1. Headline
  1. Headline
By "Today" Food Editor
updated 2/2/2007 8:40:22 AM ET 2007-02-02T13:40:22

For most of us, Valentine’s Day “food shopping” consists of little more than a quick scan of the heart-shaped boxes of chocolates that has become the almost mandatory accompaniment to a more personal gift.

  1. More from TODAY.com
    1. Joan Lunden: 10 things I wish I knew before I was diagnosed with breast cancer

      Doctors found two tumors in my right breast, both triple negative breast cancer, which means it’s more aggressive and fast...

    2. Derek Jeter dismisses 'most eligible bachelor' title: 'No, no, no'
    3. Jimmy Fallon and Tyler Perry face off in drone race
    4. Why Joan Lunden agreed to pose bald for the cover of People
    5. Duchess Kate pulls out of charity event due to morning sickness

And if your sweetheart is really lucky, a last-minute bunch of flowers.

I have four words for you: Same old, same old.

So, instead of the tried and true — and boring — why not spice things up a bit this year? My suggestion for this Valentine’s season is to create a fabulous Week of Love, starting on Monday, Feb. 7, and leading up to the big day — when you prepare a sensual feast of aphrodisiac foods (which I’ll tell you all about in next week’s column).

Don’t know a crumb about cooking? Let chocolate and flowers (and, OK, cards) do the work!

First, the flowers
Wonder why red roses are thought of as the flower of love? Well, it’s not the rose part that is so important — it’s the fact that they are red.

Studies have shown that as we see red flowers, red cars and even red street signs, the color actually increases our blood flow.

So no matter what flower you like — choose red! In fact, my suggestion is to select a different single flower for each of the seven days. Pick flowers that are sumptuous and rich. (You may need to find a florist with a wide range of exotic blooms.)

Then the cards
Get to the card store early. Most years, the best Valentine’s Day cards sell out early, and since this is sone of the occasions where a card that is late (even by hours) is unacceptable, retailers tend not to overstock.

And buy eight cards — yes, eight. The first seven are for each day leading up to Valentine’s; with the most romantic for the actual day.

Vary the message and design, choose funny ones, sensuous ones and even look for more unusual ones. One category that offers a pleasant surprise is those Valentine’s Day cards that are designed for kids and teen sweethearts!

Finally, the chocolates
To make your seven-day experience complete, present your loved one with a single piece of individually wrapped chocolate each day. Famed for their aphrodisiac qualities, chocolates are a sure way to the heart — and a different selection every day will add to the excitement. I prefer to start off with a heart-shaped dark chocolate leading up to a liqueur-filled, chocolate-covered cherry.

Remember that dark chocolates contain the most antioxidants and polyphenols, the chemicals that give you those warm feelings. It’s the polyphenols which release endorphins, the so-called happy hormones.

And don’t forget…
Timing is everything! And that means, if possible, presenting the seven days of love first thing in the morning. Start off each day with your flower, card and chocolate on a tray brought to the bed or breakfast table. For those who are still wooing, chances are things will have to wait until the evening — but try to make it a regular daily occasion.

Phil Lempert is food editor of the “Today” show. He welcomes questions and comments, which can be sent to phil.lempert@nbc.com or by using the mail box below. For more about the latest trends on the supermarket shelves, visit Phil’s Web site at www.supermarketguru.com.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Joan Lunden: 10 things I wish I knew before I was diagnosed with breast cancer

    From the moment you hear the words ‘You have breast cancer,’ it’s almost like you’re shot out of a cannon. Here are 10 things I wish I knew before I was diagnosed.

    10/1/2014 10:52:45 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T10:52:45
  2. Want to help? A guide to breast cancer charities

    In the United States an estimated 296,000 women and 2,240 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and almost 40,000 women and 410 men will die of the disease. That's one death every 14 minutes, according to the National Breast Cancer Coalition.

    10/1/2014 10:45:11 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T10:45:11
  3. Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
Exclusive
  1. TODAY

    Derek Jeter dismisses 'most eligible bachelor' title: 'No, no, no'

    10/1/2014 11:43:39 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T11:43:39
  1. TODAY

    Al, Jay Leno kick off USO comedy tour in Afghanistan

    10/1/2014 11:00:13 AM +00:00 2014-10-01T11:00:13
  1. Getty Images file

    Duchess Kate pulls out of charity event due to morning sickness

    10/1/2014 1:20:02 PM +00:00 2014-10-01T13:20:02