Crafting a Romantic Dinner for Two

I'm willing to bet you already have the perfect "romantic evening at home" fantasy cooked up in your brain. I'm also willing to bet you're still a little anxious about pulling off the ideal night and sweeping your significant other off his or her feet. But, don't fret! It's all about the food.

To really make the evening special, consider your significant other's interests. What's her favorite cuisine? Does he fancy a specific region of the world or the style of an era? Food-wise, you can translate your partner's loves into a few perfectly curated dishes.

Planning the Menu

Let's start with drinks. Wine is a very romantic choice, so if you and yours are winos, load up on a bottle (or two) or red or white. Red pairs best with steak and other meats, while whites are best for summer evenings and lighter fare such as shrimp and vegetarian dishes. It's also recommended to put a pitcher of water with a hint of lemon or cucumber on the table — you don't want to run to the fridge in the middle of your meal, right?

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For the appetizer course, feeding each other is much more sexy than shoveling food into your own mouth with a fork. Plus, eating with your hands is much more fun! A simple plate of sliced prosciutto, cheeses, and fig jam is a delicious and easy appetizer. For the more daring types, fondue is another romantic option.

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Take the playful food theme one step further by cooking together. Throw on your favorite record, top off your wine glasses, and get busy — in the kitchen, I mean! An easy option is homemade pizza. Begin with all the ingredients pre-sliced and your oven preheated, so all you have to do is place the ingredients together and pop it into the oven. Other aphrodisiac foods to consider include: oysters, basil, asparagus, avocado, and honey. Keep it light. The last thing you want to do on your romantic evening is fall into a food coma!

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If you did your job with the rest of the meal, there's likely very little room left in your stomach for dessert. But, if you've got any sort of sweet tooth, that won't stop you from indulging. Just keep it simple. Ice cream with fresh fruit and a drizzle of chocolate syrup should do the trick!

Setting the Mood

If you're lucky, you have a bug-free garden or patio where you can dine. If that's not an option, find a location that feels special. A room with a fancy dining table or dramatic chandelier is romantic. If need be, upgrade your lighting with a chandelier that has a dimmer option. At the very least, pick a spot that doesn't force you to look at a dirty, distracting kitchen.

Make a point to use your nice dishware, like crystal glasses, cloth napkins, and decorative plates. The occasion to use all your fancy china is now! Unscented candles are also a necessity for a beautiful table setting, so light several and place them strategically around the room.

Photo by Maegan via Flickr

And last, try to avoid all distractions. Send the kids to visit their grandparents, turn off all electronics, and focus only on each other!