Valentine’s day has passed, but we are celebrating love and romance all month long, and what better way to communicate love than through delicious and nourishing food. As noted author, speaker and counselor, Alan D. Wolfelt once said, “Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.”
But what comes to mind when you are dreaming up the most special dinner date? Maybe it depends where you are in the world! Join us on a global food tour as we seek out the most romantic recipes.
France: If you are in France, perhaps your date night will be among the lavender ﬁelds in Provence…If you are not so lucky—you could still travel there with your senses and the help of this special lentil recipe. Elevate basic stewed beluga lentils with lavender and herbs de Provence, a mixture of dried herbs typical of the Provence region of southeast France. Just a teaspoon of crushed lavender will add a delightful ﬂoral note to this hearty dish.
Maybe, you will keep it simple and set up a picnic with a French cheese plate.
Italy: If you are enjoying a romantic meal in Italy, it is likely to include pasta. One delicious pasta meal we love is Busiate al pesto trapanese, a typical pasta from Trapani, a seaside town on Sicily’s west coast. Instead of your classic basil pesto, this pesto is comprised of fresh tomatoes, almonds, garlic, and basil and usually served with busiate, a long and twisty fresh pasta from the area. Experience the treasures of Sicily with Chef John DaSilva and our friends at the Feed Feed.
Switzerland: A fun tradition, and delicious treat to share with loved ones, signiﬁcant others, or friends and family is fondue! Cheese fondue is an ooey-gooey, delicious combination of melted cheese and some sort of alcohol, typically white wine, cognac or brandy. Serve it with crusty whole grain bread, or a variety of vegetables. In September 2023, we’ll be visiting the Fondue Academy in Gruyères Village to learn how to become fondue masters. To make your own at home, check out Whole Food’s fondue recipe with Le Gruyere AOP!
When it comes to the healthfulness of cheese, quality and moderation are key. Not all cheeses are created equal, and the levels of nutrients can vary depending on the type. For those who enjoy cheese, it is just one aspect of an overall healthy diet, including the Mediterranean diet, and is the perfect accompaniment to nutritious, plant-based foods that people don’t get enough of.
Thailand: If you ﬁnd yourself in gorgeous, vibrant Thailand, you will not be short of options for delicious plant-based meals. The variety of fresh local produce and aromatic spices will blow you away! Whether you are in Thailand or not, we recommend trying this colorful recipe for Thai Green Curry with Eggplant and Tofu from Sharon Palmer, RD. Sharon will be leading a culinary tour with Oldways in Bangkok and Chiang Mai in February 2024. We’ll enjoy cooking classes, visits to markets and farms, cultural city tours, and so much more.
Morocco: From tagines to preserved lemons, and chermoula to sweet tomato jams and mint tea, Moroccan cuisine is unique and exciting. Dining in Morocco? Perhaps you will enjoy a delicious couscous dish! To recreate the experience at home, try our version!
Senegal: Jollof Rice is a much-loved traditional dish in West Africa, and it is the underpinning of Senegal’s national dish thiebou dienn, a meal of red rice and ﬁsh. Its name is derived from Senegal’s Wolof Empire and it is one of many tomato-based rice dishes found in African heritage, and featured in Oldways’ A Taste of African Heritage e-course. Layers of warm spices and seasonings make this traditional African rice and bean dish delicious! Enjoy this special recipe as a side or as the centerpiece of your romantic meal no matter where you are in the world.
Plus, remember that February is heart month, so take this time to show extra love for your heart. Incorporate more fresh herbs and spices, healthy fats, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables into your dishes.
Cooking for others, or sharing a meal together is not only one of life’s greatest treasures, but it is good for you too! Eating together can help reduce stress, build relationships, and improve the quality of food choices. As American food writer, M.F.K Fisher said, “sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.”
We hope these special global recipes inspire you to sit down for a lovely meal with people you cherish! Here at Oldways, good food is synonymous with love. For more global recipes visit our robust recipe library and check out what we’re cooking up on TikTok.
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