Valentine’s Day and roses go hand in hand. Want to tell someone you love them? Roses.
Want to show someone you missed them? Roses.
Want to get out of the dog house? Roses.
But there’s more to these flowers than a beautiful gesture, composed in an elegant vase. Let me share some secrets with you on how to plan the perfect date night using roses in some surprising and creative ways.
First, you’ll need two bouquets… one red, for your loved one, and one with a rainbow of many colours, just for fun.
With a busier than normal schedule, I searched for the best way to order top quality flowers in the most efficient way possible.
I find it hard to find the time to visit a flower shop, and I never know if the arrangement I choose is the one that will actually get delivered. Would it be dried out and withered by the time it gets there?
These same concerns apply to calling a florist: is the bouquet I’m buying the one that will be delivered? In the past, my mother e-mailed me a picture of the flowers she received on Mother’s Day so we’d know if the florist was reputable.
Well, I can throw out all those concerns like wilted daises with the Nectar Flower app. A friend told me about it: it’s free, and let me tell you, buying flowers was as easy as ordering a pizza.
I scrolled through photos of various bouquets and chose the red roses for my boyfriend, Sean, as well as one with an array of colours for the rest of the evening. The app even let me record a video message, which was unique and personal … I invited Sean to join me for a romantic dinner at my place that evening.
I was sent a photo as soon as the bouquets were arranged, and the flowers were on their way.
When the surprise bouquet arrived for Sean, the Nectar Flowers deliveryman took a picture of him and the roses and sent it to my app immediately. I felt like I was there on the doorstep, part of the experience.
Sean is usually the one sending me the roses, but behind his flushed face, I could tell he loved them.
Now, on to the more interesting part of the evening … what to do with the multi-coloured bouquet! I started the evening off with some Catherine Brut Rose, a beautiful dry sparkling wine from Niagara.
I tossed together a quick salad with olive oil, balsamic, and lemon dressing (with a few rinsed fresh petals in for garnish).
The main course, I followed a great recipe for Quail in a Rose Petal Sauce. But if you’re anything like me and tend to play it safe, just substitute the quail with chicken breast.
This took about half an hour to prep, and the same amount of time to cook. The rose petal sauce flavoured the chicken in a different, delicious and romantic way.
Quail or Chicken in a Rose Petal Sauce
2 cups of water, plus 1 cup
2 tablespoons of butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon of aniseed
12 red or pink roses with the petals removed
1 peeled red cactus fruit or 2 red plums, skinned
12 fresh chestnuts
2 tablespoons of honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless fresh quail or chicken breast
First, bring the water to a boil. In a skillet, melt the butter and cook the garlic and aniseed for 5 minutes. Then puree the rose petals and cactus fruit in a blender and set aside.
As for the chestnuts, cut the letter x on the flat end with a knife and toast in a hot iron cast skillet for 5 minutes. Add the chestnuts when the shells open to the boiling water to cook for 15 minutes. Drain and cool. Peel and add them to the petal mixture and puree once again, slowly adding the other one cup of water.
Add the puree to the skillet after reheating with the garlic butter mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes and then whisk in the honey, salt, and pepper. Push the sauce through a sieve into a clean pan, pressing on the solids to extract extra juices and keep warm.
Preheat a grill pan and season the chicken or quails with olive oil and salt. Grill quail until medium rare, or the chicken until fully cooked through. Plate with the rose petal sauce poured on top.
My favourite part of this Valentine’s date night was the dessert: Rose Petal Cupcakes. This recipe yields 28 so I cut it in half, and still had enough to bring some to parents, family, and friends as a Valentine’s Day treat. I started with creating the homemade Rose Syrup.
½ cup of granulated sugar
½ cup of water
1 cup of fresh roses, rinsed
½ tbsp of lemon juice
Using a recipe from TheKitchn.com, simply bring the water and sugar to a simmer. Add rose petals, bringing to low heat and stir. After about five minutes, remove from heat and let steep for half an hour.
Any extra syrup can be stored in the fridge. The rose syrup was used in the cupcake batter and the icing as well.
For the Rose Petal Cupcakes and icing I used this recipe.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, use a piping bag to ice them. If you don’t have one, a Ziplock sandwich bag will do if you cut a small opening in the corner.
For the beautiful garnish on top, just coat different coloured rose petals with a lightly beaten egg white, dip them in sugar on each side, and lay flat to dry on wax paper.
Once dry, you can lay them flat on top of the cupcakes or cut a small slice on top to stand them up. Pair these treats with Reif Cabernet Icewine, a gorgeous dessert wine with notes of ripe raspberies and strawberries.
Lastly, with any extra coloured roses, treat yourself to a rose petal face mask. Roses contain alpha-hydroxy acids that will tighten the skin and lightly exfoliate.
They have anti inflammatory properties that help to soothe redness and reduce puffiness. They also contain a lot of Vitamin C which we all know is important for the health of our skin.
6 fresh rose petals
1 tsp of yogurt
1 tsp of honey
2 tbsp of rose water
In a small bowl, tear the rose petals into little pieces and press them into the rose water. Mix in the yogurt and honey.
When the mixture becomes smooth, apply to the face for about 10 minutes while relaxing with a glass of wine.
Rinse the mask off using warm water.
Now that the leg work’s been done for you, all that’s left is for you to enjoy the evening!
P.S Save 30% off your Valentine’s Day bouquets to make the perfect date night by using the coupon code “Wine” with the Nectar Flowers app.
Olivia Villalta is a passionate cosmetics expert. She is well travelled and has worked as a global marketing consultant in Paris. She graduated from the University of Ottawa with an Honours Bachelor of International Management and completed an exchange program in France. She is currently part of the Management team at MAC Cosmetics in Ottawa.