Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. Not because I love chocolate (although, if we’re being real, that doesn’t hurt) but because of the idea of doing something special for the special people in your life. Growing up, Valentine’s Day was always a bigger occasion in our house than in many. My parents would get up early to cook an enormous breakfast: eggs, bacon, waffles, strawberries, english muffins, regular muffins, donuts, and did I mention bacon? We would wake up just a little earlier than we did on a regular school day and all sit down together to enjoy our meal- at the end of which my father would reach behind his back and ‘spontaneously’ present us each with gifts. Always a card, a thoughtfully picked out card with a personalized message of love, appreciation, and advice (don’t stub your toe!), always a small box of chocolates, and always a little something extra he had picked out just for us.
People often complain that Valentine’s Day is a “commercial holiday” or a “Hallmark holiday” which I’m not here to deny. The idea that children are required to bring tiny scraps of paper with more candy than any of their peers should eat attached to it to school on February 14th every year is a little silly. The fact that it’s impossible to get a decent reservation at any restaurant during the entire week of Valentines day- whether it’s because they’re overbooked with couples or because they’re forcing an overpriced ‘Valentine’s’ themed menu on you is frustrating. And for sure the idea that Valentine’s Day is the one day you need to profess your love to someone is simply Hollywood nonsense.
But if you take it a step back, strip it down to its basic parts, why should we not revel in the chance to tell the special people in our lives that they matter? The key is to find the right way to do it. The tradition of a greeting card and a box of heart shaped chocolates is tired but that doesn’t mean the holiday has to be. For my family, Valentine’s Day was never about hearts, cards, and horseshoes but about taking the time to celebrate each other with one another on what would otherwise be a regular day of the week. For yours it might be about finally treating yourselves to those gorgeous place settings you’ve been eyeing for months and creating an exceptional dinner to plate on them. Or taking time out of your busy schedules to roll up your sleeves and take a cooking class together. Or even just sharing a relaxing evening at home with the perfect bottle of wine. Whatever you choose to do, take advantage of the opportunity to treat the important people in your life to something special.
If you’re looking for ideas for what to do, for something off the beaten path stop in and ask us- we’re happy to help you brainstorm ways to make this holiday as fun and memorable for you as it has always been for us.
Menard Family advice
Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. Not because I love chocolate (although, if we’re being real, that doesn’t ...
Each year, during the col-drums of February, the harsh winter seems to melt away as people celebrate Valentine’s Day, the holiday synonymous with romance. Although there are several theories on the origin of the holiday, it has been adopted in many countries across the world as a way to celebrate love among couples, friends, and family.
Italians are typically considered to be lovers, but the celebration of Valentine’s Day in Italy is actually an American import. Known as “La Festa degli Innamorati” it is typically only celebrated between lovers and sweethearts.
This Valentine’s Day Via Umbria is combining the American and Italian traditions with our Sweetheart Suppers being held on two nights – Saturday, February 13 and Sunday, February 14. If you don’t look forward to the annual Valentine’s Day chaotic restaurant experience, or if the thought of cooking a meal for two has you hiding in bed with the blankets over your head, take the stress out of romance and enjoy dinner at a cozy table for two in Via Umbria’s laboratorio demonstration kitchen where every table is a chef’s table. But it’s not all cupid and hearts around here; if you’re looking for a unique spot for ladies’ night out or a group date with friends to celebrate the occasion, book a seat at the communal table to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, conversation, and wonderful Italian food.
Each evening features four courses of delicious Umbrian dishes, including appetizers, wine pairings, and a decadent chocolate dessert. And don’t forget, dinners in our laboratorio are more than just great food: our open kitchen format allows you to watch your meal as it’s created, and you can interact with the Chef. We promise it will be an unforgettable evening!
What: Sweetheart Supper
Where: in the Laboratorio (demo kitchen) at Via Umbria
When: Saturday, February 13, at 7:30pm or Sunday, February 14, at 7:30pm
For more information or to book your reservation visit us online or call us at (202) 333-3904.
We're taking Valentine's Day reservations
Each year, during the col-drums of February, the harsh winter seems to melt away as people celebrate Valentine’s Day, the holiday synonymous ...
Did you know Mr. Valentine was an Umbrian? Saint Valentine was born in Terni, an hour drive from Cannara, where he lived and eventually died on the 14th of February. Very little is know about the actual Saint Valentine, and much of his life is shrouded in conjecture and myth.
We know Saint Valentine lived in the 3rd century. He is considered the founder of the Christian community of Terni and was its first bishop. Because of his faith he was persecuted under the emperor Aureliano and beheaded in Rome on the 14th of February (around 273). His body was lovingly taken back to Terni, where he was buried. His skull remained in Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome, where I snapped his photo a few years ago.
Every year, Terni celebrates the Saint Day with a traditional fair with about 300 stands, while in the city center there is a kermesse Cioccolatino dedicated to chocolate and other Italian sugary specialties.
If you can’t make it over to Umbria to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the utmost of authenticity, at least give you lover something Umbrian! The ultimate spirit of the Saint will be with you.
Here are my picks for the loves in my life this Valentine’s Day:
My man is all the way across the country, so I will be gifting myself this delightful confection, my favorite Torrone – dark chocolate with Hazelnuts – to substitute for him. Plus the packaging is so beautiful and Valentine’s-y that I can pretend that I am eating chocolate for the holiday, and not just because I really want to.
FOR THE ROOMMATE
For a special treat for my roommate, not so much the chocolate guy, I’ll give the luxurious Marrons Glaces, which he got hooked on in France (but we know which country makes them better…)
FOR THE MOTHER
The most beautiful hand-blown glass hearts from the island of Murano are sure to remind my mother of how much I care for her.
FOR THE FATHER
My father flips over Gianduia, and these multicolored boxes aren’t to lovey-dovey, but are just what he wants. Fun to bring to work to keep in the desk for a chocolate hazelnut treat that will remind him that he is loved.
For the loves in my life
Did you know Mr. Valentine was an Umbrian? Saint Valentine was born in Terni, an hour drive from Cannara, where he lived ...