It’s the one day of the year that the world explodes with sugary, cheesy, sparkly, over-the-top expressions of love. Where every supermarket and storefront looks like it got it’s design inspiration from a tween girl’s bedroom. Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day.
The one day of the year where the perfect gift will get you more than just dessert afterwards. And the wrong one (i.e. not bragworthy) will leave your relationship feeling like the coldest winter in the Drakensberg.
While many of us find the concept of V-Day a little too manufactured and corny to be of deep significance to our relationships, it’s always nice to go that extra mile and spoil the person you care about.
While Food For Mzansi can’t help you choose the right gift to avoid disaster, nor guarantee that you’ll get some of that good lovin’ afterwards (not a snowball’s chance in hell), we will help you plan the perfect, truly locally inspired dinner for your special someone. This includes wine pairing suggestions, because let’s get one thing straight: 2019 is all about that dash of fancy for every occasion.
Firstly, create the perfect ambience
You have to set a table. Even if you don’t have a dining room table, set the coffee table and use scatter cushions as seating. Cover your table with a cloth. (If you’re not grown enough yet to have purchased table cloths, a spare curtain will do!) Add some candles too, and, of course, you can never go wrong with a bunch of flowers.
You want to create an intimate setting, with no harsh overhead fluorescent lighting. Lastly, pop some Cesária Évora on shuffle in the background. You won’t know the songs, but this is a date, not a karaoke. Cesaria’s Cape Verdean sounds will transport you and your loved one to romance paradise.
A three-course proudly South African feast
Listen, we know Januworry turned into Februworry for many of us. So we prepared a three-course meal that cuts through all the pretense, and will most certainly be one your babe will never forget.
Starter: Tomato, onion and fish smoortjie served on ciabatta squares
It’s a tomato, onion and fish smoortjie on toasted ciabatta squares, topped with a teaspoon of spicy chakalaka. How?
Cut a ciabatta loaf in half, then cut it into bite-size portions and toast in a pan. Top these with your smoortjie, followed by your chakalaka. Easy, Mzansi-style canapés!
To boujee this dish up, we suggest pairing it with a full-bodied, slightly chilled Malbec (a rather inky red and intense wine).
The body of the Malbec will provide a lovely counter to the richness of this dish, and the red fruit and plums will compliment the spice perfectly. If you really want to impress, try this House & Home recipe that we really love.
Main meal: Masala steak gatsby
We’ve got you covered with a masala steak gatsby. You won’t need a recipe for this one. Simply get a take-away and cut it into serving portions. There’s nothing sexy about chomping down a big, fat piece of gatsby on a date, chommie.
Which wine is best to serve with this Mzansi classic? A Merlot. The soft red and dark berries, typical of South African Merlots, will pair beautifully with the earthy heat of the masala steak.
If your local take-away shop doesn’t have a masala steak gatsby on the menu (shame on them), why not try this recipe from eatdrinkCapeTown. You’ll need to leave early from work, though, to prepare the dish before your loved one arrives.
Dessert: Cape Malay Boeber
We’ve chosen a traditional Cape Malay classic, boeber. Capetonians, especially, will know someone who makes the best boeber, whether it be a colleague or a family friend. Either ask them for a recipe, or, even better, twist their arm to make some for your special night.
Alternatively, there are some great boeber assembly packs in most supermarkets. This cinnamon and cardamom sweet treat will have you lining up for thirds. Pair it with a glass of demi-sec Prosecco (a sweeter sparkling wine) to end the night off on a bubbly note!
But, regardless of what you do for Valentine’s Day, if it comes from your heart, it will always be cherished.