Wondering what to do for Valentine’s Day? This is the question on the minds of many when the month of love approaches. Go with the trusted candle-lit dinner? Do something adventurous this time? No need to mull over it too much. These handy suggestions will help take the chore out of organising something special for your loved one and will hopefully get the sparks flying.

1) Cooking can be the catalyst

If you’re most comfortable in the kitchen whipping up something hearty, then the romantic dinner remains a sure-fire way to steal the heart of your valentine. A delicious meal cooked well and with love will leave most weak at the knees, especially if it’s their favourite dish. While serving something with a personal touch could leave him or her smitten, pulling a ‘’naked chef’’ when it’s the first time your date is visiting, is a no-no, unless, of course, you’re both into that kind of thing.  

This stuffed brinjal with herb bulgur recipe is sure to be a hit with your valentine, especially given all the hype around plant-based eating and vegetarian food these days. It’s a light and tasty main, making it ideal if you want to serve a decadent dessert.

2) The thrill of surprise
If your speciality is fried egg on toast, then perhaps you’d want to plan a date out on the town? Instead of booking a table at a popular establishment, why not pack a picnic basket and whisk your valentine off to a scenic spot with a bottle of their favourite tipple in tow? It may seem cliché but leaving things to the imagination can be a thrill for someone who’s used to the norm. Be sure to not let the surprising scenario fizzle out – the last thing anyone wants is an anti-climax, so ditch the cheesy platter and red wine and serve something that tickles their fancy.

A tasty delight like crackers with shrimp or smoked salmon topped with thinly sliced cucumbers and sour cream will add some sophistication to the occasion. If that doesn’t do the trick, the thought and effort you’ve put into the experience certainly will.

3) Choose your wingman/wingwoman wisely
Now for the drinks. Your choice of drink says a lot about you. Whether you want to serve a sumptuous sundowner, a palate-cleansing shooter, or top the evening off with a nightcap, it is super important to put some thought into your drinks. Gin happens to be de rigueur these days and bringing a classic such as Wixworth Gin to the table can help you succeed in the game of love.

4) Celebrate with friends
Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year, which makes it a perfect opportunity to celebrate the occasion with friends. Invite a few friends over, play some good music – keep Acoustic Element (a classic, musical duo making waves in the industry right now) on repeat – serve up some classic drinks and snacks and voilà: you have a recipe to make it a night to remember.

5) Be yourself
Last but certainly not least, always be yourself. It’s the be-all and end-all of an enjoyable and memorable Valentine’s Day. You don’t have to be the hopeless romantic that books a fancy restaurant or buys impersonal fluffy toys, chocolates, and gifts to impress their crush or sweetheart. What really matters is spending Valentine’s Day with the one you love and who loves you for who you are.

Wixworth Gin is available from Makro stores or on Takealot.com and at selected liquor stores and restaurants nationwide, for the recommended retail price of R299.