I am a contrarian. I revel in rejecting the norm, not doing what is expected, and turning the opposite direction of the crowd flow. I have a distinctly ambivalent (is that even possible?) view of Valentine’s Day. Yes, I love love, and think it should be celebrated. No, you would not catch me out to dinner anywhere on this night of amateurs, and anyone who would dare think of giving me a passel of overpriced roses would not get a thanks, but a modified tongue lashing for spending too much on such a frivolous thing. And please, if you must buy bubbly to celebrate, do yourself a favor and bypass the name brand, overpriced and mass produced Champagnes. Go to a reputable wine shop and ask for a “Growers’ Champagne.” You are welcome. (Wine Geek note: Growers’ Champagne is basically a family farm produced wine; grown, picked and produced by actual people, not factory machines, in the Champagne region of France. Yes, you will taste the difference!)
Valentine’s Day seems designed for young love. These beginners need a special day to proclaim their love, or maybe publically proclaim their love for audience accolades. They get the chocolates, and roses, and go out to crowded dinners with limited menus and harried servers. Now I do love artisan chocolate, and bubbly, and mixed (inexpensive) bouquets on days other than Valentine’s Day make my heart pitter patter. Dining out is a serious hobby, just not on this Hallmark manufactured day.
Our love has matured right along with us. We have gone from the dating couple enduring rushed and crowded Valentine’s dinners at restaurants, to young parents celebrating quietly at home, hoping the kids would go to sleep early, or at least not projectile vomit at the exact moment the lobster was ready. (Yes, this really did happen.) During the middle years, we would feed our kids their favorite dinner (Imos pizza!) then they in turn would serve as our waiters for our more mature palated repast. During the teen years our boys would disappear to fulfill their own drama-filled mini romantic escapades while we progressed to dining home alone.
Over the years our menu has evolved. It usually involved multiple courses, always including lobster or crab as the featured presentation. Lots of work, great reward. This year we were discussing what we really would like to eat. We are entering the age where ice cream for breakfast is certainly acceptable, so dinner this year will only be two courses, cheese fondue (with veggies and fruit to dip, so there is a modicum of nutrition) and the grand finale, dark chocolate fondue (paired with a copious amount of pineapple, trust me!) Oh, of course a bottle of Growers’ Champagne.
And we will celebrate Valentine’s Day Tuesday or so next week, just because we can…