Any day of the year the way to a foodie’s heart is surely through his or her stomach, and Valentine’s Day is certainly no exception.
Though it might be tempting to get dressed up and go out for a big, fancy restaurant meal to celebrate the occasion, a true food lover can easily overindulge and be left with a certain heaviness that may prohibit…other activities. Instead of battling restaurant crowds on V-Day, stay home instead.
Here are our picks to stimulate and satisfy more than one of your appetites.
1. Balsamico & Strawberries
Chocolate dipped strawberries are a classic, but like that terrible date you once went on, they often look better online. The fruit itself wilting under its chocolate cap, and the chocolate unpleasantly cold and crumbly.
As a more sophisticated alternative, buy your strawberries fresh and drizzle them with sweet yet tart balsamic glaze by Balsamic di Crema. The flavor profile, an Italian classic, brings out the best in the fruit.
Though there’s nothing about burrata specifically that would put it in the category of aphrodisiacs, it’s difficult to argue with it’s sensuous shape and custardy center. Brimming with cream and cheese, its as pleasant a diversion as any, especially if your beloved prefers salt to sweet.
Skip the tomatoes and feed burrata to your bedfellow simply, with a drizzle of olive oil and a scatter of flaky maldon sea salt. Bread only if you must, and do your best to keep crumbs out of the sheets.
Perhaps the most memorable of aphrodisiacs, oysters on the half shell need little more than a drop of mignonette and a glass of champagne to be an effortless and elegant addition to any Valentine’s Day menu. If you’re a lousy shuck, our fishmongers at Rittenhouse Square would be happy to help.
Try the delicately ruffled moonstone oysters from Rhode Island, or call ahead to pre-order from an even broader selection (215.665.9220).
Singularly mysterious, figs have long been associated with love and fertility, but the season to enjoy them fresh is fleeting. Fortunately, dried ones have an even more concentrated sweetness, with an addictive chewy texture punctuated with crunchy seeds.
They’re an excellent match for cheese halved and scattered wantonly across a board and, as any monger will attest, they might be even better in cake form, pressed up against toasted almonds, or in luscious fig and honey jam.
Newlyweds were once given enough mead, wine made with honey, to last them for a fortnight after their wedding, and thus the term “honeymoon” was born. Though the luxury of a two week vacation with your sweetheart might be a rare treat, artisanal honey is well within your reach.
Enjoy the subtle differences in texture, color, and flavor of Rigoni di Asiago’s lime, acacia, and orange blossom honeys with your honey.
Specifically, Almond Love Nuts. Though the name alone of these crunchy almond confections is difficult to resist, almonds are a symbol of fertility and said to arouse passion, especially among women. Chocolatier LA Compartés roasts whole almonds, which are then swathed in vanilla caramel with a pinch of sea salt, finished with a layer of chocolate, and tossed in bittersweet cocoa. Photo credit: Compartes
And not of the mushroom variety. If you made a meal of nothing but chocolate on Valentine’s Day it would still be a success.
The Di Bruno flavor favorite for the holiday is Compartés 20 piece collection including Raspberry Rose, Huckleberry Balsamic, Himalayan Salted Caramel, Strawberry Champagne and more. A quirkier option is Mexican Hot Chocolate. Cinnamon and chili add heat and interest to classic truffles. Plus, the capsaicin in chili stimulates a rush of endorphins, speeding your heart and making you feel flushed.
Photo credit: Compartes