This Valentine’s Day, I decided to surprise David with a picnic – not the usual ant-infested, wet-grass-ergo-wet-blanket, what-just-fell-into-my-food picnic – but a romantic INDOOR picnic and a movie instead.
The most important thing to remember when planning a romantic occasion for your special someone is to think about what their interests are. David, for example, is a stomach-on-legs (he works out!), who minored in theater and loves French and Italian cinema from the 1960s and 70s: a picnic and a viewing of the classic The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is perfect for him.
What You’ll Need:
attractive cutting board (nothing stained or plastic – I used a marble one.)
sexy outfit (hey, you’ll be indoors and it’s V-day, wow him.)
baguette or French loaf
variety of finger foods
decadent dessert (um…chocolate?)
other options: mini gherkins, gourmet olives, butter (at room temp), grapes or champagne grapes, berries, slices of favorite fruit, chicken curry salad, tofu or egg salad, hard boiled or deviled eggs, high quality chocolate or bonbons, a coffee or tea carafe
I chose a selection of imported salami from the meat and cheese counter at our local Whole Foods. Don’t be dissuaded by the pricey per lb price tag. You can order a quarter lb or – even cheaper – by the slice! One of the salamis was less than $2 for ten slices! And the other wasn’t much more. Plus you get to do Dave’s favorite thing – sample!
We also picked out two fancy cheeses. You can purchase as many as you like, but two was more than enough cheese and just the right variety for our small two-person picnic. We chose a soft, stinky Taleggio from Italy and a gorgeous double-cream French brie that had all the attitude of a triple-cream plus a rind to die for. (TIP: French Bries often have tasty, edible, soft rinds, whereas American Bries tend to have a bitter rind. When possible, I always go with a French import.)
With the cheese, we added a delicious honey that came in a past subscription box and complimented our fragrant Taleggio and soft French bread perfectly. We dipped some gorgeous-looking strawberries in it as well. (I dare you to try this and not roll your eyes heavenward in ecstasy.)
If you drink alcohol, grab a bottle of something bubbly. Make sure it’s tried and true; you don’t want to end up with something neither of you like on a special occasion. My favorites are champagne and prosecco but I’ve been dealing with some allergic type reactions lately, so we chose a sea salt and carmel ale for Dave and a gourmet water (one of my favorite splurges) for me. And two-mile deep, single-sourced aquaphor water did NOT disappoint. Yum.
Any of the above extras would be an excellent addition to this little meal as would a picnicky side. (Potato salad, anyone?)
Don’t forget the pièce de résistance: a sinful dessert. We chose a Chocolate & Raspberry Ganache cake from Whole Foods (who wants to cook?). But my favorite is their heart-shaped fruit tart. Bonbons or gelato are also a great idea from a specialty chocolatier.
Make sure the room you’ll be eating in is clean and vacuumed, pets are out of the way, light an unscented candle or two, and set out your picnic so that everything looks beautiful, casual, and appetizing. Don’t forget to throw the plastic containers and trash away so the setting is relaxed and the ambiance is right for romance. Enjoy!
We chose to watch The Umbrellas of Cherbourg with our picnic – a subtle French musical that launched the career of Catherine Deneuve. Lay back with your imported Brie and champagne and take in the glorious couture and coiffure in full Technicolor.
If you are not into musicals or subtitles, some of our other romantic film favorites are When Harry Met Sally, Swept from the Sea, Somewhere in Time, Casablanca, It Happened One Night, and Some Like It Hot.
And if you don’t feel like watching a movie, you can check out my Spotify list for a romantic selection of music that would make any picnic feel like you were on a rooftop in Paris. Ah, c’est l’amour.
What are your favorite picnic additions? What steamy foreign films am I forgetting? How did you amp up the romance this Valentine’s Day? I need suggestions for next year!