Whether we like it or not, Valentine’s Day is around the corner.
During this time of commercially created love, when the weather is minus 15 or even colder, I often find myself thinking about how to be romantic without being cheesy. I will typically spend a lot of time reading every card available for sale to find the one that has the perfect blend of romance and comedy. I’ll write a cute note that ties in our inside jokes and hope he laughs at all of my rom-com efforts. Paired with this I’ll pull together a tasty meal, play some Frank Sinatra and turn on the fireplace channel. Although I’m not a hard-core romantic, a little romance never hurt anyone or any relationship.
Being romantic with your partner or getting away with your bestie to celebrate your Galentine’s Day friendship is a great way to spend quality time together and bring you back to the fundamentals of life, friendship, love with great food and wine as a key narrative. And even though Valentine’s day is technically on February 14th, take this time to plan a getaway together that you take later on in the year rather than doing the most cliché of actions with chocolate and roses (although a bottle of wine never hurt anyone either!). A simple ‘I OWE YOU’ written in a card to be used at a later date for a romantic getaway may be the perfect way for to say I love you, not only does it last longer than one night, but you look uber thoughtful to plan a vacation for a later date.
Over the years I’ve been able to step foot into some great places across Canada that make for fantastic date night spots if you’re in and around that part of time, or if you’re up for it, plan a surprise getaway for you and a loved one.
Nova Scotia – If crisp white wines, waterside sunsets and delicately tasting seafood are on your top list of culinary delights then heading to the east coast for a wine and food adventure should be right up your ally. Whether you take a drive or, be sure to visit Luckett Vineyards to grab lunch at the Crush Pad Bistro and take a photo while calling someone from an old British phone booth that is located in the middle of the vineyard. Looking for a romantic dinner spot? Head to da Maurizio for a delectable meal. I’m hoping to get out to east coast wine country this summer to do just that, and don’t tell my date, but I’m hoping he comes with me too! To learn more about Nova Scotia wines click here.
Quebec – Walking down cobblestone streets, wandering through art galleries and eating cheese fondue while sipping chardonnay is what love is all about – and that’s what Old Quebec City offers. Stay at the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac and get a historic hotel tour of their lavish property – perfect to inspire any time period wedding and dine at Le Champlain and be sure to head to Cold Room in Montreal, a speakeasy-type cocktail bar that you won’t forget with bartenders dressed to impress. Looking for the perfect spot for wine and fromage? Try ONoir if you’re staying in Montreal and visit Soif Bar à vin if you’re in Gatineau run by a dear friend and wine colleague of mine, Véronique Rivest.
Ontario – Taking a romantic trip over-night to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Prince Edward County or Lake Erie North Shore and you’ll be inspired by the talented chefs, sommeliers, winemakers, and retail staff who live their passion every day. Love glamping? Stay at Long Point Eco-Adventures, take a zip-line and then taste the wines at Burning Kiln Winery right across the street. There are also some beautiful distilleries like Wolf Head, and breweries as well as boutique hotels popping up all over your driving route to Windsor, stay at The Grove Hotel and Brew House if you’re looking for a boutique hotel along the way. In Niagara-On-The-Lake enjoy a burger at Backhouse, a delicious lunch at Peller Estates or dine at Kitchen76 Two Sisters Vineyards. Spend a night or two at Pillar and Post (my favourite hotel in Niagara) and relax in their outdoor spring. Head down to the bench area and enjoy a beer tasting at Bench Brewing or stop and have a culinary adventure dinner at Pearl Morrisette or Vineland Estates Winery while tasting your way through an impressive line-up of exquisitely crafted wines. Don’t forget if you’re in Ottawa to skate along the river and enjoying the views of our nation’s capital.
Winnipeg – The Forks is Winnipeg’s number one tourist destination and receives more travelers than Banff. An excellent spot for a whole day’s worth of activities and open all year round for your adventure pleasure. The Forks is Winnipeg’s most diverse culinary destination, offering a range of exciting dining options for any palate. Enjoy a wonderful wine or beer tasting inspired by the taste buds of Sommelier Véronique Rivest at The Common craft beer and wine kiosk, explore the majestic Canadian Museum of Human Rights (the first national museum outside of Ottawa), and walk through The Forks Market and you can also enjoy the artistically inspired warming huts all winter long. It’s the perfect spot for a little history, a gourmet experience, and an authentic Canadian cultural experience.
is Winnipeg’s most diverse culinary destination, offering a range of exciting dining options for any palate. Enjoy a wonderful wine or beer tasting inspired by the taste buds of Sommelier Véronique Rivest at The Common craft beer and wine kiosk, explore the majestic Canadian Museum of Human Rights (the first national museum outside of Ottawa), and walk through the Forks Market and you can also enjoy the artistically inspired warming huts all winter long. It’s the perfect spot for a little history, a gourmet experience, and an authentic Canadian cultural experience.
Alberta – There’s no doubt that Banff and Lake Louise are stunning places to find peace and joy. Stay at the Fairmont Lake Louise and enjoy the serenity of the mountains on a hiking adventure and dwell in the turquoise waters and the ski hills in winter and canoes and hiking. It’s the perfect romantic getaway with picture perfect shots for Instagram. Add to your to-do list “dining on a mountain-top” at Sky Bistro at the Banff Gondola. The Canadian Rockies should be on your list of romantic spots for you and your love and stay at the Fairmont for great views of Lake Louise.
British Columbia – Driving through vineyards is the ultimate romantic getaway and who doesn’t love a great glass (or bottle) of finely crafted fermented grape juice along rolling and gorgeous hillside vineyards. With incredible restaurants, gourmet experiences, luxurious wineries, boutique hotels and B&B’s (like Therapy Vineyards & Inn), spending a week in the BC Wine Country will be a trip you’ll never forget. Visit wineries like Burrowing Owl, Mission Hill and don’t forget to dine at The Old Vines Restaurant at Quails’ Gate Estate Winery. With many different ways to experience this side of the country, you won’t regret or forget anywhere or anyplace you decide to go. Visit the various smaller wine regions popping up and dive into the gorgeous wines of this stunning region. For more about Wines of BC visit here.