independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Valentine's Recipes: Stir in a little ooh la la

Clodagh McKenna brings a touch of continental charm to your Valentine's meal

One Valentine's weekend, I was instructed to pack my case and have my passport ready. It was only when we reached the boarding gate that I knew we were en route to Paris.

Two hours later, I was tucked away in Le Bar of The George V hotel, sipping on a brandy and Champagne cocktail, pinching myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming.

The great cities of the world all have their own spirit – New York buzzes with ideas and the new, London is both regal and irreverent – but there is only one word for Paris: romantic. I was living the dream.

The next morning, we walked from the lavish George V to the red banquettes and mahogany tables of Café de Flore on the Left Bank. We sat where Satre and Camus used to sit and order jambon et fromage omelette.

We spent hours alternating between coffee and pastis, just watching the world go by. From coffee house to the Laduree Salon de The on the Champs-Elysees, famed for making the first and best macaroons in the world. They were like Paris itself – elegant, exquisite and hopelessly romantic.

We can't all catch a plane to Paris, but we can all recreate the atmosphere. Pop a truffle in your lover's pocket when they leave for work. In the afternoon, send them a menu card for dinner via pic on your phone.

Light candles, put scent in your hair and have something French playing in the background. Have everything prepared beforehand so that you can give them your undivided attention and a delicious cocktail when they come in.

And sweet nothings sound so much sweeter whispered in French: "Que mes baisers soient les mots d'amour que je ne te dis pas." (Let my kisses be the words of love that I don't say.)

Clodagh's 'Kitchen Diaries' published by Kyle Books is €27

Irish Independent

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