We know that making Valentine's perfect can come with a lot of pressure. You want to show your partner how much you care, and plan the perfect day for them. Sure, you can go out for a fancy dinner or to an event, but we think the best Valentine's are spent right at home.
Spending Valentine's at home gives you much more power to control the evening, and create the setting that you know your partner would love and appreciate. It's easy to click book on an online reservation, but setting up a wonderful Valentine's dinner takes so much more time and effort - it's an incredible way to show your love!
But the whole process can definitely be overwhelming - so that's why we wanted to help! We've sorted out steps for creating a romantic Valentine's dinner, from how to set the ambience, to what to serve. Don't worry, we've got you covered!
Creating a Romantic Valentine's Dinner at Home
The vibe you create for your Valentine's dinner is key to creating a romantic setting. Sure, you can make an amazing meal, but if you're sitting in harsh lighting, listening to heavy metal, you might not achieve the ambience you're after. Here are some helpful suggestions to set the mood:
- Lighting - We can't emphasize enough how important lighting is for setting a mood. Bright lights aren't romantic, and too dark and you can't even see your partner! You want to opt for a low light, and warmer lighting - think more yellow tones as opposed to blue tones. It creates a more relaxing and inviting. Candles, lanterns, and twinkle lights also help to add low and warm lighting.
- Music - This category is really open to personal preferences. But the absolute best music you can choose is music that evokes memories you've shared together. What was the song that played on your first date? What was the first concert you saw together? It's a nice touch that your partner will appreciate. Otherwise, you can never go wrong with the Spotify Valentine's Day mix, which curates a love song playlist based on the songs you already listen to.
- Scent - Cooking delicious food should take care of most of the scent part for you. However, it doesn't hurt to do a thorough home cleaning before the dinner, and make sure the trash is taken out. Some people like to add scented candles or incense, but those can oftentimes combine with the food aromas and be too overpowering. For a subtle scent, consider a slightly more aromatic flower for your table setting.
- Table Settings - Speaking of table settings, the care you put into your table is HUGE when setting up a romantic dinner. Don't put all that effort into a meal, and then sit at your kitchen counter or coffee table with zero extra touches. Candle holders and sticks, a vase of flowers, and place mats with matching napkins go a long way! There are even more items you can add to jazz up the table, but those 3 items can make a table setting all on their own.
Who doesn't love a drink on Valentine's Day? Even if you don't drink alcohol, a beautiful glass helps in setting that ambience we touched on, and adds to the evening as a whole.
We have a few suggestions to bring your Valentine's drink game to a whole other level:
- Purchase Glassware - Don't have any cocktail or wine glasses that you'd write home about? It's worth having a set to bring out on special occasions. There are so many great glasses out there that won't break the bank. From Target to thrift stores, you can always find something reasonable if you hunt for them. Want to splurge on fancy ones? The Real Real actually has a home section, and you can frequently find really nice glassware for a fraction of the original cost.
- Buy Quality Ingredients - Want to wow your partner with a martini, but you buy the cheapest vodka on the shelf? That probably won't impress them much. There's no need to buy super top shelf booze, but try to go a little above well-liquor. Speaking of martinis, a nice olive oil wash in the glass adds an extra subtle touch that won't go unnoticed. Some balsamic vinegar is also a great surprise cocktail ingredient to make an impact in your cocktail.
- Garnish, Garnish, GARNISH - You'd be surprised how much the smallest little garnish could transform an entire drink. The addition of a heart shaped stuffed olive or a single edible flower can turn your cocktail into something ordinary, and something worth a romantic occasion.
Now for the most important part: the food. How can you have a wonderful and memorable Valentine's dinner with a bad meal? You just can't! Heck, even if your dishes don't turn out perfect, you've at least put in an effort and shown your partner how much you care. We are going to sort some delicious recipes for you by category (starting with the easiest/least time consuming option) to help you prepare for a delicious feast:
- Dip with Bread - Who doesn't love a dip? Some nice fresh bread, a good cheesy dip - it's always a crowd pleaser! We love a simple mix of an herby spice blend, extra virgin olive oil, and a balsamic. It's so easy to make, yet so delicious, and a perfect way to start the evening (and even simpler with our Little Dipper Box).
- Charcuterie Board - You can never go wrong with a charcuterie board. A delicious blend of cheeses, meats, dried fruits, jams, and olives and you've got yourself a perfect start to the evening!
- Spicy Garlic Shrimp - Although many would eat these spicy garlic shrimp as an entrée, we love these shrimp as a starter dish. Just stick tooth picks in the shrimp for easy snacking, and you've got yourself a nice little appetizer to eat with drinks while you put the finishing touches on the rest of your meal.
- Winter Pomegranate Kale Salad - Before we ease into Spring, now is the perfect time to make this delicious winter pomegranate and kale salad. It's packed with citrus, bitterness, and a heavenly honey lemon vinaigrette. Plus - it's super quick to make!
- Harissa Broccolini with Tahini Sauce - We LOVE broccolini, and this recipe for harissa broccolini with tahini sauce is on a whole other level. Sesame, lemon, and our harissa infused olive oil make a wonderful combination that pairs well with so many dishes.
- Potato and Olive Tagine - This North African dish is a delicious side to serve with many proteins (or works as a Vegan entrée option). The incredible spices, and combination of briney and sweet ingredients leaves you with something truly mouth watering!
- Cacio e Pepe - Who knew that a dish with so much flavor could be so simple to make? Cacio e Pepe, which literally translates to cheese and pepper, is exactly what you'd expect. This pasta contains a whole lot of cheese, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil - and boy, is it delicious.
- Sicilian Herb Rack of Lamb - This rack of lamb is the perfect balance of sweet and savory. The herbacious flavors from the Sicilian infused EVOO and the fruitiness of the pomegranate balsamic pair perfectly.
- Chicken Marbella (pictured above) - If you've never had this dish before, it's time you give it a try. This Spanish chicken dish is another lovely example of a protein that is both sweet and savory; with the flavors of olive and herbs, combined with prunes and brown sugar. We just can't get enough!
Gelato con Olio e Sale - Translated, this Italian classic means "ice cream with olive oil and sea salt." Now, don't knock it till you've tried it. If you haven't already noticed, we are a big fan of a sweet-savory combo, and this dessert is no exception. Vanilla is the go-to classic ice cream flavor for this dish, as is a delicate olive oil, however, you can feel free to experiment as you wish.
- Lemon Ricotta Cannolis with Pistachio - One of the best things about making these lemon ricotta cannolis is that you can definitely make them the day before and refrigerate if you think you'll be pressed for time day of! Sure, everything is better fresh, but these will still be delicious the next day.
- Chocolate Bundt Cake with Pomegranate Caramelized Pears - Making a cake on top of everything else you're making may seem like a lot, and that's totally understandable. However, this chocolate bundt cake with pomegranate caramelized pears is the perfect dessert if you're really looking to go that extra mile and "wow" your partner.
Happy Valentine's Day, From Texas Hill Country Olive Co.!
We hope that our tips and recipes have inspired you this Valentine's day, and that you've taken away at least some helpful tidbits!
Besides Valentine's day, everything here will help you to create any romantic evening, whether it's for an Anniversary, Proposal, or other special occasion.
And if you're looking for a little extra something to give to your partner, you can never go wrong with a lovely gift of your favorite olive oils and balsamic vinegars!