Weighing up Valentine’s Day ideas for your favourite foodie? Whether you make their morning with breakfast in bed, serve up goodies at an afternoon tea or do the classic romantic dinner, here’s nine ways to elevate the proceedings.
Forgo the full English
We salute your ambition, but we’re not quite sold on the marriage of beds and baked beans. For a brunch that still feels special, try adding two or three different dishes to the tray - think piles of pastries, avocado toast, fresh fruit, granola, waffles, crumpets or Greek yoghurt for our favourite fuss-free options.
Track down their favourites
Time for some detective work. Take cues from the weekly shop, whether it’s the brand of fresh juice they always want to buy or the freshly-baked sourdough loaf much admired – now’s the time to splash out. If there’s one hard and fast rule, it’s that everyone likes bubbles, so buy whichever bottle of fizz suits your budget.
Remember the devil’s in the details
We’ve all got our own idea of the perfect breakfast, but don’t lose sight of the old adage: it really is the thought that counts. For easy final flourishes, add a favourite flower in a single stem vase, decant jam into pots and time it all so that the coffee is freshly brewed. Add your sealed card – with your very best handwriting - to the tray, too.
Break out your best crockery
That matching dinnerware set you’ve been ‘saving’ for a special occasion? This is it. If you’re serving sweet and savoury, consider it an excuse to bring out the cake stand, side plates et al, with long-stemmed glassware to add height. Strong fragrance will interfere with your taste buds, so opt for unscented candles and finish the table with a scatter of blooms or petals.
Don’t be afraid to DIY it
Making your own treats doesn’t have to mean macaroons in five different pastel shades. If you make a mean brownie, add berry-red raspberries or cherries, or keep it really simple and serve strawberries dipped in chocolate. When in doubt, ice heart shaped biscuits, decorate cupcakes - or pop out to the shop.
Imitate the greats
There’s a reason the Ritz afternoon tea is a cut above your average coffee and cake, and half of it’s in the experience. Have some fun with all the finishing touches – slice the sandwiches into finger-sized bites and add a teapot, teacups and sugar tongs. You could even offer a selection of teas if you’re feeling adventurous – we love Assam, Darjeeling and fragrant Lady Grey.
Make your own menu
If you’re serving two or three courses, why not create a menu for your Valentine’s Day dinner? Type it up in a fancy font or handwrite with a good ballpoint pen – there’s no need to dig out the calligraphy brushes. Resist the temptation to try a tricky dish you haven’t made before - there’s really nothing wrong with sticking to a supper you know.
Compose a personal playlist
Most couples have songs that are special to them, and a bespoke playlist is such a thoughtful touch – in fact, it’s probably the new version of the classic Valentine’s mix tape. Set up Spotify beforehand and you won’t have to interrupt the evening correcting the dreaded shuffle.
Maximise time spend together
If you don’t have a dishwasher, try to wash up as you go – there’s nothing like a pile of dirty dishes to take the shine off a romantic evening, and you want maximise time after dinner. If you’re considering cocktails for a post-dinner nightcap, why not create them together? It’ll be great fun - even if they don’t go to plan.