Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and it’s almost certain that our travel plans for this special weekend will be crushed again. Previously, we only had to decide whether to book a romantic weekend getaway to Paris, Rome or Prague, but this year we have no choice but to stay at home.
Even if we can’t travel, we can still bring that adventurous spirit into our lives on this special day, by organising a romantic travel themed date night at home. In the end, all that matters is love and the person we’re with.
Have a Candle Lit Dinner
The highlight of Valentine’s Day is dinner, when all the distractions such as phones or computers are put aside, and it’s just you and your loved one. For a travel themed Valentine’s Day dinner, think of a romantic holiday abroad with your partner, and try to re-create the dishes that will always remind you of it.
If your love blossomed on the Amalfi Coast, make some gnocchi alla sorrentina, followed by a decadent Amalfi lemon tart. If you’re love flourished on the streets of Japan, try your hand at a katsu curry or an authentic okonomiyaki. If your love became stronger during that unforgettable adventure in Peru, think of a starter of ceviche and a main of lomo saltado, which you’ve eaten so many times in the street market in Cusco.
Don’t forget to decorate the table to match your theme. Think of napkins resembling the flag of your destination, a tablecloth picturing the world map, or even that plush moose your partner gave you during your trip to Canada.
Dip Strawberries in Chocolate
Without a doubt, strawberries dipped in chocolate is one of the most romantic desserts in the world, so easy to make, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. All you need is a pack of chocolate chips and some fresh strawberries.
If you want to take them to the next level, buy a pack of heart shaped sugary decorations, and sprinkle them on top whilst the chocolate is still warm.
Making strawberries dipped in chocolate takes less than 10 minutes.
Re-create One of your Favourite Cocktails
You don’t have to be a mixologist or have many different types of alcohol at home to make delicious cocktails. You can do so much with just a bottle of gin! And because it’s Valentine’s Day, go for a pink gin rather than a dry one.
Mermaid Pink Gin is a great choice for Valentine’s Day, as it’s less sweet than most pink gins because it has no added sugar. I normally stay away from pink gins because they are can taste synthetic, but I love Mermaid! It tastes very fresh, with a delicate aroma of ripe strawberries. The Mermaid Pink Gin is infused with lemon zest, grains of paradise and the fragrant Rock Samphire, foraged from the Isle of Wight’s “Mermaid’s Kiss” cliffs, which also gives the gin its name.
For a simple but effective cocktail for Valentine’s Day you will need 50 ml of Mermaid Pink gin, the juice from one lemon, a few fresh strawberries, an egg white and a few dried rose buds. You can buy dried rose buds online at Sous Chef or at Chiswick Tea Co, or at your local ethnic shop. Personally, I support small businesses so I wouldn’t recommend getting them from Amazon. If you are vegan, you can use aquafaba instead of egg white.
Firstly made a quick strawberries syrup by boiling two with one table spoon of sugar and two tablespoons of water, over a low flame. Wait for the puree to cool down before adding it to the cocktail.
Add the lemon juice, 25 ml strawberry syrup, 50 ml gin, egg white and some ice into a cocktail shaker (or a jam jar if you don’t have a shaker) and shake well for a couple of minutes. Pour into a martini glass, or any other wide glass, and decorate with rose buds. You don’t have to use egg white if you don’t want to, but without it you won’t be able to get that beautiful foam on top that will hold the rose buds, and prevent them from sinking into the cocktail.
You can buy the Mermaid Pink Gin online from Master of Malt, or at John Lewis and Marks & Spencer.
Build a Pillow Fort in Your Living Room
Even though you can’t go on a romantic weekend away this year for Valentine’s Day, you can still create romance in your living room. Cover your floor with a fluffy duvet and create a fort using blankets and pillows. Bring in those strawberries dipped in chocolate, the rose gin cocktails, and cuddle with your loved one whilst watching a rom-com on Netflix.
Watch a Romantic Movie on Netflix
To end a perfect Valentine’s Night, pick a feel good romantic movie, preferably one that has some travelling in the plot. Some great suggestions are the classic Eat Pray Love, Before Midnight, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, and, one of my favourites, Chocolat.
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Please note that this is a collaboration with Mermaid Pink Gin, who kindly sent me a bottle for the purpose of this article.