The food of love

 Soft lighting, shades of red, silk sheets, anonymous cards – it could only be Valentine’s Day. The romance is glooping from all directions – and what better way to seduce than through a candlelit dinner out in Cayman?

The restaurants of this most gorgeous of sunset-islands are putting on specials left, right and centre to help the passion grow stronger than ever.

The Cracked Conch on West Bay Road is no exception. Assistant manager Nina Nickchen says  that an important part of choosing a restaurant is its location.

“The Cracked Conch has the most romantic oceanside setting that Grand Cayman has to offer. A moonlight evening under the stars awaits, where the sound of the waves and aromas of great food fill the air,” she enthuses.

Chef Gilbert Cavallaro will be offering a fresh oyster special accompanied with a glass of bubbly. Those fizzy bubbles are important; champagne is the classic, cava and, in the case of the Cracked Conch, prosecco

Aphrodizzy

Like the fizzy stuff, there are certain mainstays of Valentine’s Day meals that abound wherever you decide to go. Grand Old House are including the champagne in their five course aphrodisiacal menu – part of their extended Valentine’s Weekend, proving that love indeed can last longer even in these troubled and cynical days.

Someone who is looking forward to the day is Jason Koppinger, executive chef at Westin Casuarina.

The hotel and spa has an extensive menu for lovers to chomp whilst gazing into each others eyes. Koppinger notes that the surroundings play a vital role in setting the mood.

“The intimate dark colours of oak & leather, soft lighting, impeccable cuisine and service at Casa Havana all lend a hand to setting a mood for all romantics,” he says.

As is customary, strawberries form a part of the menu but their usage in savoury dishes will be a surprising and delicious addition as will the blistered tomatoes.

“Truffle oils & white & dark Belgian and Dutch chocolates come together in a tasting for dessert, an aphrodisiac finishing the meal, and of course champagne well known for its affiliation to romance.

“After this meal the only thing I recommend is a stroll through the white sand beach at the Westin back to your room,” smiles the old romantic.

Sparkly

Meanwhile, there are a plethora of options at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. Beachside restaurant 7 has a champagne brunch, whilst at Periwinkle there are two showings of Casablanca in the outdoor theatre; simply-prepared seafood and Mediterranean-leaning eats al fresco are promised.

As you might expect, it’s at Blue by Eric Ripert that all the stops are pulled out. Their Valentine’s Day special partner is Tiffany & Co – if you’re really flush you can order a gift from them when you reserve. It’ll be presented to your better half over dessert – the sparkles in their eyes will be matched by the jewellery. The seafood restaurant gives the choice of a three-course prix-fixe menu or one of two six-course tasting menus.

Intimate, exclusive, pricey – everything love is about. The kids can learn to make pizza and ice-cream whilst you brunch, in the Ambassadors in the Kitchen program open to 4-9 year olds. It will teach them about techniques, safety and ingredients. During the Valentine’s dinner Creatures of the Night is also for 4 to 9 year olds and teaches all about animals that live in the dark.

Paradise

Meanwhile, on Cayman Brac, the Alexander Hotel has raised the bar for upscale accommodation with all rooms featuring complimentary WiFi and iHome units and styled and coloured in the Caribbean manner.

Its restaurant has already gained a great reputation and it’s the first on the sister islands to be a Certified Angus Beef brand partner. They promise that their special V-day menu will offer classic cuisine and plenty of fizz.

The sister islands have a special beauty and tranquillity of their own – oases of relaxation hard-won and oft-missed in the daily rush. Places that remind us of love’s greatest gift: someone special who tells us to just slow down and look around.

Because when people talk about paradise, the picture they have in their minds is of Cayman; there’s nowhere better on earth to share the joy of simply being alive – and to eat well whilst doing so, too.