This romantic-love-day thing all supposedly started with an Italian priest called Valentine, who disobeyed the orders of the Emperor and illegally married soldiers, who were banned from marrying as it might detract them from the military duties. While he was imprisoned for this offence, he passed cards between other lovers and continued to perform marriage ceremonies between prison guards and their spouses. It didn’t turn out too well for him though, as he was executed for his crimes.
And It’s not just the Italians who have romance at heart. In Japan, for example, it’s all about the men. On February 14th , women give men flowers, cards, even money to their boyfriends, husbands and, in true Japanese style, bosses. But it’s not all one sided. On March 14th, men return the favour. So as long as your relationship survives for a month after Valentine’s Day, all’s fair. In Korea, they are more considerate than some, February 14th is for men, March 14th is for women and on April 14th singles are celebrated in what’s known as Black Day. Okay, it does sound a bit bleak, but the idea is that all those who don’t have the opportunity to celebrate a couple’s love can go out, eat black noodles and have a great time celebrating being single. In the UK, this happens every Saturday night, of course – just without the noodles.
Back home in Norfolk, we are very lucky at The Grove to have been booked up for Valentine’s Day for a while now, and those we are welcoming are in for a culinary treat.
And here’s a little gift from our Head Chef, Michael West. It’s easy, fairly quick, doesn’t require thousands of ingredients and is guaranteed to impress. So why not give it a go and don’t forget to add the secret ingredient.
- 200g cream cheese, softened
- 350g icing sugar, sifted
- 500g plain chocolate, melted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- A pinch of love
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in the icing sugar until well blended. Stir in the melted chocolate and vanilla, with the love, until no streaks remain. Refrigerate for about 1 hour. Shape into 2.5cm balls.
Roll truffles in ground walnuts (or any ground nuts), cocoa, coconut and icing sugar.
To flavour the truffles with liqueurs or other flavourings, divide the truffle mixture into thirds. Add 1 tablespoon of liqueur (almond, coffee, orange etc) to each mixture; mix well.
Happy Valentine’s Day from us at The Grove.