Whether you're in a long term relationship and would like to add a little spark or a new romance is blossoming, here are my top tips for Valentines Day.
If you're staying in:
Keep the menu simple. Don't attempt to make something that you've never tried before. Classic dishes that are well presented and cooked to perfection will be much more impressive than a complex recipe that causes you stress and looks like a science experiment. If you wish to live on the edge and follow the instructions of a molecular gastronomy style cookbook, hopefully you're one of those lucky people who gets it right the first time or your Valentine has a good sense of humour.
Be prepared! Plan ahead and work out what components can be cooked, chopped, peeled, boiled and baked in advance so you spend as little time in the kitchen as possible, unless you're both crazy about cooking and this becomes the focus of your evening together.
Make sure the dishes are balanced. If the main dish is rich and substantial, choose a light entree so you're not too full for something sweet, oh, and of course dessert!
Red roses might be considered cliche by some but they truly are THE flower to be given as a romantic gesture.
Atmosphere is very important so think about what music to play in the background, soft mood lighting including candles and ensure a comfortable room temperature (it could get a bit heated, with all that hot food, candles and wine...).
Champagne is not something to skimp on. For a good quality bottle of bubbles I recommend spending at least $50. If you want to be extravagant, French champagne will earn you extra points.
When it comes to wine, if you're not sure what matches best with the dishes, don't be afraid to ask for assistance while shopping.
If you're dining out
Don't leave it to the last minute to book!
Don't fall into the trap of paying a fortune just because it's Valentines Day.
Do your research and make sure the restaurant you select has the atmosphere to suit the tone of your date. Are you looking for somewhere upbeat where you can dance and enjoy a few cocktails or somewhere romantic and quiet where you can talk?
Consider what your Valentine prefers to eat and whether there are any allergies or dietary requirements to cater for. Some venues may not be able to offer suitable alternatives and you could be stuck eating salad.
We are looking forward to our Dinner and Live Opera event tonight and wish everyone a happy Valentine's Day.