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Food for Thought – Valentine’s Day Destinations

by Linda Viertel

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Valentine’s Day is a holiday about romance, so why not salute the most romantic of the many tales explaining its origin? Legend has it that the original St. Valentine was executed for his role in helping Christians escape from the harsh reality of Roman prisons in the year 275 A.D. Before he was led away, however, he penned a last letter to the young woman he had fallen in love with, who happened to be his jailor’s daughter. He signed it with the last words he ever wrote: “From your Valentine.”

Of course, there are many other stories about other St. Valentines, just as there are a multitude of ways to celebrate the day with a lover, a parent, or a child. Love comes in all varieties, after all, and the river towns offer countless options for an intimate or celebratory meal.

Valentine’s Day at Piccola Trattoria will serve its traditional Italian à la carte menu. Everybody will be served a glass of champagne or prosecco at the end of dinner. (Reservations: 4:30 pm – 6pm – 7:30pm – 9pm) Sam’s will be featuring half-price on their most popular wines, lively music, and complimentary desserts.

Desserts say, “I love you,” and you can enjoy a care-free, special Valentine’s Day treat prepared by Randell Dodge at her Red Barn Bakery. Order her cheesecake, or pick up her signature heart-shaped macaroons, organic chocolate-covered strawberries, gluten-free organic raspberry brownies or red velvet cupcakes.

And, now that winter has finally arrived, Brrzaar is offering a Hot Chocolate Bar Sampling Menu. Choose from 12 different uniquely prepared options including: peppermint, sea salt caramel, white chocolate lavender, peanut butter, Aztec, cookie dough and orange, all prepared with organic milk or cream and a variety of flavorings and toppings. Several are vegan or gluten-free. Why not try them all throughout February?

Valentines Day can also be happily spent at home, of course, in which case it might be most appropriate to make a little something special. Here’s a recipe that you can make in advance for a chocolate bark that breaks into myriad pieces and will last long enough (if you don’t eat it all at once) to have a little each day as you allow the celebration of love and family to stretch out all month long. But on Valentine’s Day itself, you might want to serve it with a glass of champagne or other sparkling wine such as proseco or cava – it will make the occasion memorably special.

If You Go

Piccolo Trattoria
41 Cedar St, Dobbs Ferry
(914) 674-8427
www.piccolany.com
Sam’s
128 Main St, Dobbs Ferry
(914) 693-9724
www.samsofdobbsferry.com
Red Barn Bakery
4 S. Astor St, Irvington
(914) 231-7779
redbarn-bakery.com
Brrzaar
7 N. Astor St, Irvington
(914) 274-8118
brrzaar.com, Facebook, Instagram, tumblr

HEATH BAR “CRACKERS”

(a much-requested recipe courtesy of Tarrytown resident Pat Jones)

½ pound butter (two sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
1 sleeve soda crackers (saltines) – enough to cover a 9 by 13 jelly roll or cake pan
12 oz. mini-chocolate bits
2 cups chopped pecans, toasted

Butter pan well and place crackers to cover entire pan. Cook butter and sugar until sugar melts, stirring until thoroughly blended. Pour sugar mixture carefully over crackers and smooth over all. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate bits over hot crackers and spread evenly when melted. Sprinkle chopped nuts over all and press gently.
Refrigerate overnight or until thoroughly hardened. (May be placed in freezer) Cut or break into pieces when cold.

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