Whether it is your first Valentine’s Day living gluten-free or your millionth attempt at keeping things GF on our Hallmark Holiday of love you can always find new, safe and sexy ways to have a great gluten-free February 14th.
Here are my favorite romantic (and gluten-free) ideas for the 14th! You will definitely enjoy these whether you are looking to share them with your beau or simply want to eat some yummy desserts Friday night!
French Macarons: There is something about a French macaron that just seems romantic. Maybe it is the extensive spectrum of colors they come in, the eccentric flavors or their delicate texture; whatever the reason they are a great option for Valentine’s day. French macarons are traditionally made with almond flour and thus are gluten-free.
I’ve never made French macaroons but they are on my baking bucket list. Here is a recipe for French macarons (I haven’t tested this recipe myself just yet but here it is in case you are curious how they are made.)
Don’t feel like breaking out the mixing bowl? Search around for a bakery that has macarons! There are many bakeries and restaurants like Olivia Macaron in Georgetown that sell macarons. Wherever you decide to pick up your macarons, check with the bakery to make sure their recipes are GF. Don’t forget to ask about the risk of cross-contamination! Macarons are not only beautiful, they are delicious and come in so many flavors that making a theme for Valentine’s day will be a cinch.
Flourless Chocolate Cake: believe it or not, flourless chocolate cake is actually a pretty classic dessert even outside the gluten-free community! Flourless chocolate cake is very, very rich. This is kind of dish is perfect for sharing because you can’t “chow down” on such a rich dessert; it is more of a nibbling culinary experience. Regardless, it is so delicious I cannot guarantee that you won’t fight over who gets the last bite. Here is the Food Network’s recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cake. Want to make yours special? Add a pinch of cayenne pepper for an extra kick.
Candy: Don’t feel like cooking or questing for bakeries? Go for classic Valentine’s Day candies! When I first went gluten-free I didn’t realize that many of my traditions would no longer be an option for me (eg Italian Christmas Eve!).
Luckily, one of my favorite Valentine’s Day traditions is safely marked gluten-free: Sweethearts by Necco. I don’t know what it is about these cute little candies but for whatever reason, I look forward to them every single year! The texture is chewy yet crunchy, sweet yet a bit sedate and those little messages…so fun!
Many other gluten-free candies make V-day versions of themselves: m&m’s, Nerds, Dove Chocolate and the like!
Gluten-free Valentine’s Day Challenges?
Not surprisingly, there are some uniquely challenging situations that potentially arise on V-day due to being gluten-free.
1. Choices/Planning — if your significant other has opted to take the reins for V-day planning you may feel a bit anxious about whether or not they will get the gluten-free thing right. For some, their better-halves have mastered the art of all things gluten-free. To the Non-GFBFs and Non-GFGFs (non-gluten-free boyfriend/girlfriend…shout out to Erica Dermer!) out there, knowing all things gluten is a pretty sexy quality in a beau.
If your special someone doesn’t fully get the gluten-free thing just yet then explain you’d be more comfortable planning Valentine’s Day. You should have the whole “I’m not sure if you planning Valetnine’s Day is such a good idea” talk sooner rather than later so get a move on!
If you want your special someone to plan the big day then consider offering them a list of guidelines/tips for planning a gluten-free date. Obviously, you don’t want to kill the romance with logistics but the details are important so just be light hearted, patient and funny about it. Have them download “Find Me Gluten Free” on their phones and use that to pick the restaurant.
If he/she wants to cook for you, remind them about cross-contamination (clean the stove, don’t use a shared toaster etc.) and ask them about the ingredients (they can tell you the ingredients without totally spoiling what the dish will be!)
PS this is not a hint for my valentine: I know you got the gf thing on lock
2. Prix Fixe Menus – You may want to go to a hot new restaurant downtown on Valentine’s day but may encounter prix fixe menus at a lot of nicer places. You may not be aware that a restaurant is doing a special menu on V-day so call ahead and check if they have a set menu or if the regular menu is open to customers. A lot of restaurants will make changes to the pre-fixed menu to accommodate a gluten-free customer but you should call ahead to confirm they can make the changes.
3. Dessert – A lot of restaurants will not have a GF option for dessert so maybe plan on having dessert at home using one of the ideas listed above or call ahead and check about gluten-free dessert options!
Happy Valentine’s Day!