Valentine’s Day runs the gamut of emotions when February rolls around.
Everything from indifference to excitement fills up in people, causing them to feverishly plan or pretend February 14 is a normal day.
Whatever one feels, February 14 is always a day when red hearts and candies will be everywhere. Why not make it a fun day, with someone you love?
The Californian spoke with event planners and chefs to organize the ultimate Valentine’s Day.
ROMANTIC VALENTINE’S DAY
Nothing is more important on this day than setting the right mood for your evening with your partner.
A hearty meal and music are all perfect ways to set the right mood.
First, the playlist. The music should start with something faster and fade into something soft and mellow. Of course, there are several playlists on YouTube or Spotify that one could use to ensure a romantic atmosphere. Creating something a little more personal can be meaningful for a significant other.
The setting should also provide comfort, said Brooke Copeland, senior event producer at Fairy Godmother Events. Mix up fun blankets and pillows to create an inviting place to sit, dine and talk on the couch.
It’s important to set the mood no matter who you decide to hang out with. The first step can be taken by lighting candles, Copeland said.
White candles can create a romantic atmosphere. However, lit multicolored candles can also help ignite the romance. Red, pink or black candles can turn a dinner party into a more intimate affair, she added.
There’s nothing more romantic than sharing a meal with your loved one.
Michele Well, owner of Wine Me Up, said people have a variety of wine preferences.
White wines, such as a Sauvignon Blanc or a Chardonnay, can accompany seafood, such as crab or lobster. A Cabernet Sauvignon will pair deliciously with pasta and meat, well said.
Richard Yoshimura, the chef of The Kitchen, offered a recipe for mini potato gratin. Peel two pounds of russet potatoes and cut them into thin slices. Combine four cloves of garlic, 1 ½ cups of heavy cream, a teaspoon of thyme, a teaspoon of salt and ½ a teaspoon of black pepper, then heat the mixture over medium heat.
Pour the mixture over the potatoes, then mix well. Butter a muffin tin and place the potatoes in the bottom. Sprinkle with a mixture of parmesan and any other cheese of your choice. Place a slice of potato on the cheese and top with more cheese.
Continue layering until the mold is filled and pour the rest of the mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a knife can pierce without resistance.
The recipe is “elegant, accessible and quick,” Yoshimura said in an email. The couple can prepare the meal together, which makes it more enjoyable, he added.
The same rules also apply to this party – music and food are paramount.
However, music can be upbeat and doesn’t have to be romantic. Create a playlist full of pop music!
By adding the “little details,” Copeland said, revelers will understand the importance of this holiday. Although people may not remember these details, the event will become special because every step has been thought out, she added.
Hosts can add rose-scented soap or a hand towel with a Valentine’s design to make people feel at home, Copeland said. Everyone can also wear matching pajamas, she added, which adds to the fun theme of the party.
If you’re going out with friends, invite them to bring their own bottle of wine to share, well said. These drinks will go well with cheese, meat, chocolate and fruit. A fun activity can be building a charcuterie board together and then tasting the drinks, well said.
“(Wine) brings people together,” Well said. “Wine is so versatile that you could do a wine tasting, it wouldn’t be too much for the person who doesn’t traditionally drink wine.”
Yoshimura said eating together can also create great memories with your friends. Having a taco or chili bar is a great way to foster those relationships, he said. People can bring onions, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and other favorite toppings.
This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday. Coming out of a busy day at work can end the romance. Still, all the little nods to commemorate the holiday can be celebrated. Getting a heart-shaped pizza from Papa John’s and other desserts can add glamour.
Jeran McConnel, founder of lifestyle blog Oleander + Palm, recommended the following recipe for heart-shaped cakes that are said to be delicious and also reminiscent of the holiday theme. Add 1 cup of butter to 1 cup of water, then heat until the butter is melted. In another bowl, combine two cups of sugar, two cups of flour, ¼ teaspoon of salt and ½ cup of Ghirardelli cocoa.
In a small dish, mix a teaspoon of baking soda in ½ cup of buttermilk. Also beat two eggs. Add the butter mixture into the buttermilk, then this concoction into the dry ingredients. Mix until there are no more lumps.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the cake cool, then cut out the cake with a heart-shaped cookie cutter.
Combine ¼ cup heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan and heat on the stovetop until simmering. Break the dark chocolate into small pieces and add it to the cream until the chocolate melts.
Create a strawberry purée by blending six strawberries. Beat ½ cup butter at room temperature, then add two cups of powdered sugar, one teaspoon of vanilla extract and the two tablespoons of strawberry purée.
Pipe the outer edge with the strawberry buttercream and pour the chocolate ganache in the middle of the cake. Place the second heart on top and perform the same process.
You can reach Ishani Desai at 661-395-7417. You can also follow her at @idesai98 on Twitter.