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Valentine’s Day Special Q&A

  • By Walwick Hall
  • February 05, 2021
  • Uncategorised

Valentine’s Day is going to be a bit different this year. Instead of a Spa weekend away, a luxurious overnight stay in our Hotel, or the chance to sit down and enjoy a decadent meal in The Dining Room, this 14th of February will see us spending the day at home.

While it’ll be a little unusual, we’d like to make sure you can still make it as special as possible. So, to help you create a magical Valentine’s Day experience at home, we’re catching up with our owner, Rachel, and our French Pastry Chef, Laurèns, for some much-needed inspiration. From what to do on the day itself to looking back at Valentine’s Day memories at Walwick Hall from a different time, they’ll help put a smile on your face and inspire you to celebrate Sunday the 14th in style.

Firstly, how have you been since Walwick Hall and Chesters Stables’ closure – what have you both been up to to keep yourselves busy?

Laurèns: I have been really well, this closure did give me the opportunity to go back home to France before Christmas so it was great to see my family as well as my beautiful nieces who have just turned 1 years old – I also got to catch up with my friends too. I then obviously had to quarantine when I came back into the UK so it has been really quiet since!

Rachel: I wish mine had been quiet! I have 4 children at home that require homeschooling and constant feeding so that has kept me extremely busy! It was strange not seeing the hotel busy for Christmas and seeing all the decorations go up, and I miss the team a lot. But we still talk and communicate which it’s lovely.

With the 14th of February just around the corner, can you talk us through how a typical Valentine’s Day in the past has looked like for you?

Laurèns: I have never celebrated a Valentine’s Day, my parents are also from the hospitality trade and own their own restaurant, so I’ve always worked this day. Therefore, usually, I would be preparing the Valentine’s Afternoon Tea and working on Walwick Hall’s Valentine’s Tasting Menu.

Rachel: Valentine’s Day has always been focussed around the children at my house, and therefore I always do something involving them. This year I am certainly going to be a bit kinder to myself and not cook them (or me) anything fancy and it will be a takeaway pizza! Let’s face it, that’s a winner with children. But Laurèns has promised us his famous Valentine’s desserts so we are super lucky here! I will still be decorating the house and it’s tradition in our family to give the children gifts for Valentine’s Day. My dad would always get us a single rose and a box of chocolates and I’ve continued this with my children.

What are some of your favourite things that you like to do on this day usually?

Laurèns: If I wasn’t working then I’d love to spoil my girlfriend. Ideally, I would wake her up with breakfast, because most days for us are hectic so a lovely relaxing morning and chilled day would be perfect. We would have a slow walk, a lovely lunch and I would cook. For us, it would be about just being together, so no devices and switching off from everything.

Rachel: Similar to Laurèns, I usually never get a chance to celebrate this day fully. But ideally I would love to wake up with the children and have all those weirdly wonderful kisses they give (after a lie in of course!). Then, I would love to disappear with my Valentine and explore a town and pop into little stores and coffee shops, and just generally be in the moment. Zero cooking involved in the evening, just easy tapas, or a cheeseboard and some great wine or Champagne.

Are there any particular foods you normally like to treat yourself to on the day?

Laurèns: Despite being a chef, I never get a chance to eat properly on this day. However I do love to snack on whatever I can in the Walwick Hall kitchen, and the guys in here always steal from me too! At home this year, I won’t be doing anything too special – it will be me and my cat! But she is pretty awesome.

Rachel: I actually don’t have a sweet tooth but for Valentine’s Day I always love some chocolates. Coffee truffles are my favourites and I love buying nice cheeses to have with some different types of bread. I always enjoy great wines and Champagne too, so these will be a must for the day.

Walwick Hall has hosted many couples on Valentine’s Day in the past, what could guests usually expect from you if they were to visit?

Laurèns: I love preparing a Valentine’s Day Afternoon Tea, specialist Bonbons, desserts and sharing plates for our guests. The whole atmosphere here is wonderful at this time of the year – we love it! I try to use flavours that are in-season and something indulgent which of course includes chocolate.

Rachel: We decorate the hall and the bedrooms; whether that be for couples that are celebrating their first Valentine’s Day or for those celebrating their 50th! Even families…the whole team gets such a buzz out of it. So even if we are away from our loved ones we are loving celebrating it.

Valentine’s Day is going to be different this year; do you have any plans or ideas of your own that might help inspire readers?

Laurèns: The last year has been so hard and many people might not feel much like celebrating at all, but my advice would be to take some time out and enjoy each other – laugh, smile and just remember the great times of the past and what you can share in the future.

Rachel: Yes, I totally agree with Laurèns. And for any parent out there who might be in the similar homeschool rut…just involve the children! Date nights out and meals out are in the future so, for now, create that restaurant in your home; ask them to cook and serve (they will love it!).

Are there any easy recipe ideas or tips you can share to help readers make this Valentine’s Day special?

Laurèns: My special Dark Chocolate Fondant recipe is a wonderful Valentine’s Day dessert idea as it’s super easy for people to follow and is also really indulgent! It’s great too because you can prepare it in advance and spend more time at the table with your partner.

Rachel: Haha I’m going to leave this to Laurèns – this is his domain! I can cook and bake but not to this standard! But I’m more than happy to be the taste tester…

*We’d like to reassure readers that the above image was taken prior to lockdown restrictions.

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