Dinner and a movie is a classic combination for date night. For those who plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day at home, we have recipe ideas for a tasty meal and recommendations for food-centric films. After all, what could be more romantic than a movie about food?
Like Water for Chocolate
This classic film is based on the novel of the same name by Laura Esquivel, which is worth reading (there are recipes!). When it comes to the film, we prefer it in the original Spanish with subtitles, rather than with voice over. In this story, a woman with a serious case of unrequited love and a complicated family life finds that she can infuse her strong emotions into the food she cooks, and communicate with her beloved. The rose petal quail scene is amazing.
What’s for dinner? We like the spices and the sweetness of dates in this lamb tagine recipe – and the pomegranate pips add color and a pop of bright flavor. Cooking in a tagine makes the meal a bit more special.
If you want to make quail – ideal when cooking for two – we recommend Chef Daniel Boulud’s recipe which pairs the plump birds with a colorful beet-and-apricot chutney fragrant with Indian spices. Also excellent is Ariane’s quick-and-easy quail recipe, accented with foie gras, Armagnac, and fruit – a particularly flavorful combination from Southwest France.
And here’s the chocolate! Our recipe for dark chocolate truffles includes the earthy sweetness of chestnuts and makes incredibly tasty morsels that are perfect for sharing.
Some find this film over the top, especially in the kitchen histrionics department. We understand Bradley Cooper is fluent in French and used that to his advantage in this movie about a disgraced chef finding redemption and love in his pursuit of a third Michelin star. The actor spent time with chefs Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsey, and Clare Smyth to prepare for the role, and worked some shifts in the kitchen.
Try our truffle roasted chicken for an upgraded version of a classic – perfect for Valentine’s dinner. Or make duck Wellington with truffle and Armagnac sauce for an exciting entree. Then earn your own 3-star review with a twist on crème brûlée – this one is a custard enriched with foie gras. Suitable for a dessert or an appetizer with toasted brioche and Sauternes.
The Hundred-Foot Journey
This beautiful culinary tale follows a young self-taught chef and his family who settle in a French village and open an Indian restaurant across the road from an acclaimed classic French establishment. The owner of that traditional restaurant is quite bothered by her new neighbors and battles the newcomers. When she recognizes the talent of the young chef and takes him under her wing, everything changes. And yes, there is a romantic subplot.
“…Cuisine is not an old tired marriage, it is a passionate affair!”
In a nod to the classic French cuisine in the film, make Tournedos Rossini for your Valentine. Originated by Marie-Antoine Careme and named for the famous composer (a notorious gourmand), this steak is decadent, rich and satisfying – perfect for a special occasion.
For dessert, whip up these French choux puffs with dark chocolate ganache, chestnut whipped cream and chopped chestnuts on top.
I Am Love
This Italian romantic film follows a family of rich aristocrats, operators of textile mills in Milan, and focuses on a Russian woman who marries into the clan. It follows changing times and fortunes, and disruption by the forces of passion, which involve the main character falling for a young chef. Watch for the lunch scene where the true hedonistic pleasure of eating good food is vividly acted by Tilda Swinton.
Keeping to an Italian theme, we like these Parmesan-crusted veal chops. The dish comes together quickly and is packed with flavor – perfect for a romantic dinner. Fines herbes and lemon zest keep the creamy pan-sauce fresh and light.
For a special meal, there’s nothing like porcelet. This milk-fed pork is tender and succulent, and this recipe results in a crackling finish on the rib rack. The dish is accented with aromatic fennel, apples, and a flavorful pan sauce with apple brandy, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar.
Finish your meal with our foie gras and apple rose tarts. They only look complicated – in truth, these beauties are made in under an hour with only 5 ingredients.
Before you object and tell us the original film – Mostly Martha – is better, know that we are agnostic on this point. We like the 2001 German romantic comedy as well as this American remake. In the film, a high-powered, intimidating and emotionally distant female chef becomes the guardian of her young niece and opens up to a brash sous-chef on her staff. So, it’s a love affair in the kitchen.
There’s a scene involving pasta, so we thought of this rich creamy dish with pancetta and crispy mushrooms – simple, comforting and fun to share with your date. For something even more decadent, try our caviar with pasta recipe.
Bake these gorgeous and simple chocolate-orange olive oil cookies to nibble on while you watch the movie.
What are your favorite food films with romance in the story? Tell us in the comments. Happy Valentine’s Day!