“Valentine’s is overrated!”, “So much pressure!”, “Shouldn’t we show our love every day of the year?” In short… it’s true!
People put so much pressure on themselves to create a big ado for Valentine’s in fear of not meeting some societal expectation and disappointing their significant other. And yes, we should show our love every day of the year. But if we can eliminate these stressful pressures and expectations then Valentine’s Day can be a opportunity to express your love in a unique and refreshing way. Now, we’re not exactly love experts, but we know our way around the kitchen, so let’s start with dinner!
Valentine’s dinner doesn’t have to mean a hefty bill at a fancy restaurant. It also doesn’t have to mean spending hundreds of dollars and all day in the kitchen making a mess of your stove top and yourmojo!
Here are 3 incredibly easy, affordable, and romantic ideas to impress and de-stress your Valentine’s Day dinner:
Grazing Platter and Bubbly
Grazing platters are fancy meets casual. A nice platter in the centre of your table with an assortment of your favourite cheeses, cured meats, and accompaniments will have you snacking and chatting about your favourite pairings. Sparkling wine or a non-alcoholic substitute makes for an optimal pairing as the bubbles work to cleanse your palette between bites. With nothing to cook and no rush to eat anything while it’s hot, grazing platters are amazing for a “no rush” kind of night. Bonus: minimal prep = minimal clean-up.
- 3-5 cheese (1 brie, 1 goat’s milk, 1 sheep’s milk, 1 cheddar, 1 blue or Parmesan)
- Variety of cured meat (prosciutto, capicola, soppresata)
- Pate or liver mousse
- Fresh fruit (grapes, figs, cherries, berries)
- Jam and/or honey
- Olives and/or pickles
- Bread and crackers
- 1 board, cheese knives, ramekins, small spoons, 2 side plates
Make-Your-Own Pizza Night
Cooking together can be a fun and romantic activity for couples. As the evening begin, getting a little messy and showing a bit of humility in the kitchen can really warm things up. Holding up the spoon to your partner to taste the sauce or wiping flour on their nose can really inspire a lot of playfulness. Cooking is sexy. There’s no way around it. And who doesn’t like pizza?
- Fresh pizza dough (store-bought or make your own)
- Can of crushed tomatoes
- Minced garlic
- Dry oregano
- Grated mozzarella
- Choice of toppings (Get fancy! Prosciutto, fresh basil, oyster mushrooms, roasted zucchini)
- Flour and cornmeal for the crust
- Baking tray
Order In Theme Night
Who says you need to cookor go out? Throw expectations out the door and order in from your favourite local spot. Elevate the evening by creating a themed dinner experience.
Here are a few ideas for inspiration!
In the Mumbai Mood:
- A spread of your favourite Indian dishes
- Warm Spiked Chai Cocktail
- Indian dinner music
- Indian scented candle or incense
- Comfy loose clothing
An Evening in Paris:
- Fancy French dinner
- A good bottle of French red wine
- French dinner music
- White table cloth and candles
- Dress up a bit (optional)
Tokyo Sushi Bar at Home:
- Generous sushi spread
- Transfer miso soup and salads to nicer dishes (optional)
- Chilled or warm sake with sake cups
- Any Japanese dinnerware you might have
- Japanese dinner music
Valentine’s Day dinner can be magic or misery. Don’t stress and follow your heart. A small amount of planning and effort with one necessary ingredient (LOVE) will have both of you looking forward to Valentine’s Day instead of dreading it! Being together on that day is the most important thing, not how much money is spent. You can by romance!
P.S. Here's a bonus Valentine's Date idea - A cooking class with The Chef Upstairs! Book you spot now, limited seats remaining!