A Valentine’s Day full of love without the expense

Written by admin on February 12, 2009 – 9:04 pm -

Some couples traditionally take off for the weekend or go on a mini-vacation to celebrate Valentine’s Day. They may just go to a local inn but it’s become a part of the dating/mating tradition.

Or they might eat at a favorite restaurant to toast their love. This is especially true in Paris where many feature special hearts and flowers menus, accompanied with pink champagne, so diners may express their adoration. Or perhaps their intentions.

Holiday meals invariably carry a monetary premium. Even though there’s usually a more limited menu, the fact that it’s a special event is license to charge more. Ah, the heart-shaped cake and the complementary chocolates. Women dress up and the dining room is decorated for the occasion. Perhaps there’s a string quartet.

This year may be the time to hold back but not delete the day from the calendar. Plan a festive dinner at home. But you’ll need to add some thought as how to make the evening memorable.

Begin your evening with a very French Kir Royale. Some gourmets feel the drink should be made with cassis (a raspberry liqueur) and good champagne. Most people can’t tell the difference between champagne and a sparkling wine when it’s mixed with cassis. But your bill at the liquor store will be very different. If you’re wine drinkers, buy a nice bottle, but it doesn’t have to be a vintage one with dust on it.

Ask the wine specialist to recommend one that’s moderately priced and will compliment to your meal. Prepare a favorite dinner but make it special by using good china and good glasses. If you don’t have them, buy two thin-rimmed wine glasses. It’s a lot less expensive than going out and every home should have a pair. Crate & Barrel, Ikea and comparable stores have moderately priced goblets that will do the job. No need to buy crystal stemware in this economy.

Candles do wonders when it comes to making rooms more romantic. Buy red and white ones at the grocery store; glimmering votive candles add to the ambiance.

Dress for the occasion as if you were going out. Differentiate this evening from others.

Pick out your favorite CDs and have them waiting. You may want a couple to which you can dance. Who knows?

For dessert, chocolate cupcakes with red icing and some sparkles feel festive and can satisfy your sweet tooth.

With the downturn of the economy, this is a time to be creative. Rather than sending a vase filled with long-stemmed red roses, consider a red box of dried rose petals containing a romantic card or note.

Even though the economy has never been worse since the depression, do you think Michele and Barack Obama won’t be celebrating Valentine’s Day? I’ll wager they’ll be doing something special.

How do you plan to express your affection?

Karen Fawcett is president of BonjourParis. She’s an incurable romantic.

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