Ripe for the Moment
They’re called Snog, so you know these strawberry-black pepper breath mints by Cape Herb and Spice mean business. The slightly sweet little tablets come in a slim pocket pack, and their fruit-tinged minty-ness subsides into a warm, spicy glow that lingers on the tongue ($3.50 at Bierkraft).
Last summer, an ingenious soul in Provence filled jars with local cherries, covered them with a syrup based on the local cherry eau-de-vie, and let them sit on a rooftop in the sun for awhile. The result: cerises aux soleil, shriveled, pit-in fruits infused with some serious firewater. Add a few cherries and a splash of their liquid to a glass of bubbly, or drizzle over a sweet, creamy dessert like the Valentine’s Day classic coeurs á la crème ($12.95 for a 600-gram jar at Formaggio Kitchen at Essex Street Market).
The only thing lovelier than a petal-pink marshmallow is one that actually has flavor. The squishy blocks of peppermint marshmallow at Baked liven up hot drinks, are peppy enough to make for good eating on their own, and will even freshen your breath. Act fast, before this seasonal flavor is phased out ($3.50 for six at Baked).
Biscuits Roses de Reims are the physical embodiment of sweet nothings, their sugar-topped, pink-dyed crispness dissolving almost as soon as you crunch down on them. Dip them in a demi-sec Champagne (their region of origin), or better yet layer the rosy ladyfingers in a glass bowl with raspberries and whipped cream ($4 for a box of twelve at Dean & DeLuca).
Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale is made in Japan using sake rice. This crisp, floral, moderately hoppy brew looks ruddy in the glass and goes great with Asian food — and its malty chocolate finish makes it perfect for rounding out a romantic meal ($3.99 for a twelve-ounce bottle at Whole Foods, $5.75 per twelve-ounce bottle at Bierkraft).
Red grapefruits may not have aphrodisiac qualities, but nothing says “I want to grow old with you” like splitting one of these beauties for breakfast. They’re at their sweetest and juiciest now, just when we could all use a boost of vitamin C, and they make for a bracing dessert (recipe) (widely available). — Zoe Singer