It may have been a heat-of-the-moment decision to ask to write a post regarding a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner for two. Conceptually, this strikes at the heart of my passion for cooking. I love to create menu pairings that elicit emotional responses that are ethereal, sensual, contemplative and exciting. And as I write, my heart is beginning to race with the anticipation of what will come next. My taste buds are tingling. I am perspiring. Have mercy!
For those of you hoping for that exquisite, gourmet, over-the-top menu plan, I apologize. I see Valentine’s Day as a celebration of love. To tempt the reader with tantalizing recipes for a five-course meal paired with wines that meld the menu together would be sinister and unfair. The recipes would secretly withhold the mountain of dishes, pots and pans that would need to be cleaned after the meal. All of the romance that would have been brewing over all the anticipation, preparation, conversation, and mastication would be lost before the last bubble went down the drain.
Instead, I want to offer a simple, romantic and memorable experience that will leave time and energy for all your Valentine’s Day festivities.
Valentine’s Day Picnic
2 ripe pears – Red D’anjou or Bosc
1 package of basil
1 fresh baked baguette
¼ pound of prosciutto
1 or 2 types of cheese (I recommend soft, creamy, spreadable types like Boursin, Brie, Local Chevre)
1 bottle of a favorite sipping wine (I recommend a crisp and fruity white like Sauvingnon Blanc, Chenin Blanc or Reisling or Proseco or Cava)
3 favorite flowers
You will also need a picnic blanket, wooden cutting board, wine glasses, linen napkins and a candle if it will be dark. You may also choose to incorporate a few pieces of dark chocolate.
The extent of the prep is minimal. Clear a space on the floor large enough for the picnic blanket. Chill the wine. Warm the baguette in the oven. Allow the cheese to come to room temperature. Chiffonade (cut into thin strips) the basil. Slice the pears. Cut the pomegranate in half. Roll the prosciutto into rosettes. Arrange the food items on the cutting board. Open the wine. From here you are on your own.
Again, I apologize to those that were hoping for something more elaborate. Love is complex enough as it is. As a side note, I had this idea 14 years ago to impress some girl I knew from college. This is the most memorable of the 14 Valentine’s Day we have spent together.