Love, oh love is grand isn't it? The connections that bind us to others, the way a voice softens, the flutter in your chest as a certain person walks into the room. Love. Ah love.
Many of us, however, don't see Valentine's Day as being particularly in sync with love. Instead a commercialised pressure-cooker situation resulting in (a) you didn't send flowers (b) you sent flowers but they were the WRONG flowers or the delightful (c) you sent the right flowers but not to WORK.
But there are many amongst us who do delight in this day and if your beloved is one of them, you need to work out your plan of romantic attack. The categories roughly fall into the following:
1. The Wooer
2. The Early Days
3. The Established One
You have not yet made your feelings known to the subject of your affection. You suspect that a declaration might be well received. The auspicious date is approaching and you are unsure how to play this.
Now some of you are bursting in confidence and have no problem dressing up in a gorilla suit or as a gondolier and serenading your beloved amidst an office full of bemused co-workers. The other 97% would prefer to hold their cards a little closer to their chest. My advice? The small but significant gesture. A posy of her favourite flowers. A box of gluten-free macarons for your coeliac crush. A hefty wedge of blue cheese for the Roquefort Romeo (perhaps with a note "I'm blue without you" ... actually, no, don't. Unless the two of you are very, very "cheesey" indeed).
This can then be interpreted with a smile and simple gratitude or, if the other party is willing, blossom into something else. Something further than a shared coffee in the office kitchen or swapping stories during half-time.
The Early Days
You are In Love. People either look indulgently at the pair of you or avert their eyes hastily from your public displays of affection (this is Prahran, the Cullen is just across the road people). You are deliriously happy but not so secure as to take this new love for granted.
|Chocolates by Cioccolato Lombardo|
Think of something for the two of you alone. Most of the best restaurants are booked out on this night and do you want to be jostling for room amongst 50 other doe-eyed couples? Plan a simple menu that you can throw together after work (it's going to be 31 degrees on Thursday so perhaps a quick grilled fish on the barbeque or a picnic basket full of deli goodies?).
Make or buy the dessert the day before so that you can concentrate on other things. Perhaps a handmade treat for afterwards (see Food 52's 9 Edible Valentines). I for one, would find it very hard to resist anyone who brought me Thai Peanut Butter Cups - coconut milk + galangal + lemongrass + chilli + lime juice = romance. (If you're avoiding the day, these include bittersweet chocolate and go extremely well with Robyn's Dancing On My Own.)
The Established One
You have been together for many a year and know your partner inside out. This includes his or her attitude to Valentine's Day. So if she would like a magnificent bundle of long-stemmed red roses delivered, every hour, on the hour, get in touch with Emma at Flawless Flowers. If what he really wants is his favourite standing rib roast for dinner, have a chat to one of our butchers and start thinking about side dishes.
It's easy to sneer at this day or let the sparkle fade, but for those who delight in it, why not? Make it special, make it significant, and make it yours. We try to rise above the teaching that food is love, but on some days, food shows love. And if that's wrong, we don't want to be right. (By the way we are right.)