Valentine’s Day is approaching fast and clinging hard to its cliché menu of red wine and milk chocolates served inside a heart-shaped box. There’s not much mystery—or much travel—involved to fulfill this V-Day ritual. And personally, I’m much more likely to swoon over a rich, frothy stout than a glass of pinot noir. Thankfully, Beer Dreamer is breaking the norm for hop-lovers like myself by pairing craft beers from around the globe with artisanal foods. In light of Valentine’s Day, their Beer and Chocolate Box ($75) will send your taste buds on a world tour. Two brews—a crisp, raspberry-infused lambic ale from Belgium and an imperial coffee stout from San Diego, CA—come paired with truffles from Charles Chocolates in San Francisco and a single-origin Ritual Chocolate Costa Rica Bar, respectively.
Fruity is the tone for the first beer-chocolate duo: passion fruit, orange peel, and raspberry truffles play up the Boon Framboise’s raspberry hints, but save the bourbon truffle for last. Its hint of alcohol is an ideal offset to the sweet lambic. Second course is served up heavier: deep coffee notes in the Alesmith Speedway Stout swirl well with the Denver-based Ritual Chocolate’s blackberry and walnut flavored bar.
Founder and CEO Jordan Elpern-Waxman suggests taking a sip of the dark stuff, a bite of chocolate, and then another swig to capture the pair’s flavors in action. And take note of the process—craft beer is a booming trend in America. Nearly 450 breweries opened across the U.S. in 2013 alone, and the numbers continue to rise. Jordan’s picks for the best beer areas in 2014 include San Diego, CA, Denver, CO, and Washington’s Yakima Valley, a region that grows the most hops in the country. Now that’s a craze even singles can get behind.
Order Beer Dreamer's Artisinal Beer and Chocolate Box on their website here by February 10 if you're an East Coast or Midwest tippler, and by February 5 if you'll be sipping anywhere else in the country. Enter the promo code TLCHOCOLATE for $10 off at check-out.
Maria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.