Break out the champagne, literature and elegant eats.
by Addie Ladner
From setting an extra special table at home inspired by a favorite restaurant, to reading a North Carolina inspired love story to learning about unique local historic love tales in downtown, we’ve got a round of ideas for a Raleigh Valentine’s Day.
Read a North Carolina-inspired love story
Whether you like your romance with a side of mystery, grit, or North Carolina scenery, immerse yourself in one of these novels this month, recommended by Sarah Goddin and Mamie Potter.
Take a Downtown Raleigh Love Stories & Broken Hearts Walking Tour
In honor of Valentine’s Day, learn about some of Raleigh’s lesser-known love stories. Led by Tricia Sabol of Raleigh Walking Tours, take a stroll through downtown with stops at historically significant spots. One example: at the North Carolina Executive Mansion, guests will learn about A.G. Bauer, the building’s designer, and his lover, Rachel Blythe, a Cherokee woman from Swain County. The two weren’t allowed to legally marry in the 1800s but went to Washington, D.C., to tie the knot. “I love sharing this city’s interesting history with the community,” says Sabol.
February 6, 7, 13, 14; 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.; 200 N. Blount St.; free (donations encouraged); search “Downtown Walking Tours” on Eventbrite
Buy bouquet of blooms and treat someone else to one too
A new florist in town, Tri Florals just announced their Valentine’s Day shop with two classic bouquets to select from: a bold red and white rose one aptly titled That’s Amore, or a muted pink, white and green one named La Vie en Rose. Pick up and delivery options are available and the starting price is $45. Tri Florals is doing a sweet initiative this year as a way to be able to connect with loved ones and the elderly, who many of us are separated from. They’ve partnered with Wake Assisted Living Memory Care who you can opt to donate flower bouquets starting at just $35. They’ll deliver the bouquets to residents and employees on Valentine’s Day. What an easy, loving way to pay it forward. Get the details here.
Stream Master Chorale’s Romance in the Air Concert while enjoying food from Wye Hill
The North Carolina Master Chorale presents a romantic, delicious, harmonious Valentine’s Day offering: Romance in the Air concert, in partnership with Wye Hill Kitchen & Brewing. Singer Sara Abernethy and her husband Chris Borreson hip restaurant and bar will serve as the performance space for this safe, masked performance recording and will offer inspired, locally-sourced dishes and a bottle of wine or growler to complete your concert experience.
Pick up on either Friday or February 12 or 13; $15 plus an additional fee for meal kit packages; ncmasterchorale.square.site
Take a virtual baking class with La Farm’s Lionel Vatinet
Themed Chocolate & Champagne, learn how to make favorite family desserts including Belgian chocolate mousse, and mocha lava cake. Special guest Laure Levesque, President & Chief Tasting Officer at Queen of Wines will join Vatinet to entertain and educate guests on the romance and history of French wine.
February 13; 5p.m-7p.m; $150 (price includes special ingredients and toolbox; lafarmbakery.com
Re-create one of these restaurant scenes at home
There’s nothing quite like a night at your favorite restaurant. Maybe it’s the familiarity of the ambiance, the grace with which the food is plated or the joy of having your favorite dessert served by a waiter who has become a friend that keeps you returning. But until restaurants can serve at full capacity — or you’re comfortable dining in-person again — we’ve had to make do with food-to-go more now than ever. But that doesn’t mean it has to be underwhelming and you have to miss out on those little accents from your favorite cafes. With a few small touches — taking the food out of to-go containers, for a start — you can recreate something close to your favorite dining scene inside your own home. Use one of these mood boards — each inspired by Raleigh’s romantic restaurants — to set the scene for this month’s big date night (or girl’s night!)
Hear some romantic broadway tunes from the North Carolina Symphony
This Valentine’s weekend, let beautiful music from the North Carolina Symphony warm your heart—with Debussy’s Clair de Lune, selections from Bizet’s Carmen, Dvořák’s Two Waltzes, and more.
February 18; 8 p.m.; streaming; ncsymphony.org
Try a new chocolate recipe at home
A dive down our archives revealed that our writers, local chefs, and bartenders love chocolate. In honor of the somewhat-commercialized-but-nonetheless-fun excuse to celebrate romance that is Valentine’s Day, we’ve rounded up a handful of must-try chocolate recipes. More than just cookies and cakes, we’ve got recipes for mole, spiked hot cocoa, an elevated s’more, and more. Use these 8 chocolate recipes from Raleigh foodies to make February a sweet one, literally.
Sip and Savoir Champagne and Caviar at The Umstead
Begin your Valentine’s weekend with a luxurious Champagne and Caviar tasting at The Umstead Hotel and Spa with their exceptionally knowledgeable sommeliers Troy Revell and Hannah Barton as they take you through a champagne tasting and caviar pairing. The event will be held in the hotel’s spacious ballroom with a limit of 36 seats to ensure proper social distancing.
February 11; Set to begin at 6 p.m. and conclude at 7:30 p.m;The Umstead Hotel and Spa, 100 Woodland Pond Drive, Cary; price starts at $350 www.theumstead.com/events
Take a Virtual Charcuterie Class
For Valentine’s Day, Courtney Bowman from the specialty charcuterie company Raleigh Cheesy will be hosting a virtual how-to class for making a stunning, V-Day themed charcuterie board on February 4 For $35, you’ll receive a detailed shopping list with easy-to-get ingredients, as well as step-by-step instructions to help you along your way! Bowman will also host an hour-long course on how to compose your board, followed by a Q&A session to ask any questions about how to perfect your design.
February 7; 7-8:30 p.m. Virtual; $35, search “Virtual Charcuterie 101 Class” on Eventbrite
Take a virtual cooking class with Rocky Top Catering
Make a delicious dinner plus cocktails at home on Feb. 13 or 14 by following along with Dean Ogan, Rocky Top Catering Owner and Chef, as he hosts a virtual Valentine’s weekend cooking class for couples. Chef Ogan will walk through how to make butter-poached and seared teres major steak and ricotta and herb gnocchi with local wild mushrooms, spring onion, asparagus, Carolina Pistou butter sauce, Reggiano cheese, and Heritage Pork lardons. Couples can choose from three packages, with the cheapest providing a shopping list, detailed prep instructions and access to the live class, and the most expensive providing a charcuterie box, a cocktail/mocktail kit, a dessert box and all of the ingredients fully prepped, in addition to access to the live class.
Feb. 13 or 14; 6-7:30 p.m. Virtual; packages start at $50 rockytopcatering.com/valentines-day-cooking
Take a trip to the City of Lights and support The Frankie Lemmon Foundation
Experience a magical night in Paris at home complete with authentic French cuisine, libations, and flowers thanks to Mitchell • Casteel A Fine Catered Affair. You can choose a four-course dinner for lovers, a three-course romantic dinner or a box full of snacks, bubbles, and sweets. All experiences come with flowers, freshly prepped ingredients, and easy to follow finishing directions, and a portion of all sales will benefit the Frankie Lemmon Foundation.
Reserve by Feb. 9 to ensure availability; mitchellcasteel.com/valentines-day-dinner