A trio of beer-paired desserts to celebrate Valentine's Day

CL teamed up with Locale pastry chef Kate Bates to develop matches both dreamy and decadent.

click to enlarge Locale and FarmTable's mascarpone cheesecake goes great with blueberry cider from Slim Pickens. - Thomas Barris
Thomas Barris
Locale and FarmTable's mascarpone cheesecake goes great with blueberry cider from Slim Pickens.

Ah, Valentine’s Day. A wave of Cupid’s arrows has rained down upon us all, as people who hold the centuries-old holiday in high regard adorn their loved ones with fresh flowers, sweet words and even sweeter bites.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, other folks out there are utterly over the influx of velvety teddy bears cradling small balloons that say, “I WUV U.” But that doesn’t mean they can’t have their cake, or beer-matched dessert, and eat it, too.

CL has teamed up with pastry chef Kate Bates of downtown St. Pete’s Locale Market and FarmTable Cucina to develop three dessert and beer pairings — both dreamy and decadent — that just might compel you to cut V-Day a little slack.

Whether you’re trying to impress a certain beer buff in your life or treat yourself on Wednesday, stop by the first-floor gourmet market or the Italian-inspired restaurant on Locale’s second level to pull off the following combos at home.

click to enlarge Chocolate s'mores tart. - Thomas Barris
Thomas Barris
Chocolate s'mores tart.


Keep it Florida with an oatmeal coffee stout from Swamp Head Brewery in Gainesville. Made with locally roasted coffee, Midnight Oil has great depth of flavor from those whole java beans and a slightly roasted malt backbone that’s bold and smooth. Thankfully, the chocolate s’mores tart cuts through any lingering bitterness from the beer — and adds some rich sweetness to help meld the mashup together in perfect harmony.


Among the line of hard ciders made with top-notch fruit from Tampa Bay’s Slim Pickens Cider & Mead, this blueberry cider — created for musician Mike Tozier — is balanced and clean. Owner Todd Strauss uses opulent blueberries, which burst out alongside a nice semi-sweet finish from apple juice. Complemented by the very creamy, yet not overly sweet, mascarpone cheesecake, the flavors of the cider are rounded out — bringing the dessert’s fresh berries to the front without being overbearing. A match made in mascarpone heaven.

click to enlarge Coconut haystacks. - Thomas Barris
Thomas Barris
Coconut haystacks.


The world-class Saison Athene — one of Tarpon Springs-based Saint Somewhere Brewing Company’s classic-style farmhouse saisons brewed with select indigenous ingredients — pours slightly hazy with notes of herbs, ripe citrus, moderate hop character and other fruit. Dipped in bittersweet Valrhona French chocolate, coconut haystacks are rich and sweet, but the beer manages to stand up to the heaviness of these delicious little morsels, resulting in a bright, clean and happy finish.

Connect with CL contributor and certified cicerone Thomas Barris on Twitter.

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