients

When you’re celebrating a special day like Valentine’s Day, you should give some thought to your ingredients. Consider the concept of “umami,” which is Japanese for a “pleasant, savory taste.” Most people are fond of these flavors, so it makes sense to include them in a special meal. Foods that include them are things like beef, pork, chicken, and seafood. Others include aged cheeses, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, and asparagus. 

Certain foods are also considered aphrodisiacs, so you might want to explore a few of these. While science may not fully back up the idea of food influencing feelings, there’s always the power of suggestion. Foods included on this list include lobster, figs, oysters, okra, and even red wine. 

Cooking a Meal Together

Smithsonian Magazine reports that creative projects, like baking and cooking, are mood-lifting and inspire positivity. Cooking together is a great way to inspire communication and spend some quality time creating something you’ll both enjoy. 

To make this activity successful and not stressful, it’s a good idea to divide up the responsibilities. After 30 minutes or so, you might want to switch roles to keep it interesting. 

Fun Valentine’s Activities

If you and your partner enjoy games, think about having a blindfolded taste test as part of your meal. You can do this with drinks, different cheeses, desserts, or just about anything. One partner will wear a blindfold as they taste items prepared by others and try to guess their names or ingredients. 

Another trend in dining that you both might find a lot of fun is to cook part of your meal at the table. For example, who doesn’t love cheese or chocolate fondue? Another option is to place a small girl or hot stone in the center of your table that can cook meat or vegetables. 

Delicious Valentine’s Desserts

Finally, even if you typically skip dessert, this is a night you might want to indulge. You can grab a pre-made fancy dessert from your local bakery. Or, you can whip something up at home, such as brownies or a chocolate cake. 

Get Everything You Need for Your Romantic Valentine’s Dinner at Nick’s of Calvert

No matter which of these romantic Valentine’s Day dinner suggestions you decide to incorporate into your plans, you’re going to need some supplies. Nick’s of Calvert has everything you could possibly need, from specialty meats and cheeses to the freshest produce. Our full service meat counter is the centerpiece of our store. We offer many pre-made items to supplement your meal and sell a full selection of beer, wine, and liquor. Visit our location today or call us at (410) 414-7105 with any questions. 

Choosing the Best Fall Wines

Fall is a magical time of year. We get treated to crisp weather, changing leaves, some fun holidays, as well as comforting food. There is something for just about everyone to enjoy when this season rolls around. And wine is one of those things. If you’re willing to set aside the seasonal microbrews and cider for a bit, here are some tips for choosing fall wines that you will love.

Choosing the Best Fall Wines

While spring and summer are generally about picking light-bodied wines you can chill and enjoy by the pool, autumn demands a varietal that is going to help you get cozy wherever you happen to be. That doesn’t necessarily mean you will warm your wine, nor does it mean that you won’t chill it to the proper temperature. It just means the flavors you choose will be a bit different.

It also doesn’t mean you have to abandon your favorite rose or white wine until next year. This is still a great time to enjoy zesty roses and rich white wines, as well as smooth reds that bring in a touch of nutmeg, cinnamon, or vanilla.

Top Wines for Fall

Now that the temperatures are dropping and fireplaces are crackling, different types of wines should be on your list. Here are several fall wines that you and your guests will be sure to enjoy over the coming months.

  1. Pinot Noir

Nothing quite says “Fall” like a glass of Pinot Noir. This light-bodied red wine is produced in the United states in Washington and Oregon, as well as France. Slightly earthy and fruity, Pinot Noir pairs perfectly with stuffed mushrooms and poultry dishes.

For something unique, try the Pinot Noir from Meiomi. This wine offers the best expression of its respective appellation, carefully blended to achieve balance, complexity, and richness of flavor. This Northern California wine evokes notes of strawberry, mocha and vanilla.

  1. Chardonnay 

Who doesn’t love Chardonnay? This is a popular year-round wine that comes in many varieties. You can find varieties that feature hints of oak, vanilla, pear, and even butterscotch. It will pair well with toasted nuts, seared scallops, and creamy pastas.

Check out the 2019 Kendall Jackson Chardonnay, a product of Sonoma County. The wine features tropical notes with a hint of vanilla and toasted oak.

  1. Chenin Blanc

Another option if you love white wine is Chenin Blanc. This is a rich wine that is ideal for fall with its medium body that has notes of lemon curd, baked apple, and brioche. It pairs well with roast turkey, pot pies, and various fall soups.

Give Beringer’s Main & Vine Chenin Blanc a try. This wine is very well balanced with aromas and flavors of crisp citrus, melon and spicy ginger. It is great with a variety of ethnic foods with vibrant flavors.

  1. Viognier

Voignier is a rich white wine that is similar to a Chardonnay but with added notes of honeysuckle, rose, and mango. The grape for this varietal comes from the Rhone Valley in France, but you can find this wine produced in Australia and California. This wine is an ideal match for baked sole or herb-roasted chicken.

Try the Cline Viognier from the north coast of California. It shows juicy tropical fruit, fresh apricot and notes of mandarin orange and grapefruit. Luscious and full bodied with a slight crisp acidity.

  1. Tempranillo

You may not have heard of Tempranillo, but it’s become incredibly popular in Spain. With notes of baking spices like cloves and cinnamon, earthy tobacco, and dried fig, this medium-bodied red wine pairs well with roast lamb, chili, and baked pasta dishes.

Tempranillo can be costly, but there are affordable options. Check out Independent Tempranillo from Bajo Aragon region in Spain. It is savory, rich and beautifully balanced with flavors of blueberry and tobacco leaf.

  1. Merlot

If you love a good red wine, Merlot makes an excellent choice for fall. With notes of vanillas, bay leaf, and plum, this medium-body red pairs well with roast turkey and short ribs.

For a merlot you’ll love, try Josh Merlot 2019 from Josh Cellars in Napa Valley. Josh Merlot is soft and inviting with balanced flavors of blueberry, raspberry, and milk chocolates and scents of fragrant violets and vanilla.

  1. Beaujolais

Another good transitional wine is a Beaujolais. This light red wine is known for its light acidity, mild tannins, and bright notes of candied fruit. It pairs well with a wide range of foods, from steak to hearty pastas.

Check out the 2021 Domaine Jean Foillard Beaujolais Nouveau, which will be released on November 18, 2021. This wine showcases hints of raspberry, with a toasty oak flavor. You may also want to consider Louis Jadot Beaujolais. This French wine is plump and juicy, has fresh aromas and flavors of strawberries and black cherries offset by lively, peppery notes.

Get the Best Fall Wines for any Occasion at Nick’s of Calvert

Now that you know all about fall wines and the many options available this time of the year, you can start enjoying these different varieties with your meals and celebrations. Nick’s of Calvert offers one of the largest selections of wine, beer, and spirits in Southern Maryland – all at the lowest prices.

We carry many excellent fall wines, including some premium labels. Whether you are sure of your selection or need help making the right choice, we’d be happy to help. Contact us at (410) 414-7105 with any questions or visit us today.

Choosing the Right Wine for Your Summer Meals

As the temperatures get warmer and the days get longer, you may be looking forward to spending a bit more leisure time with friends and family. One of the things that complements these summer get-togethers is food and wine.

But it’s not always easy to figure out which combinations work best. Before you just guess or make a choice that will mess up an otherwise tasty meal, here is what you need to know about pairing the right wine with your food during these summer months.

Guidelines for Drinking Wine in the Summertime

If you are going to pick out and pair wines during the summer, here are a few guidelines to follow to maximize your enjoyment:

  1. Go for Chilled Options
    During the summertime, the temperature of your wine plays a significant role in your enjoyment. Ideally, white wine should be served between 49 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Red wine can be a bit warmer at a range of 62 to 68 degrees when serving. Chill your wine in the fridge several hours before you plan to serve it.
  2. Seek Out Wines With Moderate Bodies and Tannins
    The body of a wine refers to how it feels in your tongue in terms of strength and heaviness. Tannins are a chemical compound found in wine that is responsible for its astringent sensation. Wines with higher tannins tend to be bolder and heavier, which is why you want something moderate or light for the warmer months of the year.
  3. Opt for Oak Sparingly
    Oak-aged wines can be heavy-bodied with rich caramel and vanilla flavors. Unless the food you are serving calls for such a bold wine, search out options that have not been aged in oak barrels.
  4. Make Sure You Consider What You are Eating
    We often change up what we eat in the summer, and this also calls for some new wine options. A lighter dish should be paired with a lighter wine, and so forth. Fuller-bodied wines can be reserved for heavier dishes like steaks, ribs, and barbeque.

The Best White Wines for Your Summer Meals

The aromatic and crisp to the tart and lively, fruit-fragrant, white wines have a definitive place at the summer table. Here are some of the best white wines for summer and the ways you can pair them with popular dishes.


Staring with a popular white wine, but also a challenging one for summer, Chardonnay has a subtle nature that can be easily overwhelmed. It can be impacted by strong flavors, so it’s a good idea to choose your food pairings carefully.

Pairs well with:

  • Cheese-filled charcuterie boards
  • Creamy pasta dishes, such as alfredo
  • Roast pork or chicken

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a versatile wine and the perfect choice for your next barbeque. It pairs incredibly well with a variety of dishes. The wine is acidic, creamy, and spicy, but pay attention to the different flavor profiles to choose your favorite.

Pairs well with:

  • Roasted and grilled vegetables
  • Sushi
  • Spicy or citrus-flavored dishes

Pinot Grigio

Depending on the region, the flavor profiles of pinot gris can fluctuate substantially. Because of this, make sure you investigate the different varietals before making your choice.

Pairs well with:

  • Grilled chicken and vegetables
  • Shrimp cooked with lemon and garlic
  • Boiled or grilled lobster


Rieslings are a highly acidic and fruity white wine varietal that are available in sweet and dry forms. But the wine is an excellent choice for hot days because of its fruity flavor profiles.

Pairs well with:

  • Cole slaw and potato salad
  • Roasted pork

The Best Red Wines for Your Summer Meals

If you are a red wine lover, you won’t have to give up your favorite vintage just because the temps are soaring. Here is what you need to know:

Pinot Noir

A favorite among red wine enthusiasts, pinot noir has a light-body and fruity undertones, making it the perfect choice for summer.

Pairs well with:

  • Grilled fish and meat
  • Pasta with red sauce
  • Fresh bruschetta


There are several categories of Beaujolais to choose from, but they all make excellent summer choices due to their low acidity and juicy undertones. It is also a wine that is meant to be served chilled.

Pairs well with:

  • Quiche
  • Pizza
  • Barbeque


Chianti is an Italian red wine that is popular for its accessibility and simple food pairings. It has an acidic and earthy quality but can be served chilled.

Pairs well with:

  • Burgers and steaks
  • Pasta with red sauce or olive oil

Get the Right Summer Wines for Every Occasion at Nick’s of Calvert

Now that you know all about summer wines and their food pairings, you can get what you need quickly and get back to the business of enjoying your meals. Nick’s of Calvert offers one of the largest selections of wine, beer, and spirits in Southern Maryland – all at the lowest prices.

We carry hundreds of wines, including some super premium selections. Whether you know exactly what you want or need some help making the perfect selection, we’d be happy to help. Contact us today at (410) 414-7105 with any questions or come into our Prince Frederick location to shop today.