It’s almost Halloween! That glorious holiday where you can, if you choose to, check your morals at the door for an entire 24 hours. (Who needs a reason, really?) But who can resist the CANDY? Everyone turns into a seven year old at the sight of Halloween candy. The tiny packaging. The favorites that you scramble for. The bottom of the plastic pumpkin, which becomes like a barren wasteland for the undesired candy: black licorice? Candy corn? Necco wafers? RAISINETS?! C’mon.
So lets try something new this year! Now that you’re a grown up, you can drink wine with your candy! And you don’t even have to suffer the humiliation of begging for candy anymore. You can simply go to the store and pick yourself out a few of those fabulous mixed bags, put them in a plastic pumpkin, and place them on your kitchen table. Done and done. Crack open a bottle or two or five of your favorite wines and go. to. town. Let’s get a few ideas going!
Pop Rocks and Bubbly
Get this party started right, y’all. Pop open the bubbles! This pairing will also have you walking on the wild side, because it will remind you of that urban legend you heard as a kid involving pop rocks, soda, and death. Full disclosure; I have tried this pairing and I am still, indeed, alive. It really doesn’t get more fun than this! Pairing is just as much about texture as it is about taste. So what else would match beautifully with a bubbly beverage than a food item that quite literally BUBBLES? The fruity flavors will tickle your tongue, and the sharp acidity of a Sparkling wine will glide them effortlessly along. This is really a winning combo.
Sweet Tarts and Rosé
Naturally, Rosé is our next stop on the wine portion of this evening. Sweet tarts are great because they pierce just a little after you chew them. So what do you want to go with that? A lean, clean, dry Rosé with an equal little “pierce” of tart red and tropical fruits. Absolutely genius. Plus, even the orange Sweet Tarts, which are usually the last to be consumed, will taste delicious while you’re sipping Rose alongside.
Alternate Candy: Skittles, Nerds.
Lemonheads and Unoaked Chardonnay
Let’s get specific here, because this is a fun one. Chardonnay is sort of a chameleon; it can take many different forms depending on how it’s treated. An unoaked Chardonnay will often exhibit very bright, fun tropical notes including- you guessed it- lemon! When fermented in stainless steel rather than oak, Chardonnay has a nice lean texture and zestiness. Lemonheads are often overlooked, but quite delicious. They’re sweet, but have a nice sour pop when you chew them. Grab that Chard and sip away. The lemon-on-lemon action is guaranteed to excite the tastebuds. This is really one to try, I guarantee you’ll be amazed at how perfect it is!
Alternate Candy: the Lemon Starburst that no one else wants. Winning.
Red Twizzlers and a fun Spanish Red
So, you get a little leeway with this one. What you’re after here is a nice amount of bright red cherry and strawberry, which can be found in many-a-red wine, but Spain offers such tremendous values that it’s a great option. Tempranillo and Grenache are going to be your two most common; yet two more grapes that can assume many forms, but their fresh, young incarnations have marvelous red fruit to offer. And they’re easy on the wallet. Twizzlers are a simple yet fantastic candy. They don’t make you feel TOO guilty for eating them, and you never feel sick the way you do from eating too much of other candies. Twizzlers are the gift that keeps on giving.
The KING of all Halloween candy, the Reese’s Cup and… pretty much anything.
Or even the Reese’s Pumpkin. Your call. You know what goes with a Reese’s cup? LIFE. A Reese’s cup is heaven embodied in hydrogenated oils. But in all seriousness, this pairing is especially fun because you have two distinct elements to pair off of: the milk chocolate and the peanut butter. The creaminess of milk chocolate, to me, often goes beautifully with a nice silky Merlot. But then we must reconcile the nuttiness at the heart of the Reese’s cup. Want to go outside the box on this one? Try an Amontillado Sherry or a Madeira. Fortified wines are an epiphany for nutty flavors. Yes, your great aunt might drink only Sherry, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a whirl. This will be a magical experience. An added bonus: if you commit to buying a Sherry or Madeira, you’ve added a marvelous cooking tool to your next night in the kitchen, and they will keep much, much longer than your average still wine. Have fun looking up some recipes!
Alternate Candy: Butterfinger, which is the Queen to Reese’s King. The caramelly core (what exactly is it? who cares!) will also be great with a Sherry or Madiera.