In Celebration of Love


Despite the celebration of romance and abundance of loving sentiment attached to Valentine’s Day in this day and age, the origins of Valentine’s Day are quite dark and gruesome.

It is hard to pinpoint the exact moment in history when Valentine’s Day was borne but the origins can be traced back to Ancient Rome and a pagan ritual and feast of Lupercalia.  This was rather a brutal affair and involved women being literally “hit on” by men.  Women would line up to be hit by men, usually with the hides of goats that they had just slain in the hope that this made them more fertile.

This day grew a little less gruesome when in Shakespeare’s time, the concept of love became more romantic and started to grow in popularity.  This is when the origins of giving handmade paper cards to your lover started as a tradition.  Once the industrial revolution hit and factory-made cards began being produced, it changed our February’s forever.

In most countries of the world, Valentine’s Day - February 14 - is big business for card manufacturers, florists and gift stores.  Some countries put their own spin on Valentine’s Day though:

Denmark – instead of red roses, the Danish tradition is to exchange pressed white flowers (snowdrops).  Men provide women with a “joking letter” usually consisting of a funny poem and signed with anonymous dots.  If the women receiving the letter guesses the author correctly, she scores herself an Easter Egg from that person later in the year.

South Korea – Valentine’s Day is popular amongst young couples where gift giving starts on February 14 where women try to impress their men with chocolates, candles and flowers. On March 14 this favour is reciprocated with the Men showering their women with presents.  And if you are single – there is also a day for you!  April 14 is the day when you can mourn your single status by eating bowls of black bean paste noodles….

Wales – the Welsh are known for their romantically inspired Love Spoons and as early as the 17th century welsh men carved intricate wooden spoons as a token of their affection for the women that they loved.  This tradition is less onerous on welsh men – they can readily buy these spoons rather than carve them, but the tradition of using them to send a personal and loving message is still very much alive.

Philippines – whilst the celebrations and customs of gift giving are very like other countries around the world, the Philippines add to this by having mass wedding ceremonies on February 14 where hundreds of couples gather at malls or other public areas to get married or renew their marriage vows.

No matter how you plan to celebrate it – why not try sweetening up the occasion with this delightful, but easy to make treat for your special “other” –

White Chocolate Cream and Raspberry Tarts

Ingredients:

  • Half a 200g pack of Kingston Biscuits
  • 30g Butter – melted
  • ¼ Cup thickened Cream
  • 45g Block of White Chocolate – melted and cooled
  • 125g Fresh Raspberries
  • Icing sugar for dusting

You will need 2 x 10cm heart shaped loose-based fluted flan tins.

Method:

  1. Process biscuits in a food processor till crumbed and mix with melted butter. Divide mixture between tins and press down on base and sides.  Refrigerate for 30 mins.  Remove biscuit cases from tins.
  2. Beat cream till soft peaks form then add melted white chocolate. Fold until combined and then spoon into chilled biscuit bases.
  3. Decorate with Raspberries and dust with icing sugar before serving.