While going out to fancy restaurants is always a treat, creating a romantic Valentine’s Day table setting at home can be just as special. If not more so.
Who wants to be surrounded by other romantic couples when you can have a cosy night in for just the two of you?
Cookbook author and home cook extraordinaire Chantal Lascaris believes food is a language of love and that every day in February is the perfect time to celebrate by taking things into your own hands, quite literally.
Below Lascaris shares her top five tips for laying the perfect dinner table during the month of love.
Light it up
Candles help set the mood when it comes to a romantic evening, but removing melted wax can be frustrating, even to the point of a broken candle holder or two. I suggest using floating candles. They’re versatile and can be used in a normal water glass. Simply drop a tea light candle into a glass of water and it will float on top. Any wax that drips out will land in the water, which will reduce the mess you may have to clean up later.
A pinch of salt
Another trick when it comes to candles is to use coarse salt. Simply fill a glass candle holder with salt and nestle the candle on top. This protects the candle holder from the melted wax, which will land on the salt. For your month of love meals specifically, I recommend dyeing the salt another colour. To make a pinkish-red salt, add a few drops of red food colouring into a sealable bag with the salt and massage it together. This can make quite a visual impact.
A rose may be considered the bloom of love, but around Valentine’s Day, they can become extra expensive and rarely last longer than a few days. I prefer to raid my own garden for flowers to feature on the table. And, if you don’t have access to a flower garden, simple greenery can add an elegant touch. I love the simple beauty of a bunch of green leaves in a vase in the middle of a table and a small stem of leaves on each side plate.
Nail it with fabric napkins
If there is one element of your dinner table that I believe it’s worth investing a bit, it’s in real fabric napkins. Not only do they bring the restaurant feel of fine dining into your home, but they can be re-used for years to come. White ones, specifically, can be bleached if they get stained and as colour palettes go, white really does go with everything.
Music be the food of love
Finally, as much as the food will serve as a sumptuous celebration of love, so too will the music set the mood. Prepare your playlist beforehand to ensure your meal is accompanied by chilled background tunes so that you don’t have to be toggling between playlists. Choosing the music in advance means you’ll be able to give your partner all of your time and attention, which is really the most precious gift you can give someone anyway.