Foodie Foreplay

By Stuart Gates
Published 8th February 2021

Well, Valentine’s Day will be a little different this year for everyone as there’s not much open – so cooking at home or getting something in are the options. 

Many of the larger players are offering the usual ‘£20 for Two’ meals and they will, of course, be hugely popular. But consider delis, local or online offer for more more interesting options – although this does require a bit of planning, so be quick.

For me, ordering from delis was/is the preferred option as it’s much more fun. I’ve always enjoyed deciding what to buy, the preparations, how to serve and, of course, matching it to the person (or persons even!).

The menu selection that defines a “Valentine’s Feast” has changed over the years…

The menu selection that defines a “Valentine’s Feast” has changed over the years, but getting the balance right can be a nerve-racking experience as too little food (with the possibility of not enough to absorb the champers) or too much (making you more like having 40 winks!) can be a delicate affair.

Personally, I love canapes, lots of them in various forms. I find they are a good chance to chat and share and relax and they do not have to be too hard or complicated to make. Start with good crackers, breads and toast and of course good ingredients. Classics like smoked salmon and chicken liver pátê are classics for a reason. Balance them with plant-based options and an interesting cheese selection for delicious combinations. Don’t forget to add a few spicy ones to pep up the evening!

Puddings always have a place on Valentine’s Night. You’ll need to match the mood, so steer more towards chocolate-based treats, ice cream or fruit rather than a steamed pudding. Otherwise you’ll be in danger of another forty winks. Chilled puddings are particularly suitable as they can be chilled in case serving gets delayed.

Seriously, there are many great things to buy online from independent retailers and producers, so do seek them out either online or locally. Indeed, from what I hear, many people are buying Gower Brownies (a hint to others) as they taste amazing and there’s enough in the box to share without rancour.

Anyway, enjoy your evening. And remember, you don’t actually need to be in a relationship with A.N. Other to enjoy Valentine’s Day eating – treat yourself. You’re worth it, as they say.

Illustration: Ailbhe Phelan
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