"Cooking is Love made visible"- unknown
In the words of the classic self-help book, "Men are from Mars and women are from Venus". While this may be true, the good news is that there's much we agree on when it comes to celebrating Valentine's Day!
According to a 2019 Swagbucks survey: "The number one gift people are planning to give is a romantic dinner with over 90 percent of both men and women selecting dinner as their top choice. Sex comes in at a close second with 81 percent of men and 79 percent of women planning to "share the love" on Valentine's Day."
We'll focus on our area of expertise which is the culinary part of the equation and leave the erotic to your imagination. It's no secret that if well-executed, the first naturally compliments and flows into the second. Good food and wine awaken and inspire the senses and stimulate conversation and mood. A well-prepared and presented dinner is a powerful aphrodisiac! So, whether you're planning to dine at home or at a restaurant, hitting the right note is important.
Home is where the heart is
There are no hard and fast rules when designing your romantic evening but there are some upsides to doing it at home.
- It's more intimate and relaxing
- You can really focus on each other because you're not in a sea of noisy couples
- You can control the variables to set the mood and to personalize it
- You can save money on food, liquor and entertainment
You could also design a hybrid evening - half at home and half on the town. An example might be a play or comedy show followed by a romantic dinner at home.
Some simple mood-setting suggestions:
Creating a romantic mood doesn't have to be complicated but it should take personal tastes into account and should appeal to the five senses. For instance, in terms of lighting, you'd probably want to go with candlelight, moonlight, faerie lights, firelight or indirect low light. Essential oil diffusers or naturally-scented candles can add subtle appeal. You could create a special playlist just for the occasion with songs that you both love. You can even theme your evening! Think about how to best present your food. Consider setting a table that will compliment the dinner you're planning. This might include flowers, candles, attractive plateware and serving vessels, stemware and other creative flourishes.
Impressive, Delicious & Oh, So Easy
Executive Chef, Caroline Arend is offering a special Valentine's Day Beef short rib pot pie to take the guesswork and stress out of your romantic dinner. Caroline describes her process and ingredients as follows:
"Beef short ribs are seared and then slowly braised with red wine, fresh thyme and rosemary, garlic, carrots and onions. When the beef is tender enough to fall off the bone, the braise has reached the perfect stage of caramelization. We remove the meat from the bones and set it aside. Red wine is gently simmered with the pan leavings to create a beautiful reduction. We add the braised beef to the reduction and combine it with our savory pot pie base and top it with our sublime puff-pastry decorated with hand-cut hearts."
You can order yours here.
Caroline recommends a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon to compliment this main. She also suggests choosing one or two of these yummy and easy to make dishes to compliment your short rib pot pie:
- Arugula, pear and blue cheese salad with honey dijon dressing
- Cucumber, dill, red onion, tomato salad with rice vinegar and olive oil
- Warm or chilled asparagus with lemon feta vinaigrette
A Sweet Finish
Linger over our delicious Valentine's Day sweet and savory cheese board
- Assorted cheeses
- Cinnamon-spiced nuts
- Roasted pears
- Local honey
- Chunked chocolate
- Dried apricots
- Petite lemon-lavender cookies
- Chocolate covered pomegranate or blueberries
- Dates stuffed with blue cheese
- Assorted crackers
You can create your own or order yours here.