A roaring fire.
A box of chocolates.
A dozen roses.
Those are just some of the clichés attached to Valentine’s Day. For foodies, the clichés extend to dinner, either at a white tablecloth restaurant or cooked by some seemingly-adventurous man at home.
However, consider this story of what women might want for Valentine’s Day.
A single piece of the best possible chocolate. Men, take time now to listen to the cues and carefully probe. You should know if she prefers milk or dark chocolate, or if her preference is for gummies or butterscotch or something else. You should know nuts or mint, caramel or crème, because it’s all part of the details of life that make that single piece work. Don’t buy a whole box of mixed chocolates in the unacknowledged hope that one or two of them will work.
For me, it’s a single piece of mint enrobed in dark, dark chocolate. It is a form of therapy to pop it in my mouth, let it roll around as I inhale the mint aroma, and feel the oozing of the soft center as it hits my palate and evokes all of my senses. Yes, I have the box, but one a day is enough to serve as a reminder that life can be good.
One of my friends would choose a piece of milk chocolate toffee, and she’d bite into the crunch just once to release the power of the buttery toffee. Another friend would choose a milk chocolate turtle, filled with caramel and pecans and infinitely chewable. Yet another likes the sophisticated sweet and savory of sea salt and dark chocolate.
Choosing the right chocolate says you’ve been paying attention and that you know what she likes. Sure, give her the box, but make it matter.
Then, go ahead and turn the fire on, or build the log fire in the pit or the fireplace. Add s’mores if that’s her thing—because it’s not the fire that matters; it’s the time spent cuddling and feeling warm all over.
And, sure, send the flowers (again, tune in to know her favorite) if you want, but let them be a bit of production. Send them where others can enjoy her delight and their beauty, so give the office address, or have them delivered to the table while dining.
It’s also OK to make a meal of the occasion, but think it through. Would she prefer a romantic takeout served in front of that fire? An elegant restaurant? Something cooked and cleaned up by you? What scenario gives you the most opportunity to show her you care, and that (phones away) she has your undivided attention?
Yes, enjoy the restaurant, give her the jewelry, buy her the card, and she’ll be delighted, assuming none of it causes her budget concerns. Just be sure you think about that image of a single piece of quality chocolate to start the celebration. It just may be what she needs to truly feel loved.
Our favorite single chocolates:
DeMet’s Turtles (you gotta go with the original)
Happy Valentine’s Day, from The Food Channel!