Updated: Mar 5, 2021
Valentine’s Day, it is a day when couples show their love for another by exchanging chocolates and other treats. However, in other countries and cultures, Valentine's Day showcases other delectable foods that have couples swooning over on this day of love.
What's being served around the world?
China: Most people don't know this, but Valentine’s Day is a big deal in China. They have dedicated a festival, called Qiqiao (Qixi) to celebrate this special occasion. During the festival, single and taken women put on new clothes and pray to the Vega star for wisdom and sophistication. Perhaps the single women are praying for Mr. Right. Valentine's is when lots of delicious Qiaoguo, a traditional pastry symbolizing intelligence and ingenuity is consumed. The various shaped fried pastry has a sweet sesame filling and is exchanged or given to significant others, family and friends.
Mexico: Valentine’s Day in Mexico is called “The Day of Love and Friendship”, or El Día del Amor y la Amistad. Sweet candies and a dish called Pibil Pollo, a Yucatan roast chicken dish with a hint of achiote paste is eaten on this day. This dish is loved for its bright red color of the achiote, and the flavours of citrus, garlic and habanero pepper. The slow roasting process makes the entire chicken, and most notably, the drumstick tender and full of flavour. Nothing shows your love more than this delicious dish!
Great Britain: Chocolate is still a favourite Valentine's Day item for the British, but not before indulging in delicious, raw oysters. Pacific oysters are most preferred and these special specimens are farmed for the occasion because the they consider the native oysters that are available year-round are simply not good enough!
Belgium: Is there a country more famous for its chocolate then Belgium? However, chocolate is not the food of choice on Valentine's Day. Instead Belgian waffles are what is served by many on this day. The waffles are interesting to look at, easy to make, and can be accompanied by so many different and delicious ingredients. The Belgians make their waffles much thicker, more dense and chewy than other countries, which make this food item the perfect vessel for tasty accompaniments, ranging from sweet to savoury.
Egypt: A popular main dish during in many holidays in this Egypt, including Valentine’s Day, is called Fattah (beef or lamb meat served with rice, bread and vinegar/tomato sauce). Lam is the most common protein in Egyptian dishes, especially when celebrating a special day. Along side this dish of choice, a non-caffeinated drink called rose petal white “coffee" is consumed. This libation made from the juice of a thousand rose petals mixed with hot water and a brown sugar cube is surely the most romantic drink to have on Valentine's.
Italy: Valentine's originated from Italy, and what a country to be the originator of this occasion well known for the consumption of special cuisine and drinks. The Italians aptly refers to Valentine's Day as the celebration of La Festa degli Innamorati (The Day of Lovers). There are many festivals around the country celebrating love and devotion, and best symbol of this is a special treat called Baci Perugina. These little chocolate kisses with cherries encapsulates love notes and are exchanged by lovebirds throughout the country. Other dishes that are popular during Valentine's include the Spaghetti Alla Carbonara (pasta with egg, hard cheese and pork), Osso Buco (braised beef with vegetables and broth with white wine) and Penne all’Arrabbiata (penne pasta with signature tomato sauce, garlic and red peppers).
No matter where you live and celebrating Valentine’s Day, it is an occasion focuses on love, friendship and kinship alike. It is an opportunity to remind ourselves that love is a foundation of meaningful human relationships. And celebrating with great food, drinks and the spirit of love shouldn't just be on Valentine's Day. We should all find time to share a meal and love for one another any and many days of the year.