Children LOVE to love! Celebrating their love on Valentine’s Day is absolutely irresistible! I wanted to make a spectacular celebration for my two little sweethearts that my husband and I would equally enjoy. To keep our Valentine’s Day celebration family focused, I improvised several kid-friendly tactics… lunch (they are usually at their best), a kid oriented menu, lots of whimsy and a hands-on dessert.
The hands-on dessert was inspired by a fantastic meal I shared with friends at the prestigious Alinea. The meal ended with a table-side dessert… two chefs took turns splattering and tossing delicious sauces and molecular gastronomy concoctions onto a rubber mat (that had been laid on our table prior), which resulted in a beautiful work of art that resembled something Pollock would have made. The experience was so exhilarating and tasty, I knew I wanted to recreate it for my family. I decided to make Thomas Keller’s Better Nutter Cookies, but left them unassembled. I served the components with chocolate sauce, mint and berries. Everyone used the ingredients to make a special Valentine’s Day dessert plate. My husband and I decided to use our desserts as mini Valentines, so we made our plates for each-other. It was so much fun to exchange our desserts like you would a Valentine Day card! We are definitely doing it again… it might even become an annual Valentine’s Day tradition! Give it a try, your guests and/or family will love it!
Besides a yummy dessert we all loved, I also wanted an entree both adults and kids would enjoy. We decided on Lobster Macaroni and Cheese. How perfect, right!? Neither of my toddlers seemed interested in eating the lobster, but that meant more for the adults (who appreciated it MUCH more). We decided the best cocktail to pair with an afternoon lobster dish was a sangria. We wanted to keep it light and easy. It was also simple to turn into a mocktail for our toddlers.
To accentuate such an innovative dessert and modern menu, my table needed to be bold and whimsical. I also wanted to incorporate beautiful, romantic touches… this was how the hanging floral heart design developed. I have been wanting to do a table with suspended fresh flowers and knew this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try. I simply hung a wooden dowel from the ceiling and tied thirteen strings onto it that hung to the table. I wrapped individual flowers around the strings with florist wire in the shape of a heart. LOVED the results! I also folded the table napkins into hearts to make each place setting extra loving. The design resulted in a striking and bold tablescape that my family absolutely loved. This was evident when I was tightly hugged (slightly strangled) and kissed (basically head-butted) by my little Valentines! My husband and I couldn’t stop smiling. Not to mention how wonderful it was that we had delicious smelling flowers right at nose level and beautiful sparkly snowflakes falling from the sky outside our window! Just magical! I seriously don’t know how we are ever going to top this Valentine’s Day celebration!
Credit + Components
- tiles black napkins – Unison Home
- black and white striped taper candles – Unison Home
- black candle holders – CB2
- ivory tablecloth – Aitkin Flowers & Gifts
- black striped tablecloth – Aitkin Flowers & Gifts
- flower source – Pistil & Vine + Daffodil’s
- design – Erin Catlin
- floral art – Erin Catlin
- photos – Erin Catlin
Menu + Recipes
- Lobster Macaroni – Serious Eats
- Arugula Avocado and Radish Salad – Food 52
- Better Nutter Cookies + Peanut Butter Buttercream served with Chocolate sauce and fresh fruit – Thomas Keller
- Pomegranate Sangria – Bobbly Flay via Food Network
- Sangria Mocktail – Bobby Flay’s recipe without alcoholic additions