Ah, Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us and, with it, all the thoughts of “how do I best show my love?” and “what should I cook?”. Whilst many people might be opting for a restaurant visit, I personally think that this has to probably be the worst day of the year for such an undertaking. I mean, it’s hardly romantic to sit in a room full with other couples, frazzled waiters delivering bottles upon bottles of champagne (or getting dirty looks when it’s Cava instead) and the atmosphere being tense with people not knowing what to talk about, expecting a proposal, arguing over wine choices, trying to hide from the rose seller making the rounds (delete as applicable)… Okay, I’m probably painting an overly dim picture here, but I guess you’ll know what I mean and where I’m going with this. A meal for two at home, maybe even cooked together and enjoyed without the company of strange couples has to be more romantic, don’t you think?
So, to that end I’ve put together some romantic food suggestions, some obvious, some maybe less so. Oh, and you might be relieved to know that I’ve left oysters off the list: these are probably best left to restaurants in order to avoid a not-so-romantic trip to A&E because the oyster knife opened your hand instead of the shell…
Pasta: this might not be the most obvious choice, but there’s something really nice about a simple bowl of spaghetti and a glass of red wine. Maybe it’s down to the idea of romantic little Italian restaurants at sunset. Or maybe it’s the Disney classic “Lady and the Tramp” (remember the scene with the spaghetti strand eaten from both ends?). Preparing such a meal together and then chatting over dinner seems pretty romantic to me.
Baked Brie or Camembert
Baked brie or camembert: We don’t usually want to feel overly full after a romantic dinner and might even want to leave some room for dessert, so this kind of dish is perfect. Topped with fruits and nuts, it can be made to look as pretty as any really fancy dish with a lot less work. Also, since it’s a sharing dish, it seems pretty perfect for the occasion.
Chocolate: You simply cannot have Valentine’s Day without chocolate. Fact. But rather than going for the overly sweet, pink foil-wrapped, heart-shaped chocolate cliché, making your own chocolate mousse is a far more pleasurable and tasty way of enjoying some of the dark stuff. It also pairs much nicer with wine and makes for a more thoughtful dessert – a win-win if you ask me…
Wine: A glass of wine (or two) is for most people a must for any romantic dinner. Choosing the right one to go with your food might, however, be a bit of a minefield. Choose something that will work with the food you’re serving (to be on the safe and traditional side, white works with fish and white meats, red with most cheeses and red meats) and that isn’t too heavy as you don’t want the evening to end prematurely due to a wine-induced headache. There are some good websites out there that offer wine-pairing advice which you can turn to for help.
The most important thing to remember amongst all the planning is this: keep things relatively simple since nothing will kill the romantic mood quicker than being completely frazzled by a complicated recipe. Put the emphasis on enjoying the evening and, if in doubt, put some candles on and pour another glass of wine.
Happy Valentine’s Day!