Whether you truly feel the love; or feel like it´s a guilt-inducing Hallmark-hyped holiday for retailers; Valentine´s Day is approaching. While not a truly recognized holiday here, until post-Communism capitalist hordes rushed in; many companies and restaurants have jumped on the love bandwagon and are offering ways for you to part with your hard earned money. Or share your true feelings with the love of your life. The holiday is on a Saturday this year; so if you are inclined, make it special one with some of our tips.
Since you could conceivably celebrate all weekend long; why not check out other areas of the Czech Republic? Whisk him or her away for a night or two in a castle. Hrubá Skála Chateau (www.hrubaskala.cz) in Český ráj is a good choice, as is Chateau Mcely, (www.chateaumcely.com) the country´s first 5-star resort outside of Prague. For a truly spoiled getaway, escape to Svatá Kateřina (www.katerinaresort.cz) in Počátky, Vysočina. Their Tibetan bath is a beautiful experience.
Be a romantic and plan a living room picnic. Culinaria (www.culinaria.cz) offers a takeaway menu full of supposed “mood-enhancing” foods. Delectable´s include shrimp bisque with aniseed essence; roasted rack of lamb with red pepper mustard crust and red basil pangrattato and raspberry brownies for dessert. They´ll also be selling some Valentine´s Day packs of their packaged items and bulk goods.
The well-regarded CzecHouse at the Hilton (www.hiltonprague.cz) is offering a special evening complete with harp music and a special surprise for the ladies. The cost is 2950CZK per couple and includes Scottish salmon; king crab ravioli; blood orange and vodka sorbet; chicken breast and Valentine´s chocolate millefeuille.
The romantic Coda Restaurant (www.codarestaurant) inside the Aria Hotel will have a special Valentine´s Day menu. Start with gratinated oysters, move on to mascarpone sorbet. Save room for veal rump and top it off with molten Valhrona chocolate cake with a liquid center. Cost is 65EUR.
At the Radisson SAS (www.radissonsas.com) both the Alcron and La Rotonde restaurants will offer special his and her meals. There will be live music and the lady receives a flower. The La Rotonde offer includes lobster bisque with grilled artichokes to start and Valentine pralines to end. In between, for her, is roasted monk fish on truffle risotto and for him, veal Tournedos Rossini with seared foie gras.
If you are looking to make the night last a bit longer; check out the Movenpick (www.moevenpick.com.) Their Il Giardino restaurant has fabulous views – and you take a cable car to get there. The evening begins at 18:30. Included in the package is your photo taken by a professional photographer, five course dinner, bottle of Moravian wine, rose for the lovely lady, a small sweet surprise for the couple; plus a hotel room for the night, and breakfast the next morning. Price is 2850CZK per couple. The meal includes calamari tagliatelle to start, followed by your choice of either roasted turbot or deer medallions and candied winter apples to finish you off.
The lovely Essensia restaurant, in the equally as lovely Mandarin Oriental hotel (www.mohg.com) will have a special dinner for 1900CZK. The offer includes seafood hors d´oeuvres, beef consommé, fillet of turbot and lobster tail and a chocolate trilogy for dessert. If you are looking to make an everlasting declaration of your love; check out the hotel´s romance package evening: one hour aromatherapy bath with a bottle of sparkling wine; strawberries dipped in chocolate; candlelit, four-course meal with a bottle of wine in their wine cellar; roses and background music for 8200CZK.
Zlatá Praha (www.zlatapraharestaurant.cz) in the Intercontinental has a variety of Valentine´s related activities. First, dinner, of course. Enjoy pikeperch, rabbit and veal plus a wild berries bun for dessert for 2200CZK. They´ll also be offering a post-Valentine´s Day brunch on the 15th from 11:00-15:00 for 990CZK. Plus, like the old saying says; the way to man´s heart is through his stomach; take advantage of their special Valentine´s Day cooking class. You´ll learn how to prepare a 5-course Valentine´s Day dinner. Cost is 5000CZK per person, including wine and soft drinks.
Le Palais (www.palaishotel.cz) in Vinohrady is a quiet, tucked away venue. For their Valentine´s dinner, couples will enjoy tiger prawns; squid stuffed with salmon; strawberry sorbet plus a bottle of Bohemia Sekt.
The Hotel President´s Vltava Restaurant (www.hotelpresident.cz) will be cooking a romantic meal for the whole Valentine week. The menu includes tuna tartar and artichokes; roasted salmon and strawberry panna cotta. Price is 720CZK and is offered February 9-15.
Over at the Hotel Majestic (www.hotel-majestic.cz) a nice dinner for two costs 690CZK and includes king prawns to start; grilled lamb as your main and chocolate hearts for dessert. Other good romantic choices include Kampa Park (www.kampagroup.com), La Provence (www.laprovence.cz) and Allegro (www.fourseasons.com). More budget friendly venues include Mozaika (www.restaurantmozaika.cz), Oliva (www.olivarestaurant.cz) and Angel (www.angelrestaurant.cz).
This is something even the kids will love. All Bohemia Bagel (www.bohemiabagel.cz) stores will be selling pink, raspberry flavored, heart-shaped bagels on February 14. Even nicer – normal 11CZK bagel price.
Flowers are a bit of a requirement. While nearly every corner has a Květiny, go all out with a bouquet from Annie´s Tulip (www.anniestulip.cz) or Power of Flower (www.pof.cz). And that all important chocolate? Pick up some Belgian goodies at the Choco Shop, in front of the Choco Museum (www.choco-story-praha.cz.)
And finally – for those looking for something unbelievably unique, and yet still on the love theme – head to Brno´s Špilberk Castle (www.spilberk.cz) for their exhibit: 100,000 Years of Sex. It promises to be about love, lust and fertility. Hurry though, it ends February 15.