Few would argue that one of the best Valentine’s Day gifts is an intimate dinner for two prepared by your significant other. The sentiment, personal touch and thought that go into it are enormous. And with the convenience offered by contemporary kitchens paired with informed, savvy preparation, it does not require an overwhelming amount of effort.

Follow the tips below to prepare a dinner rich in both romance and taste.

An Appetite for Romance

Unless you are a gourmet chef by trade, there is no reason to take on recipes that could go horribly awry and cause you unnecessary stress. Remember, this is your day to enjoy, as well as your significant other. Simple recipes that will delight their senses include:

• Mini pork rack with roasted potatoes and green beans
• Sparkling passion fruit aperitifs
• Red velvet cupcakes with candy heart nestled in cream cheese frosting
• Roasted chicken with lemon, garlic and thyme

Sharing the kitchen to prepare the meal together could ignite a spark even before the dinner begins. Imagine sharing the moment of selecting the perfect bottle from your wine cabinet or your fingers brushing as you simultaneously reach into your cabinetry for dishes.

Below are a number of recipes from the Food Network that are ideal for couples to whip up together:

• Caramelized pancetta and fennel salad
• Linguine with shrimp scampi
• Tiramisu
• Chili chocolate-covered strawberries

Equally sensuous are foods reputed to be aphrodisiacs. The following foods have been recognized for their ability to promote passion:

Chocolate. You may never look at a box of chocolates the same way again. Dark chocolate drives dopamine level spikes, generating feelings of pleasure.

Strawberries. There is a reason why the pairing of chocolate and strawberries is such a powerful Valentine’s Day treat. Strawberries improve the flow of blood throughout the body. And when consumed in tandem with the aforementioned dark chocolate, it is certain to enhance those loving feelings.

Pumpkin seeds. This food is especially good for him, as they are high in magnesium, which increases testosterone levels.

Olive oil. An antioxidant powerhouse, olive oil is an excellent source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – notable in this scenario because they are essential for hormone production.

Pine nuts. Zinc has been linked to a healthy sex drive, and pine nuts are rich in this chemical element.

Gourmet Chocolate Covered Strawberries for Valentine's Day

Gourmet Chocolate Covered Strawberries for Valentine’s Day

Pair Dinner with an Activity

This is your special night together, so why leave it at dinner? Elevate the evening to a special occasion with fun and sentiment-inducing activities.

Unwind. A massage is an even better treat when shared with your significant other. Fan the flames of romance with a couples’ massage before dinner.

Glide in sync. Ice skating is a lighthearted undertaking that encourages snuggling together afterward with hot chocolate in hand.

Reminisce. If you are married, this is the perfect night to watch your wedding video together, bonding over the beginning of your life together.

Take a mini adventure. Pack up dinner and travel to your local park or beach to enjoy it under the stars – or in inclement weather, book a bed-and-breakfast for the occasion.

Dedicate the Day to Romance

Rather than trying to crunch Valentine’s Day into a few hours when you may feel tired after a long day at the office or spent taking care of the kids, take the day off from work in advance and send the little ones to the babysitter.

You could begin by surprising your mate with breakfast in bed, cuddling together luxuriously instead of rushing around to start the day. Spend the afternoon hours shopping for food, attend a sporting event or catch a matinee of a movie that interests both of you.

Make dinner a leisurely event, cooking it together, savoring every bite and perhaps feeding each other dessert. Finally, wrap up the evening with a bottle of fine wine or by simply soaking up each other’s company.

Element of Surprise

A thoughtful surprise, food related or not, will show the strength of your devotion and provide the perfect “dessert.” Your significant other will recognize the effort that goes into planning and executing a treat they never saw coming. A great surprise can range from a basket filled with their favorite foods to a pair of second-row tickets to cheer on their beloved sports team.

And it does not have to be physical in nature, although there is nothing wrong with that route. Creative ideas certain to put a smile on their face in or out of contemporary kitchens include:

• Re-enact your first date by reliving the activity, gestures, conversation and goodnight kiss.
• Layer envelopes of increasing sizes together, with a handwritten love letter tucked inside the smallest and drawings, words or stickers decorating the other envelopes.
• Create a game or contest for your mate to play, with distinctly romantic gestures or items as prizes.
• Print photographs that hold special meaning for both of you, write the reason behind your selection on each and leave a trail of the cards leading to the dining room.

With a little ingenuity and personal attention, you can ensure each and every Valentine’s Day dinner inspires visions of hearts in your significant other’s mind.

Visit our showroom to find out how our modern kitchens can set the mood for romance.