A Taste of Love: Romantic Dinner Recipes from Across the Globe for Valentine’s Day

couple enjoying a romantic valentines day dinner with italian food. man is leaning over to kiss his girlfriend on the cheek.
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Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to let your sweetheart know how you adore them. What better way to shower them with love than by sharing a delicious meal together? Rather than making reservations at a busy restaurant, preparing a special meal at home is a great way to create an unforgettable evening while exploring international flavors. Whether you’re in the mood for some Mediterranean inspirations, want to add a touch of Indian flare, or spice things up with Latin heat, International Fresh Market can help you put together the perfect romantic dinner from around the globe. 

If you’d love to bring the effortless elegance of the French countryside to your Valentine’s Day table, coq au vin is the perfect dinner for two. This decadent French stew is made up of tender chicken, crispy bacon, and succulent vegetables that are braised together in a rich red wine sauce. While the dish traditionally calls for a whole chicken, using exclusively dark meat can help add extra flavor while ensuring each piece stays juicy. Your sweetheart is sure to be impressed by the coq au vin’s savory flavors, especially when paired with a light-bodied wine, such as Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.

There’s something about homemade pasta that feels decadent and over-the-top, even though it’s much easier to make than most people think. Preparing homemade pasta with your special someone is a fun activity that will make this Valentine’s Day stand apart from the rest.

Creating pasta that tastes like it came straight from Italy is as simple as gently working eggs into a mound of semolina flour on your countertop, first with a fork and then with your hands. After kneading the dough and letting it rest, it’s time to run it through the pasta machine to get thin sheets of dough that can be cut into your preferred pasta shape. To take your favorite pasta dish to the next level, add a drizzle of truffle oil to the sauce (remember, a little goes a long way).

Finally, add a white tablecloth, a few candlesticks, and a vase of wildflowers to transform your dining table into a romantic Italian getaway.

Perhaps, you’d like to take your date to Greece this Valentine’s Day with a traditional eggplant casserole dish called a Moussaka that’s as hearty as it is satisfying. Here’s how to make it:

  • Cut 6 eggplants into slices, then place them in a colander with salt and pepper for one hour.
  • Rinse the eggplants with water, then squeeze and pat them dry.
  • Fry the eggplants in oil until lightly brown, then set aside on paper.
  • Saute 2 red onions in oil until soft, followed by 26 oz. of ground beef or lamb.
  • When the meat begins to brown, add 2 minced garlic cloves and 2 tbsp. of tomato paste.
  • Deglaze the pan with red wine, then add 14 oz. diced tomatoes, a tsp. of sugar, a pinch of cinnamon, a bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Let the dish simmer for 30 minutes.
  • In a separate pan, melt 4 oz. butter on medium-low heat, then whisk in 4 oz. flour. 
  • Keep whisking while you add 31 fl. oz. warm milk. Continue to stir until the sauce slightly thickens.
  • Remove the sauce from the heat, then add 2 egg yolks, salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg, and most of the 3.5 oz grated cheese. Add a spoonful of the cheese sauce to the meat sauce.
  • Butter the sides of an 8×12 in baking dish. Layer half the eggplants in the pan, then spread all of the meat sauce on top of them.
  • Add the other half of the eggplants and pour the cheese sauce on top.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake in a 350 degrees oven for one hour.

Pair your Greek Moussaka with a beautiful Greek salad and your favorite Greek wine, such as Xinomavro, for a meal that’s a romantic as it is comforting.

The rich flavors and creamy texture of butter chicken and saffron rice make this the ideal romantic dinner for two. Don’t let its incredible depth of flavor fool you, though; butter chicken is surprisingly easy to make. A spiced yogurt marinade helps infuse layers of flavor while keeping the chicken moist. While butter chicken is delicious enough to eat on its own or alongside a few pieces of naan bread, saffron rice is a great accompaniment that will make your Valentine’s dinner feel a bit more sophisticated. To give your dinner an authentic Indian touch, consider eating at your coffee table while you and your partner sit on cushions. Don’t be afraid to incorporate dishes, flowers, and other pieces that are brightly colored and elegant.

Sparks will certainly be flying this Valentine’s Day when you serve your special someone Argentinian churrasco topped with fresh chimichurri. This scrumptious skirt steak is marinated in a smoky, garlicky sauce filled with a variety of spices, including adobo seasoning. After the meat has marinaded, it’s quickly seared on a hot grill, giving it a charred exterior and tender interior. Cut the meat against the grain and top with a bright chimichurri sauce, made from garlic, chiles, and herbs, for a love-filled meal that you’ll look forward to making for your honey again and again.

Every romantic Valentine’s Day has to end on a sweet note. You can’t go wrong with a French chocolate fondue, made from rich chocolate, cream, and vanilla. Pair it with fresh berries and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon for an easy yet elegant dessert. If your significant other adores coffee, an Italian tiramisu made from delicate lady finger cookies, espresso, and mascarpone is as yummy as it is decadent. Or, you could add a surprising twist to your love-filled meal with Indian gulab jamun. The combination of milk solids, sugar, cardamom powder, and rose water creates a delightful sweet that pairs beautifully with your favorite port wine.

Creating the ultimate love-filled meal at home doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated. With the right recipe and a few quality ingredients, you can put together a romantic, delicious meal that is sure to impress your sweetheart. For everything you need to welcome your favorite international dishes into your home, the International Market is here to help. Visit us online or check out the best Indian grocery store in Naperville today!

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