It’s February, which means everyone’s favorite holiday of celebrating love and relationships is upon us. For many people, Valentine’s Day is not complete without a fancy, multicourse meal shared with the most important person in their life. A meal made with perfect pairings for your own perfect pairing. In honor of Valentine’s Day, the Grain Foods Foundation has created five perfect grain-and-other-food pairings that will help make any romantic five-course meal a success. Choose one or several to season your meal with delicious grain love:
- Bread Course: Sliced Artisan Bread and Cheese Fondue
Nothing starts off a meal quite like a breadbasket. It not only whets the palate for things to come, but also helps keep hunger at bay as the other, more intensive courses are prepared. And there is nothing that tastes better, nor more romantic than pairing that breadbasket with cheese fondue. Fondue has long been associated with date nights, being a warm and intimate experience that is meant to be shared. While many enjoy their fondue with apples or potatoes, having fondue with bread allows you to get more cheese with each dip and a satisfying texture with every bite.
- Salad Course: Baked Croutons and Roasted Beet Salad
There are a lot of people who think of salads as the least romantic part of a meal. They must have never tasted a roasted beet salad paired with baked croutons. Beets are some of the most colorful and striking vegetables and encompass the entire Valentine’s Day spectrum of reds, whites, and pinks. Couple these tasty winter roots with some crunchy baked croutons and you will have a salad that practically oozes romance and taste.
- Appetizer: Flatbread Bruschetta
There are many options for Valentine’s Day appetizers, ranging from the traditional to the extravagant. However, we recommend something a bit more outside the box. Seasoned flatbread is a common part of many Mediterranean and international meals, and usually served with a variety of toppings including meat, cheese, and veggies. However, if you want your appetizer to be a preview of romance to come, we recommend serving it as a Bruschetta. Nothing says romance like a sharing bread covered in olive oil, supporting dark red tomatoes and complementing tasty mozzarella.
- Pasta and Pink Vodka Sauce
Pasta is by far one of the most popular dishes on Valentine’s Day. Not only is it easy to prepare (and incredibly tasty), but it can also be covered in hundreds of different sauces that can wow the senses and blow the mind. If you want to impress your partner, we recommend pairing your pasta with a pink vodka sauce. Making the sauce itself is quite a spectacle, giving you the chance to impress your partner through rising flames and simmering colors. The sauce itself possesses a muted pink color reminiscent of a rose, and a calm flavor that brings out the best of the grain underneath. It is the perfect way to top off a romantic dinner.
- Brownies and Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
No Valentine’s Day would be complete without something sweet, and nothing says “sweet” more than one of the country’s favorite desserts: brownies. There is no better way to end a great meal than with a chocolatey piece of well-baked batter. Of course, if you are really looking to wow your Valentine, we recommend pairing your brownies with a true classic – chocolate covered strawberries. The fruity tartness of the berries beautifully complements the rich sweetness of the brownies, enhancing the grain so it becomes a memorable end to a phenomenal five-course meal.
Grains and romance are two things tied together on a molecular level. Wedding cakes, fancy meals, and delectably sweet baked goods are just some of the many ways we use grains to express how much we care. It is only natural to fill our one holiday dedicated to love with the grains we use to show our partners how much we care about them.