Valentine’s Day at Our Place 2017

Hello! Here’s a post that will appeal to those with a sweet tooth, who get down to the King and Queen Street West part of Toronto.

I’ll begin with a wonderful chocolate shop called Soma Chocolatemaker, located at 443 King Street West, on the south side of King Street West, just west of Spadina. These pictures were taken on Valentine’s Day, while I was there picking up some treats for Nick.

Oh my goodness, their selection of delicious sounding confections is show-stopping. I stuck with the bars and bags that I found of the shelves, being replenished with freshly made stock as I shopped. A sign encouraged me to use a basket in order to avoid melting the chocolate with my hands.

Others went for the option of personalizing a box of filled chocolates and truffles, by grabbing a clipboard with a checklist of what was available, and choosing the specific pieces they wanted to include in their customized order.

Not only are there wonderful things to eat at Soma, they also offer drinking chocolate and have a counter with stools, looking out onto bustling King Street, so you can enjoy a cup and a truffle or two while you relax.

I’ll include a photo of what I got further down, but will say now, that Nick is really enjoying his Valentine chocolate, which makes me very happy I chose to go there.

The second place that played a part in bringing sweetness to our world this week, is our long-time favourite cake shop, Dufflet, located at 778 Queen Street West, on the south side, just west of Bathurst (but you probably already know that, because this wonderful place has been there, like, forever.)

We had Dufflet cakes at our wedding over 17 years ago, which our guests raved about, and have had their baking help to celebrate all kinds of occasions since. And sometimes, even when there is no occasion to celebrate, you might find one of their iconic lime-green boxes in our recycling bin.

Although, I didn’t know that Nick was going to pay them a visit on Valentine’s Day, I wasn’t surprised to see him with one of those boxes when he got home after work on “Valentine’s Eve”. The box of their chocolate covered almonds that I received as a gift were a welcome surprise though. A bit shout out to Dufflet, maker of seriously delicious baked goods and sweets!

I couldn’t help but have a wee peek to see what we were in for …

↑ Anticipation. ↑

↑ Chocolate and Key Lime tarts. ↑

The rest of this post will be about our personal Valentine celebration, mostly told via photos, so if you’d like to see how a long-married couple spends this holiday, stick around. If Valentine’s Day is not your thing, I completely understand, and thank you very much for clicking over and reading about Soma and Dufflet.

As mentioned in my last post, we quite like Valentine’s Day and always do something to commemorate it. Most years this involves a fancier-than-usual dinner, eaten at a table that is cleared of newspapers (him) and sudoku puzzles (me), and actually set beforehand.

I got the cotton heart-print tablecloth and napkins at Winner’s the year after we were married, for next to nothing in the after-the-date sale. I had no idea at the time that we’d end up using it as much as we have — we also pull it out for our anniversary and some birthdays — but at the time, I had visions of a happy household filled with children in our future, where a heart-printed tablecloth would add a fun element of whimsy. While we were not blessed with the children, the tablecloth is still a favourite, reminding me that life may not have turned out how we’d originally hoped, but it’s still pretty darn great.

This year I awoke to find a little arrangement of a gift, a card and the aforementioned chocolate, left on the silver tray I usually use for my coffee. Nick had headed off to work early so it was just me and Eddie. I shook and sniffed the present (soap?) and put it back, had my coffee and a boiled egg, and pulled out my crafting case to make him a card.

↑ I thrifted a bag filled with these awesome sticker sheets last year. Someone had collected them from the German magazine Bild der Frau, and then donated the lot to Value Village. The collection contains sheets from Valentine’s, Easter and Spring, each illustrated by a different artist, and really are so lovely. Those are lucky readers of that magazine, to receive such a freebie in every issue. I’ve already used quite a few of the stickers, but still have loads left. The elf with the heart garland was being saved for Nick’s Valentine. ↑

Then I set out along King Street, heading to Soma. After that, I popped up Spadina to HomeSense, to see if I could find some sort of cooking related gift. I was thrilled to find something I’ve been wanting to get him for ages, a Imperia Ravioli Making gadget, photos of which, and chat about, are further below. Here’s to HomeSense for stocking such a wide array of good things.

I got home, wrapped his present, set the table and took some photos of the decorations.

↑ His to me on the left, and mine to him on the right, using a gift tag I made years ago and a piece of heart-printed curling ribbon I’ve had for who-knows-how-long, which I reuse every year. ↑

↑ The beaded garland is still up from Christmas and the vintage blown-glass ornament is one I got from an estate sale. ↑

↑ The plant-pic, plus others seen below, were something I made a couple of years ago, written about here. ↑

↑ And the felt hearts are something I made last year, written about here. ↑

↑ Here are this year’s makes, the crocheted heart garland, and the wooden wall decoration. ↑

Then I went upstairs to do a bit a blogging and published the post about the crocheted heart garland. By then, Nick had gotten home and had begun to prepare dinner. I joined him in the kitchen where potatoes were being mashed and steak, with onions and mushrooms, cooked. I made this salad dressing.

I also made us each a Caesar cocktail …

↑ plenty for leftovers ↑

Dinner …

Cards and Gifts …

↑ Almond bark from Dufflet and perfume.

↑ There’s a card and gift shop nearby, called Valhalla Cards and Gifts — we call it “Nick’s Shop”, as in “Did you get this at your shop?”. We have a tacit agreement that I will never go there, because that’s where he likes to buy surprises for me.

This is where he found my valentine card and a bottle of “Library of Flowers” perfume, in the Wildflower and Fern scent. It smells lovely and is so beautifully packaged. ↑

My gifts to him …

↑ Treats from Soma. From the left : Dark Chocolate Bar with Seville Orange Peel, Candied Lemon Peel, Milk Chocolate Bar with Wild Cherries, Australian Ginger Tumbled in Dark Chocolate, Dark Almond Clusters with Handmade Toffee, and Dark Coconut Clusters. ↑

↑ I love their hand-drawn labels. ↑

↑ I’d been looking for one of these online for ages — since he got his Imperia Pasta Maker (written about in this post), but they were so expensive to have mailed in, with shipping costs and all. He has been making ravioli quite a bit without one of these, by forming and cutting them by hand, so, while tasting delicious, they looked pretty rustic. With this, he’ll lay a sheet of pasta dough on the tray, add the filling into the divots, lay down a second sheet of pasta dough and then roll with the tiny rolling pin, which will seal them together and cut them at the same time. Can’t wait to try some. Granted, this might be as much a gift for me as it is for him!↑

Thank you kindly for checking out what we’ve been up to. I hope you have a great weekend. It’s a three-day one here, with Family Day being on Monday. The forecast says that the weather is going to be warmer than it should be at this time of year, so that will be nice. We have plans to spend time relaxing with some sweet friends.

xo loulou