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The food of love: Is Valentine's Day best home-cooked?

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Fiona Beckett Fiona Beckett | 11:12 UK time, Monday, 13 February 2012

One day to go to V-day and the media is full of heart-shaped creations and other romantic recipes you feel you ought to be making. Restaurants are falling over themselves to lure us in with special offers and supermarkets with meal deals for two. So who’s got it right? Is it better to go out or to stay in?

Rose Prosecco Cocktail


Personally I think Valentine’s day is the worst night in the year to go out for dinner. If you want it to be a special evening do you really want to share it with 50-odd strangers in a packed restaurant that will almost invariably overcharge you for the privilege - and certainly for the champagne?

On the other hand do you want to spend the evening, hot and flustered slaving over a stove on a creation you’ve never tried before and which may turn out to be a disaster if you take your eye off it - which you - er hem - might well. Hardly relaxing.

Then there’s the question of who fancies what foodwise? She may be bowled over at the thought of a salmon steak and a heart-shaped meringue nest topped with raspberries (though I reckon women’s reputed addiction to all things pink is seriously overplayed). He may fancy a hearty steak. Who’s treating who?

I guess there are some incurable romantics who take great pleasure in planning a special evening and others who regard Valentine’s day as a load of commercial tosh. It also depends what stage your relationship is at. A surprise, beautifully cooked dinner is a great way to impress if you can pull it off.

My own solution, I must confess, is to hunker down for a cosy night in with a bottle of champagne, lashings of smoked salmon and some gorgeous gooey cheese - maybe a baked vacherin or camembert but nothing that takes too much effort.

But how about you? What do you plan to do? And what would you cook to hook a new love?


For ideas, see our Valentine's Day Recipes

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  • Comment number 1.

    I agree with you, I don't tend to go over the top as it's generally an anti climax. However, this year I am going out for a meals to a small bistro where I live. I am looking forward to it.

  • Comment number 2.

    Even the most ardent cook needs a night off. To reward my better half I booked her into a cookery class in Florence- . Maybe not as romantic as some, but at least she'll remember it!

  • Comment number 3.

    That's a lovely idea @rue_romance. I'm sure she will! And if you are going to go out @clecks a small intimate restaurant is definitely best. Happy Valentine's Day!

  • Comment number 4.

    We enjoyed a special supermarket deal for our St V's meal tonight. It was easy to prepare, tasted good and not much washing up. Just finishing off a nice glass of Calvados to end the evening - perfect. Love an excuse to celebrate on a weeknight!

  • Comment number 5.

    I surprised my husband with some dish I've learned through I also took the advice I found on their blog and we simply enjoyed the moment.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    I had booked the cinema tickets for The Descendants (a night out without 2 small children doesn't come round very often and we couldn't remember the last time we were both out at the movies) and hoped to get something before the showing. True to form, everywhere was full with a wait of at least 45 minutes, so we ended up at The Yellow Arches (McDonalds) for one of the most disappointing experiences of the year. OK, I shouldn't have expected much, but the mild food poisoning and temperature later that evening did push me over the edge. The film was excellent and we both agreed that the evening was memorable, though maybe not to be repeated too soon.


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