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chocolate mousse with salted caramel and crackle crystals. If you are really pushing the boat out on a romantic tête-à-tête,

the rural splendour of Lucknam Park and its 500 acres of country estate is hard to beat. The hotel is offering a range of Valentine’s packages and it also holds a day-long cookery class on 4 February. For £175 per person, you will be taught how to make your own foodie gifts for the big day. A similar level of luxury and pampering can be expected at the

Michelin-starred Bath Priory, where head chef Sam Moody has created two different Valentine’s menus for 14 and 15 February (£100pp). Sumptuous dishes include line-caught Cornish Pollock with mussels and avruga caviar sauce, finishing perhaps with a bitter chocolate fondant with passion fruit and Szechuan pepper. Last year’s Valentine’s Day supper was eventful at The King William in Tunley as one couple got engaged over dinner at the pub. Owner Tom Watson says: “All that could be heard in the kitchen was a lot of screaming, followed by crying, but luckily the lady in question did say ‘yes’.” It’s only the second Valentine’s Day at the family-run pub but

Tom says there has been lots of interest in this year’s menu, which costs a very reasonable £19.95 per person for three courses. “Valentine’s is a bit of a

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funny one for us after the chaos of Christmas,” he explains, “but it’s nice and laidback – and it keeps my wife happy, as she gets to decorate the pub again!” Louise Hedges of The Biddestone Arms recalls a similarly romantic tale at a previous Valentine’s evening in the village pub near Chippenham. “We had a young couple

in with some friends one Valentine’s night, and the guy wanted to propose to his girlfriend. He came to the bar to ask if I had any flowers to give her. It was a bit of a random request, as we’re not a florist, but I did have a lovely bouquet in the cellar that I had bought for a friend’s birthday. I sold them to him and he proposed to her next to the roaring fire. She seemed a little stunned, but thankfully she said yes!” The Biddestone Arms menu (£30pp) this year includes a sharing chocolate fondue for those diners who want to get up-close-and- personal at the dessert course. There is a classical touch to this year’s menu at The Kilted Chef

in Bath’s Kingsmead Square, where chef Dougie Bonar’s six-course menu (£55pp) takes in such V-Day delights as poached asparagus with lobster and Champagne sabayon and a gooey chocolate fondant heart with honeycomb and Grand Marnier sauce Anglaise. If you have children and can’t find a babysitter on the night of

Feb 14, a romantic lunch might be the better option and Allium Brasserie has all bases covered with its Valentine’s menu, which is available at lunch and dinner. At £50 per person, it includes a Valentine’s cocktail or glass of Champagne. Of course, 14 February can also be one of the most cringeworthy nights of the year – especially if you are single, and suddenly find it’s virtually impossible to get a table in a restaurant if you are on your lonesome. With that in mind, there have been a number of special anti-Valentine’s parties for singletons cropping up in recent times, and this year sees the return of the Bishopston Supper Club Singles’ Supper. Organiser Danielle Coombs stresses that it’s not a matchmaking

dinner, just an opportunity to have dinner with like-minded people away from the hordes of couples occupying most restaurants. 53

Where will you take your other half? Lucknam Park (Top), The Kilted Chef (right) or Bath Priory (bottom) perhaps?

“It’s a foodie singles’ sanctuary, if you like, and I won’t be attempting to fix anyone up with other guests,” says Danielle, who has previously worked at Hotel du Vin, Zazu’s Kitchen and Tart. Run from her Bristol home, this is a no-couples-allowed dinner (although you can bring a friend), offering an alluring menu with an attractive price tag of £25 per person. “Last year was my first singles’ supper and it was very successful;

everyone seemed to get on well and have a great time. All the guests sit together like at a dinner party, so there’s a chance to chat to everyone. Even though it’s not specifically meant to be a matchmaking event, two single guests started dating after meeting at last year’s supper.” And for those romantics who want to celebrate the day with

a twist, there’s always the ‘hush, hush’ Bristol Prohibition St Valentine’s Day Massacre (£25pp) at sexy nocturnal hangout The Milk Thistle. As well as decadent cocktails and canapés, this glamorous party, based on the grisly 1926 mob murder in Prohibition-era Chicago, promises cocktail masterclasses, live music, cabaret and burlesque performers. Different strokes for different folks, and all that…

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