Five Ways to Plan a Valentine’s Dinner

By Fran Morell and Kate Henderson

This Valentines Day, why not surprise your loved on with a carefully planned dinner at home?  You can create a tailor-made evening, catered entirely around your special someone.

It’s all about the ambience

From the music to the lighting to the table setting—the small details can make a huge impact on a night in.

When planning your table setting, stick to one colour or theme, and try to keep it as simple as possible. Too much can distract from the food, the mood and the company. Red is always a winner for valentines, or simply choose classic white with some your partners favourite flowers to accent.

Lighting can make the biggest difference to the feel of a room or dining area and candles always provide the kindest lighting. Try stringing around white fairy (Christmas-style) lights, which can be an inexpensive way to create that special occasion feel.

Whether your partner is more into Bon Jovi  than Barry White, try and choose music that means something to the two of you or create a special playlist.

There is little point in dressing up the dining table and going the extra mile with dinner if you show up in jeans and t-shirt. Dust of that cocktail dress or dinner jacket (think Downtown Abbey and The Great Gatsby), and make a special effort for this important night.

Five ways to plan a stress-free dinner

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Planning the menu

Although you might be tempted to experiment with cooking something new, it may be best to stick with your fool-proof favourites (think Bridget Jones and her blue string and marmalade soup). However, new cookbooks will always help inspire different ways of preparing the classics or fabulous presentation ideas. Carefully think about each course and try to continue a theme throughout the entire meal. For the added special touch, get your menu professionally printed or write it up on a chalkboard.

Shop around

It may seem there are a limited amount of places you can buy provisions on island but it is amazing what you can find when you look around. Fresh fish and seafood can be specially ordered from the BVI Fisheries or specialty cuts of meat can be prepared by most supermarket butchers.

Think like a boy scout

It’s all in the preparation so try to get as much done ahead of time as you possibly can. The most important part of this romantic evening is spending time together and not in the kitchen. Ideally, you should just need to quickly take something out of the oven or garnish a prepared dessert, with minimal time away from the table.

Tidy up as you go

During the preparation time, try to clean up as much as you can as you go along. There is nothing worse than having all the food prepared and the dining table looking beautifully only to have a large pile of dirty dishes winking at you from the kitchen.

Most importantly, have fun!

While preparing and cooking, play some music or have a glass of wine. Remember: this shouldn’t be a stressful experience.

Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. If you feel that planning and cooking a meal, may be a bit beyond your scope, then consider hiring someone to help out. Remember, this is your evening too, so you might prefer being able to relax and enjoy it. In the Virgin Islands, we have a fantastic selection of freelance chefs and caterers to pick from, to come to your house and prepare a meal of your choice. You can also find staff to help serve you and, ideally help with the clean up afterwards, too.

Your partner will love the fact that you have gone to the extra effort to plan a special evening just for them. Bon Apetit!

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