I know it’s a little late to be talking about Valentine’s Day or anything to do with the romantic holiday, but just last weekend we had an incredible dinner to celebrate that holiday of love, and I wanted to share about it.
To start off, my husband and I are part of a dinner group. Our group has been meeting for close to 10 years now. We have four couples including us, and we each take a turn hosting. Usually, the host will pick our dinner’s theme, and the remaining couples will all cook according to the chosen theme.
This month that wasn’t the case. This month, the couple hosting our dinner decided they wanted to show their appreciation to everyone else in the group, and they made the whole dinner. What a treat it was!
We weren’t told anything ahead of time. All we were told was to dress up. Who doesn’t like to get dressed up once in a while?
When we arrived, the house was lit with candles in the hall, the living room, and on the table. Just look at our table setting. It was spectacular!
Isn’t that lovely? Each plate had a rose napkin. That was also a lovely touch.
Now for a look at our menu. As well as telling us the delectable treat we had ahead of us, the title of each course (there were 8) gave us a fun starting place for discussion.
Our theme was A Taste of Passion. For our first course, titled The Wink, we had Deviled Quail Eggs with Caviar. Our discussion centered around how each couple met. Was it love at first sight? Was it mutual? We learned a few things about each other, that even after many, many years of friendship, we hadn’t known before.
Oh, that was yummy! Our next course, The First Date, was Oysters Mignonette. We all enjoyed them and hearing about each other’s first dates.
What comes after the first date? The Adventure! For all of us, we’ve had 25+ years of adventure, so we had lots of stories to tell while we enjoyed Roasted Bone Marrow with Fig Marmalade. Bone marrow was a first for me, and I have to say, I loved it!
Oh, it was delectable! This course was a first for most of us. We followed this with The Romance. Stories continued as we enjoyed Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter Sauce and Sage. At this point, our hosts made me my own course as I can’t have gluten or dairy. I enjoyed Garlic and Onion Perogies with a mock brown butter sauce.
Here’s the ravioli. My phone camera rebelled and took a very blurry photo of my dinner.
Our next course was The Question, Lemon Sorbet with Pom Arils. This one was hard to get a photo of too, but not because of my camera this time. Everyone dug in so quickly we were all almost done before someone got a photo.
After The Question came The Commitment. We feasted on Braised Short Ribs with Russet Mash and Vegetables. Oh my!
I have to point out something here. Do you see that little heart sitting atop the vegetables? It’s a jellied wine heart. What a beautiful adornment! Remember the challenge I mentioned with the sorbet? Well, that wasn’t the challenge we had at this point. The challenge we had now was we were all getting a little fuller, but I didn’t see anything left over.
One more little tidbit with this course, my wonderful hosts made the mash with Tofuti Sour Supreme and margarine so I could have it. No one noticed the alternatives at all. It was all delicious!
Our last course, The Hidden Pleasures, brought the discussion back around our table. Each person shared something they loved about their spouse, maybe something we didn’t all know already. All the while we enjoyed Chocolate Lava Cake with Raspberry Coulis and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Again, for this course, I couldn’t have what everyone else had. So I had some coconut ice cream and my carob ‘chocolates’.
Our last course The Happily Ever After was Coffee/Tea, Port and Liqueurs.
Now if you’re not already amazed, as we were. We found out our hosts made each dish themselves. Nothing (except my substitutions) was bought prepared. They did everything. They made the ravioli from scratch, and the lava cakes, the ice cream, …
One of the guests said it was the most incredible meal he’d ever had, and he’d remember it for the rest of his life! It was truly amazing, and we felt very loved.
Happy (belated Valentine’s Day) and creating!