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Listen to your heart: Five Valentine’s Day tips

The world seems to be split right down the middle with regard to Valentine’s Day. In one camp you’ve got the romantics, the hopeless romantic, the eternal optimists and those that just love a festive vibe as long as there’s some type of occasion or reason to do so. And wine. Then there are the naysayers who believe that Valentine’s Day is a scam invented by corporations to make money.

Perhaps those people are just bitter because they’re single? Jokes aside though, all we can really say on the matter is that love is an important emotion and we should need no excuse to bestow it upon those nearest and dearest to us. For those who aren’t exactly expert communicators, gifts come in extremely handy, but you can do a whole lot more than just give gifts this Valentine’s Day.

Even swans are feeling the love in February

Here are a few things to consider on Valentine’s Day 2022 that will help you make a lasting and loving impression.

Valentine’s Day gifts: Five things to think about

  1. The romantic experience
  2. Food, glorious food
  3. Curated hampers
  4. What are aphrodisiacs?
  5. Matters of the heart

The romantic experience

When a physical gift might not cut it and you want to create a memorable experience that will be cherished for many moons to come, there are many options at your disposal. We wrote about Cape Town picnic spots recently and honestly, there are not many better ways to connect with someone than through eating delicious food in the outdoors.

Atlantic Seaboard beach picnic views are romantic AF

Beaches, botanical gardens and an entirely traversable mountain in the shape of a table are just three examples. The best way to enhance a stunning setting and create a memorable mood? With food, of course. So let’s talk about it.

Food, glorious food

No matter what language it is that you speak fluently, food and hunger are natural tongues that transcend them all. How often in your life has a significant other been annoyed with you (or that’s what you thought) but really they were just hungry? Or hangry, as the kids say. Knowing what your partner loves to eat and when they like to eat is probably the single most important thing that will sustain your relationship in the days, weeks, months and years to come.

Whether it’s breakfast in bed, an impromptu beach picnic or a lavish three-course dinner, food always wins

If you go to great lengths to feed someone, there’s a good chance that you care deeply about them. There is even academic research to back this up. Maryanne Fisher, an associate professor of psychology at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, says that the energy and time we invest in buying food and cooking for a new partner shows just how much we like them and is what she calls “an inconvenience display” and something that cannot be faked. This is a component of her studies covering the evolutionary basis of romantic relationships.

That so-called “inconvenience display” comes in the form of sourcing the perfect ingredients (even if it means multiple trips to a host of fancy supermarkets), wandering aimlessly around shops you’ve never visited before, slaving over an intricate new recipe and painstakingly cleaning your apartment. These things show that you care, and they are most definitely noticed and appreciated. The results can be spectacular yet simple.

A classy romantic dinner doesn’t need to be complicated

That old adage “the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach” is one of the truest cliches in the history of cliches.

Valentine’s Day tips & our curated hampers

If you prefer that all of the guesswork is taken out of the equation when you’re buying gifts and you aren’t one for “inconvenience displays”, a curated Valentine’s Day hamper is the choice for you. It’s beautifully presented and contains a fine array of local confectionery and treats.

Sol's Valentines
An Intimate Valentine’s Day offering from Sols

You can also consider bringing the following non-food items to any romantic picnic situation, along with your Sol’s hamper or individual food items, and you’re all set for the fires to burn.

Valentine’s Day picnic tips

  1. It makes sense to start out with a high-quality, aesthetically pleasing picnic basket filled with plates, water glasses, wine glasses and a corkscrew.
  2. A large, soft picnic blanket is key. Staying with that soft-life theme, add pretty napkins.
  3. Pack a small cooler box for your perishables, wine and any other beverages.
  4. Serving spoons, wet wipes/hand sanitiser and plastic bags for any rubbish you accumulate.
  5. FOOD. This is quite obviously the most critical item of all. Sourdough bread, a range of cheeses, charcuterie, antipasti and easy-to-serve desserts and sweets will win the day.
  6. Always pack cold water, either still or sparkling. It’s important to stay hydrated and, of course, sparkling water is also a great palate cleanser. Pack pre-sliced lime/lemon to go the extra mile because we aren’t playing games here.

Check out our Valentine’s Day page for more, and if you’re looking to ramp up the mood even more intently, keep reading.

Sol's Picnic hamper
A romantic table picnic setting on the water

What are aphrodisiacs?

An aphrodisiac is any “food, drink, or drug that arouses sexual desire,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Honestly, it’s a broad definition that allows some wiggle room. But generally, aphrodisiacs are thought of as sex-enhancing foods and potent tonics or potions.

So, what’s the science behind food and drink that evokes lust and romance? We’ll refer to one case study, the oyster. Seafood and shellfish (especially oysters) have been revered as aphrodisiacs for centuries, partly because of their connection to “seafoam born” Aphrodite. But does the medical science back these historical fabled claims up? Are there real benefits to these traditional aphrodisiacs?

Oysters & bubbly go together like horse & carriage (or love & marriage)

Oysters: Zinc isn’t just useful in suncream

These iconic and decadent bivalve molluscs hold a long-standing reputation as aphrodisiacs and for good reason. If rumours are to be believed, Casanova himself ate 50 raw oysters for breakfast to maintain his virility and stamina. They’re are rich in zinc, which is essential for sexual maturation and sperm development. Raw oysters also contain two amino acids, D-aspartic acid and N-methyl D-aspartic acid (NMDA), which may be associated with increased sex hormone levels. Nutrition? Tick. Sexual health? Tick. Go and eat some oysters right now.

Thank you to ro.co and their extensive health guide for these interesting and sexy nuggets.

Fresh oysters are a wonderful treat in Cape Town

Matters of the heart

And, if all else fails, Valentine’s Day should also be a reminder that looking after our hearts is the most important thing of all. Avocadoes, whole grains, berries, fish and all types of nuts are great for our heart health, but dark chocolate is the same. Yes, that’s right, dark chocolate. It contains antioxidants like flavonoids, which can help boost heart health. Slightly off the topic, but tomatoes are good for your heart too. Who knew that the most delicious things in the world were actually good for us? There are theories that red wine is good for the heart too, and it goes pretty well with dark chocolate, but don’t quote us on that. Healthline has a useful guide on heart-healthy foods which we’ll continually reference.

Assorted Afrikoa chocolates from the Sol’s offering

It might be a bit obvious to suggest chocolate for Valentine’s Day, but when is chocolate ever a bad idea, especially if it’s the healthy kind? All things in moderation, as some famous person once said.

And there you have it. We’ve covered romantic experiences, the importance of food in romantic relationships, Valentine’s Day tips, aphrodisiacs and healthy eating. You don’t need much more than that to be properly prepped for the 14th of February.

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