Expecting oysters, foie gras, and caviar to carry you to Valentine's Day ecstasy is like waiting for Santa to come down the chimney on Christmas Eve. Worse: If you're not used to eating these rich, luxe comestibles, you may find them working their way through your gastrointestinal tract faster than fat Santa free-falling down that chute. Sorry, but the truth isn't always pretty.
On the other hand, that's not to say that you can't have a romantic dinner. Dim the lights. Put on music. Cook a light, satisfying meal that finishes with a decadent dessert. Then cap things off with fragrant, stimulating sambuca liqueur, with its' its full, round, intoxicating star anise flavor. There are lots of distinctive brands on the market, but bang-for-the-buck I like Sambuca Averna -- especially their Liquirizia flavor, which adds a zesty licorice kick to the star anise. Averna likewise makes a basic sambuca, as well as one laced with citrus. The bottles retail for $28.99.
Serve sambuca neat or on the rocks -- adding ice spins the transparent spirit into pearly opalescence, and as it does so you can quote this line from Shakespeare:
"Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy."
I can't emphasize enough how much more effective this will be than a dozen Malpeques.
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