It might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but actually – if you strip away the commercialisation and sickly-sweet messaging associated with modern-day Valentine’s Day – its 3rd-century origins are rather lovely – and worth remembering.
One possible version is that 14 February pays homage to Saint Valentine, who secretly married young lovers when matrimony was outlawed in Rome in 200AD. Another portrays young Valentine sending a message, from prison, to a damsel he fell in love with, and signing it “from your Valentine”. Enough to entice even the most jaded sceptics, right?
So, whether you’re celebrating a new romance or time-tested love, or simply enjoying the Cape’s divine weather with friends and cherished ones, we’ve rounded up a list of things to do on 14 February. From picnics under the stars to chic innercity dinners and three-course winelands feasts, we’re sharing the love this Valentine’s Day.
A starlit picnic (or four-course dinner) at Boschendal
This illustrious winery is a scenic setting to be sure, with a maze of wonderful gardens and magnificent mountain views. The estate forms the perfect backdrop for any special occasion so why not go all out this Valentine’s Day with either a starlit picnic in the rose garden while being serenaded by acclaimed saxophonist, Don Vino Prins, or a four-course dinner at The Werf Restaurant, where Spanish guitarist Wesley Hlava will set the mood?
Menu While the exact menus are still being confirmed, picnic guests will enjoy bubbly on arrival, a romantic picnic basket, and a special gift. Dinner guests can look forward to a welcome cocktail, a superb four-course dinner and a Valentine’s gift.
When 6.30pm onwards
Cost Picnic for two: R825
Picnic for one: R460
Picnic for children under 10: R150
Four-course dinner: R1 250
The Tree House: R105 (Werf Restaurant guests can book children (4 – 14 years) into The Tree House for the evening)
Please note Prices exclude beverages and gratuity.
Good to know The nights can be chillier than expected, so bring an extra layer for warmth or even a blanket to snuggle under.
Contact Picnic: 021 870 4273, 021 870 4274, firstname.lastname@example.org
Four-course dinner: 021 870 4209, email@example.com
Where to find it Boschendal Estate, Pniel Road, Groot Drakenstein, Franschhoek
A three-course dinner at Harringtons Cocktail Lounge
Celebrate this Valentine’s Day with a trip back in time at the swankiest cocktail lounge in the East City! Songstress Carla Louw will be serenading diners with a string of romantic classics such as “Baby Don’t Cares for Me”, “The Way You Look Tonight” and “Moondance”, while you tuck into a delicious three-course dinner.
Singletons, fear not! Harringtons has you covered with selected half-price tapas all day long as well as happy hour from 4pm to 7pm.
Menu On the cards for the romantic evening is the choice between Whitley Neill Protea and Hibiscus gin served with pink tonic or L’Ormarins brut MCC as a welcome drink. Then, enjoy a starter of either chicken satay, mushroom arancini or Cajun-fried squid, before savouring a main course of either roasted vegetables, a chargrilled ribeye steak, or slow-braised pork belly. End the night on a deliciously sweet note with petit fours for sharing of brownies with a cherry-infused cream, strawberries, and a champagne jello.
When 6pm – 10pm
Contact 021 461 2276, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 61B Harrington Street, Zonnebloem, Cape Town
MCC + sweet treat pairing all month long at Anthonij Rupert Wines
Driving up the tree-lined entrance of Anthonij Rupert Estate, guests are greeted by a classic Cape Dutch mid-nineteenth-century manor house, with perfectly manicured lawns and breathtaking mountain views – the ideal setting for a day of romancing. And this February, you will surely feel the love at this historic estate, with a complimentary rosé tasting all month long.
And, if rosé is not your thing, a bespoke MCC and sweet-treat pairing is also available throughout February.
Menu The L’Ormarins MCC and sweet-treat pairing features a strawberry macaron; citrus and dulce fudge; a raspberry blondie; and a cherry and white chocolate truffle with fresh cherries and raspberries.
Good to know During the month of February, if you purchase five bottles of rosé, you’ll get the sixth one free.
When Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4.30pm
Cost MCC and sweet-treat pairing: R95
Contact 021 874 9041, email@example.com
Where to find it Anthonij Rupert Wyne, R45, Franschhoek
A relaxed Valentine’s Day market at Cape Point Vineyards
This weekly community market is where South Peninsula locals flock every Thursday evening in summer. And, because 14 February happens to fall on a Thursday this year, the weekly market will be Valentine-themed.
The festivities take place in the restaurant and picnic area of Cape Point Vineyards, whose award-winning wines are available at great prices. The views at sunset are breathtaking – especially with a glass of CPV sauvignon blanc to hand making it a wonderful, one-of-a-kind Valentine’s Day experience.
Menu There are so many delicious stalls to choose from. Some of our favourites include The Lamb Man (for melt-in-your-mouth slow-roasted lamb neck), Earth Fire Pizza (deliciously crispy wood-fired pizzas) and the Donut Factory (for vegan donuts).
When 4.30pm – 8.30pm
Contact 021 789 0900, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Cape Point Vineyards, Silvermine Road, Noordhoek (via M3), Western Cape
A feast by Eric Bulpitt at La Motte Wine Estate
Named after South African landscape artist, Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, this elegantly whimsical fine-dining restaurant – with it’s Delft-style porcelain dangling from the rafters – is the perfect setting for a magical night. With chef Eric Bulpitt at the helm, the menu is similarly creative. After your meal, enjoy coffee or a digestif on the deck and soak up the romantic ambience of this historic wine estate.
Menu Guests are treated to a glass of La Motte’s 2015 MCC on arrival followed by an exquisitely prepared meal, including parfait cones, oysters and champagne, beets and goat’s cheese, crayfish and rosé, duck and cherries, with chocolate, Turkish delights and bon bons to end the night.
Good to know A wine-pairing option is available on request.
Cost R695 (excludes beverages and gratuity)
Contact 021 876 8800, email@example.com
Where to find it La Motte Wine Estate, R45, Franschhoek
Vegan Valentine’s Day sushi platter at The Kind Kitchen
Kind to your tastebuds and to the planet, this vegan café and deli has loads going for it: delicious food, lots of parking (in Woodstock!) and positive vibes! So, on the day that celebrates love, why not show some compassion for our planet and its animals by having a vegan Valentine’s Day at The Kind Kitchen’s Be My Bloody Valentine dinner?
Menu Guests can look forward to 18 pieces of delicious vegan sushi (rice, seaweed wrappers avo, cucumber and pickled ginger) as well as a bottle of vegan MCC and a decidedly decadent vegan chocolate fondant. Table for two, please!
When 5.30pm – 6.30pm; 6.45pm – 7.45pm; 8pm – 9pm
Cost R350 per couple
Contact 061 526 1358, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 252 Albert road, The Woodstock Brewery, Woodstock, Cape Town
A six-course dinner (and special extras) at the Cape Grace Hotel
Across from the V&A Waterfront’s shopping precinct, and encircled by a beautifully calm yacht marina, the Cape Grace Hotel offers a heady mix of traditional Cape culture and luxury. Its impressive location and panoramic views – coupled with its welcoming and sumptuous atmosphere – leave a lasting impression. And this Valentine’s Day, this five-star hotel is not only hosting a romantic dinner, there are spa and accommodation specials running throughout February.
Menu Your dinner begins with a prawn lollipop, served with smoked potato Parmesan; beetroot and goat’s cheese salad; and then tuna tartare . A strawberry sorbet with basil and watermelon foam palate cleanser introduces mains of confit duck with potato galette followed by a dry-aged rib-eye with whipped mielie pap. Dessert is a deliciously decadent affair: raspberry parfait with vanilla crème, litchi gel and rose ice-cream. Coffee with sweets ends off the evening.
Good to know In addition to this wonderful dinner, the Spa at the Cape Grace is also offering guests a wonderful special for the month of February. Or, if you’d like to make this an unforgettable Valentine’s month, book a room, and receive a complimentary spa treatment and breakfast.
When 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Cost R1 250
R1 650 (includes wine)
Contact 021 410 7100, email@example.com
Where to find it West Quay Road, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town
Sharing plates at The Village Idiot
It’s cemented itself as one of the city’s most popular watering holes, and this Valentine’s Day, The Village Idiot is hosting a sharing-themed soirée complete with background tunes by local acoustic artist Jak Tomas and an after-dinner DJ. There’s also a R50 special on all pink cocktails, so if you don’t have a date, bring your mates and toasts to yet another glorious Cape Town night.
Menu Choose between fillet medallions, with roasted potatoes and bearnaise sauce, or vegetable melanzane, before sharing a tempting trio of desserts. Revellers can also look forward to two drinks each: a choice between Standard Beer, house wine, Simonsig bubbly or non-alcoholic cocktails.
When 3pm – 10pm
Cost R360 per couple
Contact 021 418 1548, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 32 Loop Street, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town
Live music and complimentary Pongracz at La Parada Waterfront
Reminiscent of a tapas joint on Barcelona’s Las Ramblas, La Parada at the Waterfront is a welcome addition to V&A. The Catalan-style tapas joint, which already has sister branches on Bree Street and Constantia Nek, is a double-volume space in the Dock Road section of the V&A, and is stylishly decked out with hanging plants, tiled archways, postered walls and accents of wood, exposed brick, marble and tropical wallpaper.
And, come 14 February, there’ll be live music, and a complimentary glass of Pongracz to welcome diners.
Menu Because sharing is caring, we recommend the tuna tacos; flash-fried chilli-and-garlic prawns; patatas bravas; broccolini; seared fillet; and duck croquetas.
When 12pm – 11pm
Good to know The complimentary glass of Pongracz applies to all La Parada branches, but is only available while stocks last.
Contact 021 418 3003, email@example.com
Where to find it Alfred Mall, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
A three-course dinner at Leeu Estate in Franschhoek
Situated in the picturesque Franschhoek Valley with breathtaking views of the Dassenberg mountains, Leeu Estates is the last word in sophisticated style. And, on Valentine’s Day, they’ve pulled out all the stops: enjoy the smooth sounds of the Cadillac Duo on piano and violin, while enjoying canapés and sundowners on the outdoor terrace, before enjoying an elegant three-course dinner in The Dining Room.
Menu A starter of poached langoustine served on a Parmesan tuile is followed by a palate cleanser of lime sorbet, and mint-and-gin granitas. Then guests can enjoy pan-seared duck served with a sweet potato fondant, and dessert of Pimm’s jelly, lemongrass sorbet, raspberry consumé and dehydrated raspberries.
When From 7pm onwards
Cost R650 (excludes beverages and gratuity)
Please note Tables need to be reserved by Friday, 8 February 2019.
Contact 021 492 2475, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Leeu Estates, Dassenberg Road, Franschhoek, Western Cape
A romantic open-air cinema experience at The President Hotel
The President’s ever-popular silent open-air movie night is back! And with Valentine’s Day upon us, the hotel is inviting loved ones and friends to a romantic evening surrounded by breathtaking sea views. Guests will be treated to an outdoor screening of Me Before You, with a glass of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne on arrival, as well as popcorn to enjoy during the movie.
Menu For standard tickets, guests can enjoy a charcuterie antipasto board with a selection of locally sourced cheeses, cold meats, and veggies. VIP gourmet picnic baskets include a starter, main course and dessert for two.
When 6pm – 10pm
Cost Standard ticket: R395 per person (includes a seat, headset, welcome drink, popcorn and charcuterie board for two and dessert)
VIP package: R1 500 per couple (includes a gourmet picnic basket, premium seating with blankets and pillows, and a handwritten card and box of chocolates)
Good to know If you book a night’s stay on Valentine’s Day, you’ll also receive a 375ml bottle of MCC on ice, heart-shaped chocolates on your pillows and a room upgrade (subject to availability).
Contact 021 434 8111, email@example.com
Where to find it President Hotel, 4 Alexander Road, Bantry Bay, Cape Town
A romantic dinner or lunchtime picnic at Nederburg
If food is truly the way to one’s heart, then Nederburg’s dinner and picnic feast will have you swooning. The three-course dinner will be served in the Red Table restaurant, situated in the Cape Dutch manor house, and will be accompanied by the sweet symphonies of Bokamosho String Quartet. Picnickers can enjoy a wonderfully relaxed afternoon in the winery’s beautiful gardens under the shade of old trees.
Menu The night kicks off with a glass of Nederburg’s Première Cuvée Brut, followed by an amuse bouche of confit duck in a phyllo parcel with apricot jus. Starters are a choice between a calamari and chorizo salad or a spiced cauliflower panna cotta with green chutney, followed by a red-wine-and-raspberry sorbet to cleanse the palate.
Mains is a mouthwatering choice between a ribeye steak and a sesame-crusted salmon fillet.
The picnic baskets include a freshly prepared selection of artisanal bread, hummus, cheese, fig preserve, thyme-and-lemon-chicken kebabs, springbok samoosas, roasted cajun spiced nuts, a brie-and-mushroom tartlet with caramlised onions, a fresh seasonal salad and, of course, a sweet treat. The basket comes complete with cutlery, crockery, glassware, wooden platter, blanket and an ice bucket.
Please note The Valentine’s Day picnic is available from 12 to 15 February 2019.
When Picnic: 12pm – 4pm
Dinner: 6pm until late
Cost Picnic: R550 per couple
Dinner: R595 (excludes service charge)
Make a Booking
Contact 021 877 5155, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Sonstraal Road, Paarl, Western Cape
A five-course menu by the sea at Shimmy Beach Club
With its enviable sea-scraping location, live music and candlelit tables, you’ll feel like you’re on holiday when you arrive at Shimmy Beach Club this Valentine’s Day. And to complete the mood, you’ll be greeted with a glass of Graham Beck bubbly, after which you get to savour a five-course set menu.
Menu An amuse bouche of salmon and seared-tuna roses with black bean mayo and avocado sets the tone… Guests then have a choice of starters: spiced duck breast, avocado ritz or truffled beetroot carpaccio – before enjoying a palate-cleansing strawberry-and-black-pepper sorbet with balsamic reduction.
The main meal is a choice between sesame-crusted salmon, roasted rack of lamb or wild mushroom tortellini, while dessert is an even harder decision between Lindt dark chocolate fondant, a cheeseboard, white-chocolate-mousse cheesecake and petit fours. Now that’s one delicious feast!
When From 6pm
Contact 021 200 7778, email@example.com
Where to find it South Arm Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
A six-course escape at Purple Rayn Boutique Guest House
The newly opened Purple Rayn Boutique Guest House in Constantia invites guests to enjoy a six-course feast prepared by executive chef Warren Carney (formerly Asoka and Kloof Street House) and his team. From the moment you take your first sip of bubbly among the trees in the tranquil garden, you’ll feel a million miles away.
Menu Guests will be treated to canapés and a glass of bubbly on arrival followed by a choice of oysters; shiitake onigiri (a flavoured Japanese rice ball that’s shaped into triangles and served with nori) or ratatouille with rose, basil and goat’s cheese, before enjoying a palate cleanser. For mains, choose between sushi; a chicken and mushroom ballotine; crayfish linguine; glazed lamb cutlets or vegan pie.
Dessert is a blissful affair of either a hazelnut, salted caramel, ginger and honeycomb concoction; or a cheese platter with melon konfyt and homemade crackers. Linger longer with a rooftop coffee and specially made petit fours.
When 6pm – 9pm
Cost R695 per couple
Contact 021 110 0756, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 9 Bellevue Avenue, Bel Ombre, Constantia
Compiled by Alicia Chamaillé
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