For most of us in the US, exchanging cards, flowers, and chocolates on Valentine's Day is probably typical. Giving the gift of something decadent and delicious to your loved one on Valentine's day seems to be a tradition shared across the world with a wide variety of dishes that range past the chocolates we are familiar with.
Today, we're eager to travel worldwide, culinary style, to share some of the excellent Valentine's Day foods exchanged between partners.
Qiaoguo (Fried Thin Pastry), also known as qiqiao guozi (fruit) or qiaobing (cake) is made using three main ingredients; oil, flour, and sugar. These ingredients are molded into different shapes and decorated with elegant patterns. Occasionally these pastries are strung together on a red cord and can be hung around as decoration or eaten as a wearable snack for young children.
Qiaoguo is part of the Qixi Festival, also known as the Qiqiao Festival, a Chinese festival to celebrate the annual meeting of the cowherd and weaver girl from mythology. The general tale is a love story, and this is celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th Chinese lunar month.
Jajangmyeon or jjajangmyeon is a Korean noodle dish topped with a thick sauce made of chunjang (a black gravy or black bean sauce), diced pork, and vegetables. This is served on Black Day; an unofficial holiday observed on April 14th each year observed by mostly South Korean singles. Black Day did not exist until after Valentine's Day and White Day became popular. As Korean celebrates many love holidays, many decided that single people deserve recognition.
Pollo Pibil is a classic meal hailing from and served in the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. Mexicans celebrate Valentine's day, or ""The Day of Love and Friendship,"" with sweet candies as alternatives to chocolates, but also by celebrating with traditional dishes. The main ingredient in this dish is the Achiote paste, also known as ""Recado Rojo,"" an essential ingredient and base of many Yucatecan dishes.
The Achiote (Annatto) tree grows in tropical and subtropical weather, and the seeds are used as a natural colorant and seasoning. Pollo Pibil is a chicken dish and is not as spicy as some Mexican dishes. The flavors of the Achiote paste combine citruses, oregano, and cumin and are cooked with chicken wrapped in either banana leaves or aluminum foil.
According to legend, Luisa Spagnoli fell in love with Giovanni Buitoni, one of the two founders of the Pergunia chocolate company, and he with her. The only problem with this love story was that Luisa's husband was the other founder!
The story says that Luisa wrapped romantic notes around the chocolates that she sent to Giovanni for his inspection. Inspired by this secret love, she began to make her bite-sized chocolates as delectable as the messages were purported to be. Soon, these ""kisses"" were associated as one of the traditional foods in Italy for Valentine's Day.
Baci Perugina has a smooth, dark-chocolate exterior that enveloped gianduja, a whipped chocolate filling blended with finely chopped hazelnuts and finished with a hazelnut crown.
Kärleksmums, also called mockarutor or snoddas, is one of Sweden's most popular chocolate cakes, and a classic food is given to loved ones on Valentine's Day or Alla hjärtans dag (All Heart's Day.) Kärleksmums is difficult to translate into English, but many have accepted one translation is ""Love Treats."" Kärleksmums look like chocolate brownies but instead are light and fluffy and are finished with a generous topping of dried and shredded coconut.
An alfajor or alaju is a traditional confection found within Argentina, and during Valentine's Day, or Día de los enamorados, you might see these confections served and shaped like a heart as part of a sweet treat for the day. Alfajor is commonly done in Argentina on two-round cookies with different sweet fillings between them on days outside of Valentine's. This delectable treat is generally created from flour, honey, almonds, and several spices such as cinnamon and occasionally topped with dulce de leche or the dulce de leche as a filling between the cookies.
Garnachas, also known as Garnaches, is a traditional dish composed of fried tortillas topped with a variety of ingredients such as refried beans, shredded cabbage, cheese, and other garnishes. Garnaches are especially popular in Belize, a Caribbean country located on the northeastern coast of Central America, bordering Mexico to the north. This popular dish is a perfect starter for a romantic Valentine's day meal. In Belize, Garnachas are created with corn, beans, and cheese as the standard toppings.
Famous for many holidays, Valentine's day included this main dish from Egypt is, called Fattah. Fattah is spice-boiled lamb or beef served over a bed of rice and toasted pita bread, then served with a warm, garlicky tomato sauce. Fattah is served as part of a meal to celebrate any special occasion, holidays, weddings, and gatherings.
Suya is a popular Nigerian street food created from thin strips of seasoned, skewered, and then grilled. The term 'suya' can refer to the preparation technique or the resulting dish itself, and since it's so popular, it's no surprise that it's a well-loved Valentine's day dish. Suya is a flavorful, nutty, meaty, and smokey dish and can easily be made at home with various spices to suit anyone's taste. Some of the herbs included can be peanuts, ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, ground ginger, onion powder, smoked paprika, and white pepper, just for example.
A blini (sometimes spelled as bliny) is a Slavic food traditionally made from wheat or buckwheat flour and served with garnishes savory or sweet. This Russian dish is iconic and can be topped any way you like—though traditionally, unlike North American Pancakes, blini are enjoyed with more savory options such as butter, sour creams like smetana tvorog, or sour creams caviar.
Are you ready to try some of these international Valentine's Day foods? We're ready to help! No matter how you celebrate your love this Valentine's Day, let Wholey's help you share the affection with top-tier seafood and meats delivered right to your door. The ultimate in freshness and convenience, explore world-class flavors without having to leave your home.