11 Romantic Food and Wine Dinner Menu Pairings for Date Nights at Home

Chicken-Sausage Meatballs with Zucchini
Photo: Brie Passano

Date night done right! Instead of making a reservation, make a memorable wine dinner together. Share a romantic food and wine dinner menu pairing at home. With dishes like oysters and pasta and desserts like chocolate fondue and cheesecake, we've paired some of our best recipes with a range of affordable vinos. Some recipes go well with white wine, and there's food that goes with red wine, too. Whatever you decide, it's going to taste delicious!

01 of 11

Charcuterie Platter

Charcuterie Platter
Jason Donnelly

Like the fancy appetizer board you might order at a restaurant, this charcuterie platter is a beautiful and variety-filled way to relax into a DIY date night. It's actually even better enjoyed at home. Not only can you customize your spread with your favorite cured meats, cheeses, pickled items, spreads, and more, but you also can enjoy it in the comfort of your pajamas if desired.

Pair it with: A lighter-bodied red like a Bordeaux makes a lovely red wine food pairing for the cured meats. We recommend 2015 Château Greysac Cru Bourgeois Médoc.

02 of 11

Oysters de Tabasco

multiple Oysters de Tabasco on ice
Karla Conrad

If you're more in the mood for a lighter start to your romantic wine dinner, try fresh oysters as your app instead of meats and cheeses. For this fiery rendition, we call for spicing up the natural aphrodisiac with a buttery, peppery sauce spiked with bacon. What's not to love?

Pair it with: Wildly affordable, effervescent Vinho Verde from Portugal. Try Broadbent Vinho Verde ($10, wine.com).

03 of 11

Grain Salad with Greens, Cherries, and Crispy Bacon

Grain Salad with Greens, Cherries, and Crispy Bacon
Blaine Moats

Tiptoe from snack to supper territory with a hearty whole-grain dinner salad. With savory bacon, sweet cherries, nutty farro, and funky blue cheese, it's far more flavorful than your standard side salad. Plus, all of those complex flavors make it a dreamy rosé wine-food pairing.

Pair it with: A crisp Provence rosé along the lines of 2018 Trés Chic Rosé ($19, winc.com).

04 of 11

Chicken-Sausage Meatballs with Zucchini

Chicken-Sausage Meatballs with Zucchini
Brie Passano

Savor a Lady and the Tramp slurp-a-spaghetti-strand moment with this cozy, light meatball pasta dinner. Chicken meatballs are remarkably juicy and fall-apart tender once infused with shredded zucchini. Toss them with your favorite marinara sauce and a big pile of pasta, then all that's left to do is twirl and share a big bowl.

Pair it with: One of the best tips for pairing wine with food is, "What grows together goes together." So for food that goes with red wine, like this classic pasta dinner, we recommend a light Italian red such as a 2017 Dei Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

05 of 11

Simplified Paella

Simplified Paella in bowls
Jacob Fox

Invite your plus-one on a taste bud tour of Spain by serving this seafood and rice entrée as part of your food and wine pairing menu. After just 25 minutes of prep time, it cooks itself in your slow cooker as you share a snack and start the night with an appetizer, cocktail, or sparkling wine.

Pair it with: Spanish Tempranillo like 2016 CVNE Crianza

06 of 11

Red Wine Beef Stew with Cheesy Potatoes

pot of Red Wine Beef Stew with Cheesy Potatoes
Brie Passano

Beef stew is a match made in meal heaven as a food that goes with red wine. This one gets an über-comfy upgrade with a scalloped-potato-like topping, complete with melted butter and cheese. Yes, please!

Pair it with: Accentuate the beef and mushrooms—and use the rest of the bottle called for in the stew—by sipping on a fruity red like a 2018 Oberon Merlot with this dish.

07 of 11

Easy Boiled Lobster

Boiled Lobster
Blaine Moats

Few foods say, "treat yourself," more than a perfectly cooked lobster. Since it's not too heavy and feels a bit fancy, it's one of our go-to's for a wine-pairing dinner menu recipe. This rendition shows how simple and speedy it can be—the serves-two recipe can be on your table in just 30 minutes.

Pair it with: Since they're less buttery and more food-friendly than many new-world Chardonnays, try a French Chardonnay. We love William Fevre Chablis Champs Royaux

08 of 11

Petite Beef Wellingtons

Petite Beef Wellingtons
Carson Downing

A steak and wine dinner is good. But you know what's even better? Red wine with steak topped with ooh-la-la mushroom duxelles (a mixture of mushrooms sautéed with onions, shallots, garlic, and parsley) and wrapped in puff pastry. *Chef's kiss.*

Pair it with: A light- to medium-bodied red such as Pinot Noir. Consider 2018 Siduri Pinot Noir Willamette Valley.

09 of 11

Maple Cheesecake with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

Maple Cheesecake with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream
Carson Downing

No wine pairing dinner is complete without dessert! We're wild about this easy make-ahead cheesecake recipe that comes complete with a luscious homemade vanilla bean whipped cream. A sweet-tart pomegranate compote takes it over the top. (Try any leftover compote on tomorrow's waffles, biscuits, or oatmeal come breakfast.)

Pair it with: A nutty, rich, yet not too sweet tawny port. Try Graham's 10-Year-Old Tawny Port ($35, wine.com).

10 of 11

Dark Chocolate Fondue with Fruit Kabobs

Dark Chocolate Fondue Fruit Kabobs
Karla Conrad

Don't choose between after-dinner coffee or dessert. This retro slow cooker dessert combines both into one. Serve the food and wine pairing menu dessert with strawberries and angel food cake for a sweet, easy-to-share date night treat.

Pair it with: A rich Shiraz/Syrah. (They're made with the same grape, by the way, just called "Shiraz" if made in Australia.) Something like a 2017 Elderton Shiraz will work beautifully.

11 of 11

Banana Pancakes with Chocolate Bits and Raspberries

Banana Pancakes Chocolate Bits Raspberries
Jason Donnelly

Why stop at dinner and wine? Roll the celebrations into breakfast in bed—or if you prefer, a more casual breakfast-for-dinner date night—and sizzle up a batch of chocolate-and-berry pancakes.

Pair it with: Come morning, mimosas are a must, so opt for bubbly such as USUAL Brut ($48 for six 6.3-ounce bottles; USUAL Wines). OJ optional.

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