Maybe it's because it's a Thursday, or because there's still a residue of disappointment over that football game last weekend, or maybe it's because Valentine's Day comes just two days after Mardi Gras. But there just doesn't seem to be a lot of Valentine's Day events in town this week.
We prefer to think it's because Healdsburg couples celebrate their love year-round. After all, we just selected Earl and Myrna Fincher as your Cutest Couple this year, and they've been married 55 years.
Which is not to say the romantic holiday is being entirely ignored. Far from it: two wine and chocolate events last weekend, at Amphora and Rodney Strong, managed to combine the endorphin-boosting effects of chocolate with the inhibition-loosening effects of alcohol. Now that's romantic.
The words "romantic" and "dinner" go together quite well on the whole. A dated Reader's Choice poll came up with a list of recommendations, including Cyrus, which is now gone. But a short list today would include Bistro Ralph, Campo Fina, Healdsburg Charcuterie, Baci and Zin in town, and Madrona Manor and Diavola out of it. They all have focused menus, smaller rooms, local flavor and of course wine, that elixir of love. Good luck at getting a reservation for Thursday this late in the game, but you can try.
Taking it a step further, Relish Culilnary Adventures is holding a Valentine's Day Cooking Couples class on Thursday, Feb. 14, chefs (and cute couple) Ciara Meaney and Christopher Greenwald return to lead a creative class of preparation and indulgence. Of course aphrodisiacs are part of the fun: delicious oysters, Liberty duck, chocolate mousse, and a special amuse bouche called " goose delicacy." Each course will be paired with a lovely local wine. Still a couple (sic) spaces left, only $120 each.
Relish keeps up the vibe on Saturday with an Aphrodisiac Dinner at Bella Wine Caves (think candlelight), with Mark Stark leading a demonstration and feast of the usual suspects: oysters, mushroom, pomegranates, pumpkinseed on your beet greens and of course a chocolate something. This one starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, still two places left at "only" $145. No word if Terri Stark will be there - the two were featured in last weekend's Press Democrat feature on romantic area couples. Aww…
If you just love classical music, Wednesday night is a good prelude with 21-year old Lawrence Holmefjord-Sarabi in concert at the Raven Performing Arts Theater, performing selections of Grieg, Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Stravinsky and Balakirev. The internationally recognized pianist kicks off his 2013 world tour with a hometown recital: his parents are Lisbeth Holmefjord and Shari Sharabi of Baci Café and Wine Bar. We would be remiss not to note that Baci means kiss in Italian.
If blues is more your thing, you are in luck: Geyserville's Charlie Musselwhite (even the name sounds aphrodisiac) returns to the Raven Theater this year for a Feb. 14 concert, his first since he and his band took over the Healdsburg Plaza and most of downtown in August, 2011. Since then he's toured with Cyndi Lauper, the Blind Boys of Alabama and currently Ben Harper, with whom he released the album "Get Up!" just last month. The Raven show is presented by and benefits Healdsburg Sunrise Rotary, tickets are a cozy $50.
By the way, Charlie and his wife Henrietta were also among the PD's romantic couples. Maybe there's something in the air around here, or the wine, or the chocolate. Or maybe, in the words of the late Reg Presley of 60s hitmakers The Troggs, "Love is All Around."
What about you two? What are your plans for Valentine's Day? Share your secret with Healdsburg Patch!