I can’t actually pin point the last year that I dined out on Valentine’s Day. I do recall a distant Valentine’s memory, once upon a time, of being squeezed into a restaurant, approximately 6 inches from the couple on the next table for a pretty ordinary set meal at a pretty extraordinary price. It felt forced, unromantic and a rip-off, resulting in my vow to never ever eat out on Valentine’s night again.
That’s not to say that Valentine’s Day goes unnoticed in our household. It’s actually a good excuse to close the laptop, leave the TV off and have a date-night in, with a decent bottle of wine or two and a meal to match. Back in the old days, before life got that little bit more hectic, these evenings weren’t so few and far between, we certainly didn’t need a prompt such as Valentine’s Day for us to actually sit down at the table, eat together and have a real conversation.
We’re now almost dependent on occasions such as Valentine’s, anniversarys, and birthdays to remind us that romance isn’t dead but are total creatures of habit in that whenever we do have a date night, in comes the ribeye steak and big red wine. We go wild where the starter and pudding are concerned and vary these according to our mood. This Valentine’s however, (look away now Husband) we’ll be having smoked salmon of some description to start and most likely cheesecake, inspired by one of my ex-rowing friends who’s in the midst of a cheesecake baking frenzy, to finish after our steak. So my own Valentine’s wine-inspired date-night in is going to look a little something like this, with no need to stray from my own PFW wine list:
1. Bluebell Estates Hindleap Brut Rose
In perfect housewife style, my husband will be greeted from work with an effortless scene of domestic bliss with the kids squeaky clean and in their PJs, me with my nails painted, dinner ready to go and a glass of chilled Brut Rose handed to him as he enters the house. Mrs Beeton, eat your heart out. In reality, he’ll be lucky for one of those to be the case – likely the last. Hopefully, there’ll still be some left by the time we sit down to eat the salmon.
2. Domaine Pasquiers Cotes du Rhone Villages Sablet
Our dining room at present is stacked with boxes of wine, blackboards and hessian, all necessary equipment for a fledgling wine merchant who’s in to not just the wine but a bit of shabby chic. It may or may not be possible to sit in there on Valentine’s night to enjoy our steak dinner, so the kitchen table may have to do – I will make an effort to ensure it’s clear of laptops, endless piles of paper and WSET study guides. I may even light a candle or two while my other half cooks the steak (inevitably, it will be he who cooks dinner).
3. Cabidos Petit Manseng Vin Doux
Any excuse to crack open the Vin Doux! This is also dependent on whether I actually get round to baking the cheesecake and if not, whether I remember to replenish the cheese stocks from after Christmas.
What are your Valentine’s night plans? You can order wine and Valentine’s wine gifts for local delivery on 13th and 14th February by emailing me. Just browse the wines and let me know what you’d like or let me know what you’re after and I can help you choose. Not an over-inflated price in sight and what better than an English Sparkling wine gift (from £24) or wine that’s perfectly matched with dinner to impress your other half!
For those of you with Valentines with a sweet tooth, I am also working in conjunction with The Papercup Kitchen to include a giftpack of two Red Velvet cupcakes for delivery with your wine for an additional £5. Cake orders must be received by Monday 10th February to give Nelmarie a chance to bake them in time!
Perfect Friday Wine’s Pop-Up Stall can be found on the 1st Saturday of every month on Maidenhead High Street and at other local events in between.