Okay here we go, one of the most dreaded days on the calendar is almost here – February 14th. That’s right Valentine’s Day.
This is an article I wrote and published four years ago that I thought was worth recycling with some updates.
Historically Saint Valentine was said to be a Saint from the 3rd century who practiced the sacrament of matrimony at a time in Roman history when such actions were punishable by death and of course that was the eventual fate of good old St. V. One of his last acts was to send a written note to the daughter of his jailer. Out of this simple act it is said the Valentine was born.
Personally I put Valentine’s Day, or more specifically Valentine’s evening, right up there with New Year’s Eve in terms of stress and anxiety. So much is riding on this one solitary evening, so much expectation that it always feels forced and contrived.
Is Valentine’s Day more than hearts and flowers? Well it is considered the most romantic day of the year so from that perspective we shouldn’t really ignore it.
My suggestions for Valentine’s Day are directed to couples. Not that singles aren’t an important component but that is a whole other area of stress I don’t want anything to do with. I’m sure you will find countless articles extolling the virtues of being single (read “alone”) on Valentine’s Day.
So what are your options? I love the idea of a romantic dinner for two but I also hate the idea of trudging to my favourite restaurant where the servers, chef, and kitchen staff are even more frazzled than a Saturday night during Dine Out.
Here’s where to start. Think traditional Valentine’s and buy your loved one a printed card, or a handmade card even better. At least a few days ahead give your special someone his or her Valentine’s Day card which will include an invitation to a romantic dinner.
Start now with the planning, set your menu, choose the wine, place your order for flowers and buy the candles. There are numerous caterers and gourmet grocery stores where you can buy prepared menu items, or for those of you with the skills, consider making your own dinner.
Don’t forget the details. Pull out all the stops when you set your dinner table, tablecloth or placemats, linen napkins, napkins rings, sparkling wineglasses and water goblets along with your candles and a nice floral arrangement and voila the perfect setting for your romantic dinner at home.
Every good meal starts with the right appetizer, be it a frozen goodie you’ve heated in the oven or a salumi plate, make it special by adding a garnish to the platter and serve a traditional French “aperitif” (white wine, still or sparkling, with a fruit syrup or fruit liqueur and add a piece of fresh fruit or a small scoop of sorbet).
A favourite comfort dish or the one you shared on your first date? Select just the right wine. Do some research if you need to or ask your local wine store for their recommendations.
The dessert is a very important component and should be chosen with care. There are some excellent bakeries and chocolate shops to choose from. Chez Christophe features hand crafted chocolates and Thomas Haas has delicious offerings – just be sure to order early to avoid disappointment.
Flowers – a bouquet of roses is a bit cliché so why not try something more original like a petite arrangement from Quince Fine Florals or Granville Island Florist located in South Granville or off the lobby in the Fairmont Pacific Rim.
The extras – romantic music of course but how about a slide show of your special moments to enjoy together while sipping a glass of bubbly.
Not feeling the kitchen vibe, no matter if presented right, even take out can be a romantic dinner alternative.
Up the intimacy with scented candles, a relaxing soak in the tub with lavender essence and a soothing massage. Doesn’t get much better than this!
Whether you choose the all out option or just a taste of shared dessert you are bound to have a wonderful time, just the two of you.
Not your style? How about a cooking class?
Bella Cibo’s Kitchen If you love good food, cooking and Italian Culture, then you have to come and meet Marzia, a Real Authentic Italian mom and wife. Marzia will welcome you in her kitchen like an old friends and she will share her passion for good, healthy home-made with a love is not a regular class, it’s a cooking and eating experience that brings people together and promote the passion for Italian Food.
Her classes are usually hands-on, for adults or kids and they are perfect for every occasion like: birthday parties, bachelorette parties, girls night out, mom and daughter get together, couples and more .Cooking is the best place to build precious, unforgettable memories.
Email Marzia at [email protected] to book your cooking cards available for every occasion.
A traditional Valentine’s Dinner take out from:
Edible Canada Bistro at Granville Market
1596 Johnston Street, Vancouver, BC
Maenam West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
Jamjar West 11th Avenue, Vancouver
1038 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC
Tableau Bar Bistro French take out menu
1181 Melville Street, Vancouver, BC
Desserts and chocolates:
Chez Christophe Chocolataterie Patisserie 4717 Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC chef-christophe.com
Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe
2150 Fir Street, Vancouver, BC
Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie
2539 West Broadway Avenue, Vancouver, BC
For the Valentine who has some skill in the kitchen may we suggest a recipe from #TasteofThursday (and a great cookbook makes a wonderful gift):
Chef Rod Butters Arctic Char recipe from The Okanagan Table Cookbook
Earls Santa Fe Chicken Salad recipe from Earls the Cookbook available to purchase from your local Earls restaurant
Chef Ned Bell LURE Cookbook
Quince Fine Florals
4870 MacKenzie Street, Vancouver, BC
Granville Island Florist
3050 Granville Street, Vancouver, BC Lobby of Fairmont Pacific Rim
Happy Valentine’s Day!