How to plan the perfect Sicilian Valentine’s dinner at home

Editorial

Our top 5 tips

1) Create a beautiful tablescape
The way you present your food is not just about the way you present your final dish but also how you serve it and in what! We take inspiration for our tablescapes from our Sicilian heritage transporting us back home with each meal. Large serving platters, beautifully decorated plates from Caltagirone hand crafted and napkins inspired by the colours of Sicily, whether it’s misty mustard land, earth, terracotta, creams or bold tones we select the colour scheme based on what dish we are eating. Discover our tablescape recommendations for each of our Valentines recipes:

Pasta with Sugo di Pomodoro: a simple, classic and light dish, we suggest plain and neutral plates, glass tealight holders and a pop of colour using fresh green herbs like basil as your “flower” table centrepiece. We eat using all our senses and with basil being a key ingredient within our Sugo di Pomodoro recipe it’s the perfect scent to fully immerse yourself with this dish transporting you to the outdoor land where the basil itself is grown.

Pasta alla Norma: as this dish was created for Vincenzo Bellini, the Sicilian opera composer from Catania in the 1800’s, we would create an old world Italian feel with white material doilies,a touch of marble with warmly toned plates and set the mood with lighting only from candle sticks.

Pasta con le Sarde: with such strong Arabic influence within this dish we would use bold statement colours with elaborate designs using classic majolica pottery, with hints of mustard running through the table setting and copper candle holders and serve-ware.

2) Bring in nature
Flowers make a beautiful centrepiece for your table and when received can symbolise romance, unity, friendship and much more. As we mentioned earlier another great alternative is using fresh herbs as your flower centrepiece and one way we enjoy doing this is by repurposing our empty pesto and sauce jars is to fill them with fresh herbs. Not only does the vibrancy of the herbs create a wonderful fresh and stress free environment, but herbs diffuse the scents of what you’re eating within the dish.

3) Set the tone with lighting
Lighting is key and will help you achieve the atmosphere you want to create. For a romantic dinner we dim the lights down and use natural candle light to create that intimate setting. The simplicity of lighting a candle seeing it shimmer with its soft glow, brings a sense of serenity, slowness and relaxation which are all elements of the Sicilian slow living culture.

*TIP: instead of using tealight holders, repurpose your Strazzanti jars! Simply give the jar a quick wash, peel off the label and pop a tealight in, ecco lo qui! And to avoid smoke ruining the mood, don’t forget to save the jar lid for placing back on top of the jar when you’re ready to snuff out the candle.

4) Set the mood with a Sicilian playlist
Music without a doubt sets the mood right, but did you know it also helps in holding your curiosity for food similar to an appetiser? Apparently so! To compliment your Sicilian dinner and bring some modern Sicilian folk music into the room we suggest listening to Alessio Bondi on Spotify, one of our favourite Sicilian singers from Palermo where soon we’ll be creating a live event with him in Sicily this year. Click here to listen and sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know about the dates and tickets.

5) Choose your dishes wisely
Finally and most importantly…the food. Since Valentine’s Day is on a Monday, we don’t know about you but we probably won’t want to spend hours cooking over the stove after a long day at work. So keep it simple and with that in mind we have our Valentine’s recipe parcels that create delicious meals in under 30 minutes, giving you more time to be present in the moment with whoever you’re choosing to spend February 14th with. Discover our specially selected Valentines recipe parcels:

Pasta with Sugo di Pomodoro:
For those who enjoy simple flavours, choose ‘The Classic Sicilian Recipe Parcel’ which includes our Nonna Strazzanti’s classic tomato sauce ‘Sugo di Pomodoro’ which is packed full of Sicilian flavoursome tomatoes, with a hint of basil and garlic. Serve with our organic, anti mafia pasta and finish with a drizzle of Sicilian infused chilli oil if you like a bit of a kick! Warmly paired with our Centopassi Giato Rosso wine, a red wine blend of Nero D’Avola: and Perricone, on the nose intense notes of red fruits with spicy notes of black pepper.

Pasta alla Norma:
Create using our ‘Impress like a Sicilian Recipe Parcel’ which also includes our family recipe of Caponata Siciliana to start your Sicilian meal. Serve our Sugo alla Norma, filled full of fresh ripened Sicilian tomatoes, aubergines and ricotta salata cheese and serve with our organic casarecce pasta. Lift the flavours of the dish with a drizzle of our Sicilian lemon infused extra virgin olive oil and finish with our sweet signature Sicilian almond and sesame nut brittle. All perfectly paired with our Nero di Lupo red wine, from our friends at COS winery. Unfiltered, 100% Nero d’Avola and Biodynamic. On the nose, aromas of pomegranate and cloves with warm tannic notes. On the palate, complex and mineral with dried fruit flavours backed up with notes of almonds and smoke.

A Valentine’s surprise:
Explore all our Sicilian recipes and transport yourself to Sicily with every dish you create with ‘The Food Connoisseur Hamper’. Discover inside our 5 signature Sicilian infused extra virgin olive oils to enhance your bread dipping as well as our family recipe of Caponata Siciliana the traditional sweet and sour vegetable condiment filled with plump aubergines, peppers, olives and much more.Two traditional Sicilian wines, a Syrah Lumà, Cellaro and Grillo Lumà, Cellaro and to finish with something sweet, our Cubaita Siciliana. Discover all our Sicilian recipes here.

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