In the mood for love
If you're planning to celebrate Valentine's Day with your loved one at home, here are suggestions from Nextdaygourmet.com for making a romantic meal:
Set the table by a fireplace or a window with a view.
Use candles and fresh edible flowers to decorate the table. If you really want to splurge, buy a mold to create a tabletop ice sculpture for $56.
Set the chairs side by side to give you the chance to get close with your valentine.
Keep the food light; stick to tender, lean meats and avoid heavy pastas.
Use large wineglasses or champagne flutes and shiny silverware to create an elegant atmosphere.
You can order flowers, flutes and decorations until noon Feb. 13 for Valentine's Day delivery. Go to www.nextdaygourmet.com.
Sweet hearts devoted to literacy
Every year the New England Confectionery Co. writes new messages on its famous Sweethearts Conversation Hearts. This year, the company pays homage to literacy with 10 sayings that encourage reading and learning.
Among the new messages on the candied hearts are "Let's Read," "Whiz Kid," "Book Club," "Teach Me" and "Write Me." About 100 sayings will be on the candies this year, including original messages "Be Mine," "Kiss Me" and "Sweet Talk."
The candies sell for 50 cents for a 1-ounce box and $1.99 for a 12-ounce bag.
Good news for chocolate lovers
Don't feel guilty about indulging in that box of chocolates your valentine gives you.
According to the American Chemical Society, chocolate in moderation may be good for you. Research presented at a recent society meeting found that chocolate contains polyphenols, chemical compounds that have been shown to prevent bad cholesterol from oxidizing into a form that damages arteries.
One researcher also found that chocolate raises the amount of good cholesterol in the blood.
Other good news is that cocoa contains antioxidants that are commonly believed to fight cancer. The darker the chocolate, the more antioxidants the candy contains.
For more information about chocolate, visit the group's Web site at chemistry.org.
Basket full of hugs, kisses
You can give your valentine sweet hugs and kisses from 1-800-Flowers.com. The dozen iced shortbread cookies are shaped like X's and O's and come in a keepsake wicker basket tied up with a bow. They cost $44.99 and are among a wide selection of valentine gifts available for same-day or next-day delivery at 800-flowers.
More than 40 area restaurants and caterers will create chocolate delicacies at the 12th Annual Chocolate Affair from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow at the North Club Level Lounge at Ravens Stadium. Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door, with proceeds to benefit Poverty Solutions. Call 410-366-0600.
Learn to make classic European chicken dishes 7 p.m. Friday at A Cook's Table, 717 Light St. $45. At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, chef Glenn May shows how to make crepes. $45. For information or registration, call 410-539-8600.
Savor red wines and chocolates at Berrywine Plantations-Linganore Winecellars 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The winery is at 13601 Glissans Mill Road, Mount Airy. Call 800-514-8735 for information.
Taste wines from Italy 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Wine Source, 3601 Elm Ave., Hampden. $25 and reservations are required. Call 410-467-7777.