Searching for Cloves and Lilies

Inspired by human body parts, sommelier Regine T. Rousseau pairs poetry with wine in her latest literary work, “Searching for Cloves and Lilies: The Wine Edition.” This book features 37 poems about love, heartbreak and relationships. Each one includes an anecdote and a wine selection that sets the scene for the metaphorical verses.

Rousseau enjoys educating others on the art of wine tasting and it shows in her narratives. They capture the mood and taste as if the reader is enjoying a glass of vino with her. Some favorite matchings consist of “Jean Loves Nicole” with Theopolis Vineyards’ Petite Sirah; “Sharon (Hair Stylist) and Dave (Barber)” with Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay; “Jamaican Bass Player” with Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva and “My Children” paired with The Piedmont Guy Vino Blanco. Rousseau shares her truth which shows her vulnerability throughout the pages. However, the raw language may offend some. Still, this makes it authentic and relatable. Furthermore, it’s not excessive.

The author asked friends and strangers, “What’s your favorite body part?” Some answered while others did not. She used their responses, silence and reactions to create the first edition of “Searching for Cloves and Lilies” in 2010. She revisited the poems each year and watched how they evolved over time. The World Wine Guys gave her the pairing idea while on a wine trip in Spain. She loved the concept of bringing her two passions together. This go-round, she discovered “their quietness, boldness, simplicity, and complexity and connected them with wines that matched their nature.”

Rousseau, a Haitian American, received her Level II certification from the International Sommelier Guild and an Executive Bourbon Steward from Stave and Thief Society. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Knox College and owns Shall We Wine, an event planning and wine-demonstration company in Chicago, Illinois.

“Searching for Cloves and Lilies” showcases poetry in a unique way and complements each poem using wine and its descriptors. Both allow room for subjectivity, making reading interesting and consumption easy on the palate. I recommend combining it with Angeline Reserve Pinot Noir, 2015. It represents everything that makes a good book: off-dry red with a hint of spice and a soft tannic finish.  “Searching for Lillies” is available on Amazon.

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Rekaya, aka The Food Temptress, is a freelance journalist, author and co-host of the sports podcast “Black Girls Talk Sports.” She has written content for Amtrak, Writer’s Digest Books and various lifestyle magazines. She also has penned seven books in multiple genres. In her spare time, she enjoys developing recipes and exploring Virginia’s 200+ wineries.