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How to be the perfect Valentine?

Comment être le parfait Valentin?

By Patricia Connell

Only a few days to go and Valentine’s day will be upon us. Some will already be dreading the day, others will be looking forward to it with exhilaration. For many, it will be a day when their loved one re-affirms his or her flame, for many more it will be  a day when they will be awaiting a declaration of love.

Today, can one survive Valentine’s day without having a Valentine? Is it more difficult in England on Valentine’s Day than in say France for instance? On the 14th, only venture out to a restaurant if you are not on your own or if you don’t mind being surrounded by loving couples. Restaurants claim that it is one of the only week-nights in the year when they do not need to advertise in order to have a full house. On the night itself, hundreds of restaurants will do two if not three sittings. Roses will be at least twice as expensive as on a normal day (similar to strawberries during Wimbledon!) and Valentine’s cards have already been on sale since just after Xmas. I will not go extensively into the rest of the usual presents: jewellery, chocolate, toys, week-ends in romantic cities such as Paris, Prague, Rome etc…the list is endless. But is this craze something that can be experienced everywhere in Europe or is it very much something Brits do?

I can still remember my first Valentine card and I can tell you that it did not come from a French man (I am French and lived in France until the tender age of 20). In fact, it should have been but it did not. I was just 17 and it was sent to me by the lovely English boyfriend I had at the time and that I had met on holiday that Summer (the one who is today my husband). Was it because I never had a boyfriend before? No, that is not it! The French just don’t do Valentine’s day the way the English do. First of all, as for Xmas, they do not have this thing about cards. I can remember my father-in-law aged 78 still buying a card and some chocolates, for his wife of 45 years, on Valentine’s day. Naturally, he was a true romantic, he must have been of course. What else could he have been after 45 years of marriage when you are still giving your wife a token of your love on that very special day.
My daughters are looking forward to Cupid's day with anticipation because they want like so many young girls to find out if out there, somewhere,  someone who wants to be their Valentine. How many? That is the big question?

Only a few years back, my son, a true romantic like his grand-father, bought a rose and a card for a young girl he really liked and did not know how to tell her (he was only 7 then). Did it work? Did the girl fall for it? Of course! Who wouldn’t?

So which one will you be? The romantic who every year tries to find something unusual to do to celebrate in style? Will it be a restaurant, a meal that you will have cooked yourself for your wife/partner or girlfriend?
Or will you be the one declaring your love without leaving a name on the card that you will have sent but with clues to enable the one you love to guess who you are. At last saying the words that you always wanted to tell him or her without ever being able to? Will it be a poem or a riddle? Will it simply be three simple words? In all cases do not forget that the pressures of Valentine’s day are soon upon you. This time it is a warning for all of you who already have a Valentine.
If you are a French guy and are going out with an English girl, make sure you do it 'English style' for once. She will not forgive you overwise. When in Rome…

Don’t be afraid of being cheesy and romantic. She will adore it. Whatever your budget, make sure she’s not the one doing the cooking that night! Just be sure that if you can’t cook, you either book a restaurant way in advance or order some takeaway food. Just make sure this is not Indian, burgers or Pizza. If you want to ensure maximum scoring, try this: It’s uncomplicated and she will wonder how you did it.
-    Foie Gras on toast with fig chutney on a bed of rocket salad
-    Seared Tuna with fresh pasta with a sun dried tomato sauce
-    Chocolate fondue with strawberries

For drinks:
½ bottle of Gaillac Passion Doux (Silver medal at the Paris Agricultural Show)
½ bottle of Gaillac Passion Red
1 bottle of Jacques Picard Champagne Grande Réserve

Most can be found on just click on the link.

If you want to impress him/her at home, have a look at their nice selection of Valentine's hampers
Good Luck and happy Valentine’s Day!


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