Flowers, chocolates, sparkling wine and gifts…February 14 is hailed by lovers all over the world as the most passionate day on the calendar.

Originally named for early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, the day became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer during the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In Parlement of Foules (1382) Chaucer wrote: “For this was Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”

This poem was written to honour the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, who were just 15 when they married. It didn’t seem to matter that birds don’t mate in Europe in February, but love conquers all.

Over the centuries, the popularity of the day has snowballed, proving that no can resist the allure of love and romance.


If you want to spoil your special someone – and of course you do – Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! in Jozi and Cape Town are ready to help you pull out all the stops for an amorous occasion to remember.

Whether it’s a candlelit dinner for two or you go all the way and stay the night, Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! will make sure you both leave with a smile on your face and stars in your eyes.

The three course dinner at Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Melrose Arch starts with a duo – naturally – of Brie and walnut phyllo parcels served with cherry sauce, topped with fennel leaves, or Thai curried mussels on a bed of pasta laced with fresh herbs and lemon juice. Or you could opt for the ultimate aphrodisiac as favoured by the legendary Casanova himself, a trio of oysters served on the rocks with a light lime love dipping sauce.

Main course choices include seared salmon served on a wasabi mash with a lemon cream; and herb crusted rack of lamb served on a potato terrine with parsnip chips and a minted jus.

Valentine dessert can’t be anything but chocolate, and for this occasion, a baked chocolate soufflé with a vanilla seed mascarpone and a rose petal ice cream will make anyone go weak at the knees.

The sumptuous meal costs R450 a couple, and includes some surprise gifts to take home, or up to your room, where you will find your bed turned down in a way which will set the sexy mood, and vouchers for a decadent milkshake for each of you.

At Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Cape Town, dinner begins with an amuse bouche of duck carpaccio in a toasted coconut phyllo basket filled with nutty wasabi and mango salsa.

Once your mouth is happy, the rest of your body is bound to follow suit. A starter of deep fried Camembert is made even more decadent with its topping of cherry syrup and roasted figs – long been thought of as an arousing stimulant. The ancient Greeks held them as sacred and associated them with love and fertility.

After a palate-cleansing sorbet, main courses of tender beef fillet with wild mushroom risotto, pumpkin fritter cake and warm gluwhein jus; or Norwegian salmon set on a roasted sesame crab salad and topped with Lovoka prawn flambé will be served, followed by sultry triple delight of mineola brulee, rosewater cheesecake and warm fudge pudding.

The meal costs R275 a person and includes bottomless bubbly, and fresh oysters topped with warm ginger melon salsa and pink lime pomegranate syrup to whet the appetite upon arrival.

There’ll be more bubbly in your room if you’re spending the night, as well as milkshake vouchers and a 50% discount off a couples massage at the Hilton Spa Boutique at the hotel’s executive suites.

Booking is essential – email to book or call 0214882555 for Cape Town, 011 218 4000 or f& for Melrose Arch.