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Happy-Gourmand

Want to get lucky?

This week’s title is less than subtle, but what do you expect for the most commercialized festive occasion of them all? 

Valentine’s Day falls in a season full of festivities, with Mardi Gras and Chinese New Year right next to it on the calendar. 

Yet it has become one of the days of the year when many want to hide away from the world. Who could blame them? What sane person would spend money on flowers out of season, or want to buy a box of chocolates so big that the thoughts of consuming it all can only be called gluttonous? 

Ladies and gentlemen can make the most of the day by focusing on what is important to them and their loved ones. My husband has a few words to share for the male readers this week, so you will get both points of view.

She says:

It’s not that I have no romantic notions. Those who know me can attest that I am a sap when it comes to love. There’s the rub, though - Valentine’s Day should be about love, and not about feeling obligated to keep up with trends or make the biggest show. Maybe a big show is something you love, but if so, I would think you would want to stand out, and not be part of a whole room of big shows.

Personally, I like the little touches. The time there was some little thing under my pillow for a week leading up to Valentine’s Day. One simple blossom with a handwritten note can mean much more than a bouquet from FTD. 

And while I do believe that chocolate is an aphrodisiac, and maybe more is better - there is something to be said for pacing yourself.

The history of Valentine’s Day is a rich one. As a result, it is interpreted today in many fashions. 

It has been a pagan festival (I won’t tell you the gory details of that) and a religious saint’s day (to honour a priest who defied a Roman emperor, marrying couples when soldiers were supposed to be concentrating on fighting). 

In ancient Rome, February was considered the beginning of spring. In the Middle Ages, it was thought that February 14 was the first day of mating season for Europe’s birds. 

The tradition of sending cards is said to have started with the aforementioned Roman priest, who was, of course, jailed for his disobedience. He fell in love with his jailer’s daughter, and wrote her a note before his death, signing it ‘from your Valentine’. 

The oldest written valentine still in existence is a poem written in 1415 by a British noble to his wife. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London, and as they were famous for beheading people, one could see how he would be inspired to profess his undying love. Today, over one billion cards are sent out, and, interestingly enough, research shows 85% are purchased by women. Maybe the men are sending e-cards?

You can take heart if you have not bought into this holiday (no pun intended, but I must admit it does fit). Most Valentine’s gifts and cards are purchased in the six days leading up to the big day. Bernard Callebaut once told me he was amazed to discover that people buying chocolates on February 15 spent much more, as they seemed to feel guilty that they missed the deadline. 

Remember this: There is always time to say you love someone – if February 14 makes you remember that, then ‘better late than never’ is a good way to look at it. Write it on the steamed-up bathroom mirror if you have nowhere else. Just make sure you say it. 

He says:

Despite what you may think, I have always been a romantic. I also know (for you more macho readers) that Valentine’s Day is the one day a year when, if you don’t screw it up, you know you are going to get lucky.

As a chef, I focus on the food. I see so much low quality chocolate stuff out there, and all I can say is, spend some money and don’t give out cheap chocolate. 

In Kelowna, I like Callebaut Chocolaterie at the corner of Gordon and Guisachan. You also have Annegret’s Chocolates on Bernard Avenue. There is also Sandrine's Pastry & Chocolate on Dilworth,, near the liquor store - she makes beautiful desserts and chocolates. 

Giving cheap chocolate to the person you love, and with whom you plan to be together forever, is giving them a discounted proof of affection. Don’t cut corners!

On February 14, I will make something out of Callebaut chocolate that is sure to score big. And it will be preceded by a good dinner, a small gift, and maybe a flower type thing. 

Have you ever heard the saying, ‘You are what you eat’? Well, for Valentine’s Day, the saying is, ‘You get what you put out’. For every effort you give, you are giving her bragging rights with her friends that she made the right choice by hooking up with you. When all her friends start telling her what their partner did (or did not do), she will feel like a million bucks, and ultimately you will benefit from all that. 

If you need a recipe, try my Chocolate Soufflé

Guys, get out there and do something.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."

 

E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com

 



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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