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Five tips for an awesome Valentine’s dinner

How better to say ‘I love you’ than to prepare a perfect Valentine’s feast for your loved one? It will be much more romantic than a crowded restaurant filled with cheesy pink balloons, I promise!

Here are some thought-starters:

One: Sensuous food

photo credit: notsogoodphotography via photopin cc

photo credit: notsogoodphotography via photopin cc

A romantic dinner is a time to think about the five senses more than usual. Consider texture: is it velvety, syrupy, crisp, moist? What about colour: have you got rich contrasting hues? Scent should also be a consideration. Get a variety in there.

Two: Sharing food

photo credit: avlxyz via photopin cc

photo credit: avlxyz via photopin cc

Sounds cheesy, but sharing a plate is a symbol of trust and partnership. What better time to show it? Spanish tapas dishes lend themselves particularly well to sharing plates.

Three: Activity food

photo credit: Sakurako Kitsa via photopin cc

photo credit: Sakurako Kitsa via photopin cc

Make a valentine’s feast into a fun activity for two: activity food!

My favourite variant on this is sushi: prepare your rice carefully well in advance, then get a bunch of great fillings and some nori. You can experiment and make each other new sushi creations.

Home-made pizza with a variety of toppings also makes great activity food, as do pancakes, and fondue.

Four: Nostalgia food

photo credit: David Gallagher via photopin cc

photo credit: David Gallagher via photopin cc

This one is based on brain science which says (I paraphrase) we build positive connections with things (or people) that remind us of things we care about / enjoy – because of that existing positive association. In other words, you make apple pie and remind your significant other of the feeling of being loved as a child, and you are also associated with that loving feeling. Obviously, it has to be something which triggers a memory for that individual: perhaps something from their family’s culture.

Five: Meaningful food

photo credit: skinnydiver via photopin cc

photo credit: skinnydiver via photopin cc

Nothing says ‘I care’ like choosing food that is special to your date, even if you don’t like that food yourself. Treat them to their favourite imported cheese, meat or fish. Buy that expensive bottle of wine that you had together on holiday. Or perhaps it’s something from their home country, or a country they love – even if they’ve never eaten it before they’ll appreciate the thought.

And a final tip: keep your cool!

Don’t make it so difficult that you’re a red-faced mess by the time they arrive. Or worse, you’re still slaving in the kitchen while they eat! Make it special, but not so serious that you can’t laugh it off if they hate it. It’s important you have fun too.

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