St Valentine’s Day
Ring the changes & invite friends round for a dinner party to celebrate St Valentine’s Day.
There are several St Valentine’s so the origins of this day are slightly sketchy.The accepted history is that a certain Valentine, a Christian priest in 3rd century Rome, defied Emperor Claudius II’s decree that Roman soldiers shouldn’t marry by performing the ceremony in secret. He was arrested, imprisoned & beheaded on the eve of the Roman spring holiday Lupercalia. Later sanctified, his death became the focus of celebration & the spring holiday was moved from the 15th to the 14th February, becoming Valentine’s Day.
Love letters & tokens have been exchanged in February since the Middle Ages but it was in the 19th century that Valentine cards became popular, with lace & embroidery embellishments.
The oldest known Valentine’s Day greeting, written in 1477 by Margery Brews of Norfolk to her fiancé, John paston, is held in the British Library.
St Valentine’s Day Decorations
No prizes for guessing what the colour scheme is. Decorate the room(s) with red balloons, soft material & large hearts cut out of paper or card – use our heart template. Drape the material over picture frames & furniture & blu-tack the hearts to the wall. Make heart mobiles & hang from the lights (make sure they don’t touch the bulb).
Or how about these from Baker Ross with a photo of each of your guests?
Keep the lighting low & use plenty of red candles (never leave lit candles unattended). Place a few bowls of red heart-shaped chocolates or Love Heart sweets around the room – guests can never resist nibbling on them!
For the table, decorate with red napkins, candles & carnations or roses. A red piece of material running down the centre of the table length, over a white cloth can look more dramatic than a red table cloth or scatter with red heart confetti. Use red card for place names or white card with a red heart decoration.
These heart felt stickers are great for brightening up invitations or place cards
St Valentine’s Day Drinks
Start the evening with a red cocktail such as:
Shirley Temple (non alcoholic)
Cranberry Punch (non alcoholic)
If you wish to continue with the red drink theme for the meal serve sangria, red wine or rose for a lighter option and cherryade or cranberry juice for the drivers or those who prefer something soft.
St Valentine Cocktail
Place the ingredients in a cocktail shaker & shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
St Valentine’s Day Food
Aphrodisiacs are always an important ingredient in any Valentine menu. Below is a list of foods considered as aphrodisiacs:
alcohol figs almonds garlic avocados honey bananas liquorice basil mustard carrots nutmeg chocolate oysters coffee raspberries
pine kernels coriander
Incorporate a selection of these into your menu or use the sample below.
ST VALENTINE’S DAY MENU
Canapes: heart-shaped pastries filled with mozerella, cherry tomatoes, pine kernals & basil. smoked salmon & cucumber slices on heart-shaped blinis or ryebread. avocado wrapped in bacon or palma ham with aiola (garlic dip).
Main course: chicken & oyster mushrooms (tenuous, I know) in a white wine & mustard sauce. roast potatoes with red peppers & coriander served with carrots & courgettes.
Dessert: vanilla & white chocolate souffle decorated with dark chocolate hearts – served in individual heart-shaped dishes if possible. raspberries & figs sprinkled with liquorice & vanilla yogurt. heart-shaped honey biscuits. mead (honey) coffee & chocolates
St Valentine’s Day Music
There are so many love songs around today that you don’t really need me to put together a list of suggestions, but why not go for a selection of mixed duets such as: Tonight I Celebrate My Love – Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack You Are Everything – Marvin Gaye & Diana Ross Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – Elton John & Kiki Dee (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes Endless Love – Diana Ross & Lionel Ritchie Sometimes When We Touch – Tammy Wynette & Mark Gray
St Valentine’s Day Games
Try a selection of the following to keep your guests entertained:
match the famous couples (either using photos or with names written on separate pieces of paper)
pin the heart on a celebrity (the larger the picture you can find, the better)
charades using well known love stories such as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Sleepless in Seattle