Sweet love tokens for Valentine's Day
With cupid on his way, I have put together some novel and traditional food and drink gift ideas for Valentine's Day
In Japan, Sake is centre stage at weddings in the Sake-Sharing Ceremony.
The bride and groom have to take three sips from three sake bowls that are stacked on top of one another. Both sets of parents then also take sips and this sharing ceremony symbolises the bonding of the two families.
If you don't think your partner would enjoy sake, you could consider the beautiful flasks known as tokkuri or the little porcelain serving cups which come in an amazing array of patterns.
Image with permission of the Chalice Mead Company
This English Mead, a fermented honey drink, is always my favourite wedding gift for the bride and groom to take on their honeymoon. Not many people know, but it is where the term honeymoon came from. It was believed that by partaking in a glass of mead together every night for the first month, the bride would become fertile and that a child would be born within the first year.
Surprisingly here in Britain, mead making is still a flourishing industry so you should be spoilt for choice.
Certainly this would make a lovely Valentine's gift but be careful what you wish for as it may be true!
Any homemade gift comes from the heart
In Brazil, these sweet beauties are served at weddings. Their name translates as "well married". Filled with different types of jam, they are basically just two little sponge cakes with a touch of lime zest.
They are served as dessert, beautifully wrapped in coloured tissue and tied with ribbon.
Anything homemade is romantic because of the thought and effort involved, so if you want to impress your beau, just google Bem Casadas – there are lots of great recipes out there.
In the Greek myth of Persephone's abduction by Hades, lord of the underworld, Persephone tied herself to Hades by eating pomegranate as it was thought that the seeds are so difficult to separate, it stands as a symbol of the indissolubility of marriage.
Here in England as a child I used to wonder what the mystical red topping was in my Mr Whippy ice cream, and now I know this was actually pomegranate molasses. Nowadays I use pomegranate molasses for much more than drizzling on ice cream. It flavours my drinks, adds flourishes to salads and I even put a dash in my meatballs which really zings them up.
So whether you buy your loved one ice cream or pomegranate molasses, it's sure to be a sweet treat.
In Italy, basil is used for everything – even "amore".
It is said that a lady could show she is ready for love by leaving a pot of Basil outside the door and if that works and she gets a first date, another pot outside the door symbolises to the potential soulmate that she liked what she saw and wants a second date.
Let's hope she doesn't get hungry between dates, as you can turn this versatile herb into so many different dishes.
Perhaps a herb growing kit for her very own windowsill with a hand written note of this story would melt your partner's heart. Or perhaps a basil scented pillow spray?
Sweet dreams indeed.