A romantic reminder to love yourself and your friends (aka Valentine's Day)
Valentine's Day is...super weird. A time of frigidly cold temps, peak winter bods, when we are all expected to be in love. And expected to express our love. In the 90's that looked exactly like this: Lavish gifts! Poems! Chocolate! A bouquet of roses! That Friends DVD set you were pining after! These days it means a text back with a single heart emoji. #2017
All that to say, the days of waiting for flowers and poems are over. Now we have Rupi Kaur's Milk and Honey and Instagram flower arrangements to zoom in on. What's more, February 14th presents an excellent excuse to get beautifully weird and extravagant with the best ladies in your life. We do not like the term 'Galentine's' as we are not gals, we are fierce women. Womentine sounds like a misspelled tea for menstrual cramps. So let's call this event a Romantic Reminder to Love Yourself and Your Friends!
Here's the idea: you cozy at home, surrounded by women you love and admire. There will be food. There will be wine. There will be powerful vibes.
Dress to impress—yourself! Wear the thing that makes you feel the BEST OF ALL TIME. Not sweat pants (unless you feel the most babe-like in sweats, get it girl!), but the outfit that makes you feel like the foxy minx that you are. For me this is a floor length crushed velvet gown with a thigh-high slit. Meow. For you, maybe it is that onesie you never have an occasion to wear, bought because it was on sale and because it seemed like a thing Beyoncé would approve of. Dress only for yourself and revel in the power that that brings. Look around at the fierce women you love, also dressed to impress only themselves. Take a moment to feel impressed by each other.
Ambiance is everything. No empowered women's romantic seance (can this be the new Galentine's?) is complete without 3-10 candles. Burning sage, palo santo, and an incense of your choosing (I love lavender) is also recommended. There should probably be plants around—and soft things. One of the best parts of parties at home is getting to sit and wrap yourself in blankets and pillows, softer and more reliable than a man, so have a lot of them. Most of the best parties are floor parties. Think adult pillow fort, but with wine.
Speaking of wine, you need some! Being a "Grape Witch", I know a thing or two about this. Obvious choice is bubbles. Unless you are sitting on a pot of gold (I've always wanted to meet a real life leprechaun! Call me?), there is no need for Champagne. Prosecco is great for everyday, but this is not everyday! This is a love celebration and all your favourite humans are here wearing their favourite things. Buy a bottle (3 bottles) of CREMANT. Cremant is sparkling wine made in the same method as Champagne from other areas of France. The bubbles are captured by a second fermentation in the bottle, which makes the texture very elegant and gives it its characteristic autolytic features (this is a very fancy word for saying tastes and smells like baking bread! Impress your friends! "Mmmmmmm autolytic notes"). This is different than prosecco where the bubbles are captured by a second ferment in large vats, which creates less complex flavours (good for mimosas though!). Pair this with your favourite potato chips and dark chocolate. My dear friend combines many chips into a bowl and calls this chip salad! Would recommend. The naturally high acid and refreshing nature of good bubbles are such a good pairing for sweet and savoury—life hack. If you and your friends want food not from a bag, cremant is also lovely with fresh fish or a salad (please add cheese, it's your special day).
After you have bubbled your bubbles, and chipped your chips, it is time to honour Saint Valentine himself with something Italian. The third century Roman saint was martyred for love; he was arrested, imprisoned and later persecuted for marrying Christian couples when Christianity was illegal. What a saint! Literally! (#sorry)
If the Trump administration has taught us anything so far, it may that love will prevail (we promise! maybe?!). Celebrate love with a wine from the Italian south where Valentine was born. Try something from Puglia (a slinky Nero D'Avola!) Umbria (big and bold!) or Sicily - home of great pizza and some of the most incredible wines made on volcanic soils. Mount Etna is everything a love affair should be: soft, brooding, powerful and lingering. Seek it out! Pair this Italian beauty with the Italian classic Life is Beautiful and a heap of tissues for your happy tears. Life IS beautiful.
As far as food goes you are better than a cold sausage and stale crackers!
Braise something extravagant (but cheap!) like lamb shoulder or beef cheeks with a bottle of wine and some stock and let it cook super slow all day. Boil some fancy dried pasta and put it all on a big plate and your friends will think you are an incredible talented goddess! Which you are! Add parsley and lots of parm because you are fancy. Repeat every month because you deserve it.
Nicole Campbell has a WSET diploma, runs La Petite, a boutique wine agency from Lifford, as well as a witchy wine party the first Monday of every month at Superpoint in Toronto. She is usually wearing cool pants and screaming about something she loves; she tells us it's charming! Follow her on Instagram at @grapewitches or on her website grapewitches.com.