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THE PERFECT VALENTINE’S DAY DINING EXPERIENCE: ETIQUETTE, ATTENTION TO DETAIL AND FINISHING TOUCHES…

A romantic meal is a classic way to spend Valentine’s Day with your loved one, but knowing your stuff when it comes to dining etiquette and how to make the experience a really special one can really help to make your evening extra special. If you’re treating someone to a first date, first impressions can make all the difference. Likewise, if you’re planning a date with a long-term partner putting real care into the arrangements can rekindle a romance that might ordinarily be taken for granted. Whatever your plans this Valentine’s Day, if you’re eating in or heading out for some quality fine dining (take a look at our list of Studio William Michelin star restaurants for inspiration) we’ve got some top tips to help you make your night wonderful.

DINING OUT

Love the thought of indulging in a little culinary mastery this Valentine’s Day? Hopefully, you’ll have already made your booking (as you can probably imagine, this is one night of the year that requires forward thinking), but if not, do it now to avoid disappointment! Here’s how to bring your dining experience up to the next level…

PRE-ARRANGE PAYMENT

If you have extended the invitation, consider it your responsibility to pay. It’s only polite. But to further ensure that your date is comfortable at all times, you can pre-arrange payment to avoid any awkward feelings. Simply arrive a little early or subtly speak to your server in private and provide your card at the beginning of the meal. This way, there will be no question of who pays what when it is time to get the bill.

FOLLOW THEIR LEAD

Just as you might allow a date to enter a door ahead of you or take a seat first, a nice touch to give them the opportunity to place their order first as well. This way, they can dictate how many courses they would like to enjoy and you can follow suit to match their pace. Try to eat at the same speed as them too, if you can, taking time to pause between each bite to enjoy the delicious food, ambience and conversation.

SILVERWARE SAVVY

If you’ve read any of our blogs on the sensorial experience of dining, you’ll now know that the cutlery you use (and how you use it) can have a huge impact on a meal. Opting for a Michelin star restaurant will leave you in good stead (particularly if they have a Studio William range!), but take time to consider proper handling. Remember, once cutlery is used it should not touch the table again and when eating soup, you should always spoon away from you. Read more about cutlery etiquette here (link to the previous blog)

KEEP THE TABLE CLEAR

It goes wit1hout saying, but when eating with company it is very poor form to keep your phone on the table. This also goes for everything else – wallet, keys etc. Keep the decks clear to enable you both to fully focus on what’s important – each other (and the food!).

DINING IN

Of course, you don’t have to eat out to host a fantastic meal. In fact, dining in can be a pretty exceptional experience too and one which allows you to completely tailor the occasion to your guest’s every whim. Here’s how to get it right…

DRESS UP

You may be in the comfort of you own home, but that’s no reason not to dress to impress! Wearing formal attire (or at least smart casual) is one way to show your date you really care, and you’ll feel good for it too.

SET THE SCENE

Ambience is absolutely key when it comes to creating an enjoyable dining experience and this is more important than ever when romance comes into play too. Take a look at our blogs on the effects of visuals, audio and more for details on how to get it right. (link to previous blogs)

STICK TO FORMAL

Just as with dressing yourself appropriately for the occasion, you should dress the table formally too to really make a meal of your dining experience together. Don’t be intimidated by formal cutlery setting, it’s not hard at all if you know what you’re doing! We’ve laid it all out for you here.

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