International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Valentine's Day: Recipes and Traditions

Valentine's Day gift of chocolates

Image © iStockphoto

St. Valentine's Day is a time of velvet hearts, chocolate sweets, romantic dinners, lovers and lace. It's not clear who the original Valentine was — there were several — but a saint's day with that name was established on the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar as early 1,500 years ago.

There are indications that Valentine's Day may have originally been adopted in part to replace of the ancient pagan fertility festival of Lupercalia, which fell on February 13 to 15. By the time of Chaucer in the Middle Ages, the Valentine's Day had become associated with romantic love.

The practice of giving paper Valentine's to your sweetheart had already taken hold in England by the middle of the 18th century. When the tradition was exported to the United States, it became a popular, mass-market holiday for selling Valentine's cards, chocolates, gifts and flowers.

Valentine's Day is especially popular in England, France, the United States, Canada and Australia. Romantic dinners are a favorite pastime on Valentine's Day. Choose from this list of lover's favorites to cook up a enchanting meal for your special someone.

Recipes

Valentine's Day Recipes

Try these recipes for Valentine's Day.

Fondue

Full cheese fondue set

(Swiss melted cheese dish)