It’s time to bring back an annual tradition that, regretfully, I forgot about last Halloween. In the past, I’ve asked experts ranging from wine bloggers to winery owners regarding what wines they might drink with Halloween candy. Because let’s face it, candy is everywhere this time of year and there’s no better way to satisfy a sweet tooth than by washing it down with a glass of wine or local beer.

This year, we have answers from three of San Diego’s popular chefs and a sommelier tasked with overseeing beverages at the Cohn Restaurant Group.

Trey Foshee, Executive Chef and Partner of Georges at the Cove

Whenever we have visitors in town, we take them to Georges Ocean Terrace for a casual lunch with a panoramic ocean view–a quintessential La Jolla experience. Downstairs, California Modern elevates locally-driven cuisine to another level. The presentation is stunning–don’t go without ordering a fish taco. Trey was kind enough to quickly chime in from a holiday in Napa with input from Nolan Cooper, Georges at the Cove wine director.

Favorite candy?
Rice crispy treats, caramel apples or any other almost natural type item.

Paired with…
Riesling or ice wine because they are easy-to-drink options while multitasking on Halloween between walking around the neighborhood and passing out candy at home.

Halloween plans?
I’ll be in the restaurant most of the day and hopefully out early. No costume planned yet.

Brian Malarkey, Executive Chef and Restauranteur

Brian Malarkey (literally) wears a lot of hats. His Fabric of Social Dining restaurants include Searsucker (San Diego, Del Mar, Austin), Herringbone (La Jolla and Los Angeles) and Green Acre (two San Diego locations). This week, he’s featuring a pretty sweet “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” offal set menu with optional wine pairing at Searsucker Del Mar and downtown through October 31. But, one of my favorite dishes in all of La Jolla is the whole fish ceviche at Herringbone.

Favorite candy?
I love gummies:  sharks, worms, bears, cherries, sour, sweet, bottle caps, whales–all of them. My sweet tooth knows no Chocolate.

Paired with…
Color me metro–I love Champagne, Cava, Prosecco, Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc and local beer. I get to know my friend Sculpin once or twice a week–beware the Sculpin can sting the next morning… !

Halloween plans?
With twin 4-year-olds and a 6-year-old, a costume is a MUST. Hunter is Darth Vader, Sailor is Anna from Frozen, Miles is Bumblebee the Transformer, Mommy is Princess Leah and I have a wonderful costume… Pharrell–because I’m HAPPY! Got the hat off of Amazon! We all load up on the golf cart and cruise around our neighborhood of Point of Loma – HAPPY!!!

Brandon Fortune, Executive Chef

I recently had the pleasure of enjoying an amazing 6-course meal at Kitchen 1540, recently refreshed by the arrival of Brandon Fortune (UPDATE: He has since left the restaurant) who now oversees each of the boutique hotel’s menus. The menu at L’Auberge Del Mar’s signature restaurant features upscale Southern comfort food with seasonal flair–order the baked bread pudding and thank me later. 

Favorite candy?
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Mini’s.

Paired with…
A nice Oregon Pinot Noir.

Halloween plans?
I don’t think I will be dressing up this year but if I were I would likely be a Ninja Turtle, probably Leonardo. I will be trick-or-treating with my daughter Camila (she just turned 2 and is finally ready) who is dressing up as Ana from Frozen. We are also going to go to Disneyland for Mickey’s Halloween Party.

Maurice DiMarino, Wine and Beverage Manager and Certified Sommelier for Cohn Restaurant Group

If you’ve ever enjoyed a tasty beverage at any of the Cohn Restaurant Group dining spots, thank Maurice DiMarino who brings 26 years of experience to the table gained through a love of travel, wine, and culture. Our favorite in the group is probably BO-beau kitchen + bar where the servers are always able to recommend a reasonably priced bottle of wine every time we go.

Favorite candy?
My favorite Halloween candy is Almond Joy. Although I usually don’t buy it at the store, I always look forward to searching through my kids’ stash for the Almond Joys.

Paired with…
I could easily pair it with either a wine or beer. With wine, I’d use a Dios Baco olorosso Sherry or if I wanted a dry wine I’d go with a full-bodied Cali-Cab with a fair amount of oak. Maybe Daou Reserve. With beer, I’d take my stash to Monkey Paw brewery and eat it with one of their Schwarzbiers or their Highwater Campfire S’mores Stout.

Halloween plans?
This year I have several plans. Friday, Trick or Treat with my kids. Saturday, a “Book of Life” themed Halloween party where I will dress as Pancho Villa “day of the dead style”. Sunday, celebrate Dia de los Muertos with 5 Mexican-American wineries from Napa valley at a private home in Mission Hills for a school fundraiser. Busy, busy, busy!

Tami Wong, Sommelier at Juniper & Ivy

I haven’t yet been to Juniper & Ivy, Richard Blais’ Left Coast eatery in Little Italy, but hear it’s fantastic. Sommelier Tami Wong chimes in with her Halloween pick.

Favorite candy:
I love anything chocolate.

Paired with…
Brachetto would be a fun Halloween wine. It’s made in Piedmont and is a softly sparkling, floral red.

Katie Dillon headshot

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. What a creative idea! Brian Malarkey wins with me. I am not a huge fan of chocolate either. I too love gummy anything! Happy Halloween!

  2. What a fun post! Thanks for letting us have a glimpse into the tastes (and costumes!) of our local food and wine tastemakers.

    Happy Halloween!

  3. This is such a cool idea! I like Chef Brandon, sounds like we are on the same page. I love Reese’s and my family dressed up as Ninja Turtles this year!