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Tender is the Night: Five Valentine's Day Dinners for Two

If the path to your lover's heart is via the stomach, these sumptuous meals will pave the way to a fine romance.

Wrap up a romantic Valentine's Day with an intimate affair fashioned around candlelight, music, flowers and sensuous food. Want to heat things up long before dinner reaches the table? Invite your sweetheart into the kitchen to help you with the cooking. Pour a glass of Champagne--a splendid aperitif--and share the pleasure of creating a memorable evening together.

To complete your meal, our Food and Wine Editor Carl Hanson shares his recommendations for the perfect pour.

Surf and Turf Temptation

"Serve a California Chardonnay with the Seafood Stuffed Avocados to complement the creaminess of the avocado and the mayo. A Cabernet Sauvignon is always a solid choice with steak."

Mediterranean Passion

"Cabernet Sauvignon is delicious with Parmesan. It should also go well with the lamb. Try a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley or Walla Walla in Washington State; these cooler-climate Cabernets often have aromas and flavors of mint and herbs, which would pair nicely with the demi-glace. A Washington Merlot would be nice, too, for the same reasons."

Love Birds

"You could go with a Sauvignon Blanc or a white Bordeaux. Either one would be nice and versatile with these dishes. I'd be tempted to stick with a red here, like a Barbera from Italy's Piedmont region. It should work with the tomatoes in the mussels appetizer and shouldn't overpower the Cornish hens. A light Chianti Classico might be just as nice."

Lust for Lobster

"A white Burgundy or a Chardonnay should pair nicely all the way down the line here, working well with the creamy avocado, the slightly sweet grilled rock lobster and earthy flavors of the portobello mushrooms. Cooler-weather Chardonnays might also have apple aromas and flavors that would be nice with the apples and walnuts in the Waldorf Salad."

Garden of Eden

"I might stick with a red wine here. Milan is not too far from the vineyards of Piedmont, so I might be tempted to go semi-local and drink a Barbera. It should be nice with the mushrooms and the salad, and work well with the gorgonzola, too. Otherwise, try a Beaujolais from France. It would go nicely with the strawberries in the salad and will be light and acidic enough to deal with the gorgonzola. Beaujolais could be your best bet."

Dinner and a Movie

Turn down the lights, snuggle with your honey and enjoy classic tales of romance on the silver screen:

  • An Affair to Remember
  • Casablanca
  • Moonstruck
  • Sabrina
  • Sleepless in Seattle
  • The Princess Bride
  • When Harry Met Sally

    Feb. 1, 2010 3:33 pm
    If you are on a budget and want to have a romantic Valentines Day evening, see page 3 of my photos. How can a picnic at home like that not be romantic... Use your imagination and Happy Valentines Day!
    Feb. 13, 2010 6:27 am
    You have some wonderful pictures and great ideas. Happy Valentine Day to you!
    Feb. 5, 2011 4:26 pm
    What a beautiful choice of recipes for valentines day! Thank you! Love this site! Happy Valentines Day to the staff and everyone!
    Feb. 6, 2011 4:24 pm
    Valentine's Day on a budget... one year I decorated an area in the back yard with candles and home-made tree lanterns, pulled out and blew up the air mattress that we keep for when guests come over, decorated that with cushions and blankets, served wine and just finger foods, even for the dessert! One of the most romantic we've had! So good even thinking of repeating it again this year!
    Feb. 9, 2011 6:42 am
    One year our local Carrs/Safeway was doing steak cut into a was a huge steak..purfect for two. That was one awsome Valentines day being my husband is a huge steak
    Jan. 23, 2012 11:09 am
    a steak cut into a heart! that sounds awesome! He would LOVE that....I wonder if I could ask for something like that from my grocery store? the men that work the meat counter love me in there! haha....I might ask them.
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