Did you know?

Valentine’s Day — Hearts, Flowers and Oversized Showers

By Paul Viau | Feb 08, 2017
Photo by: Donated FRENCH BROAD CHOCOLATES 'APHRODISIAC COLLECTION' — Take two, and call in sick for work in the morning. Bon appétit.

A few years ago, the subject of my early February ‘Did you know?’ column was my Valentine’s Day gift to my dear wife, Carol — which admittedly, was an unusual one — a brand, new toilet.

Over the past few years, we have made a concerted effort to make our gifts to one-another practical — either food items or beverages that we can consume, or household items we need.

At the time, the toilet in our master bath had a seat height about nine inches off the floor. The fact is — we are getting too old to do deep squats and I wanted Carol to be ‘sitting pretty.’

For weeks after the column ran in The Guide, we would run into friends and acquaintances at stores and restaurants, and they would jokingly ask, “How’s your new toilet?”

The looks on other peoples’ faces was priceless.

Fast forward to this Valentine’s Day, when we will be sitting down with a designer to review plans for a much-needed master bedroom and bath remodel, which will include (among other things) a larger shower — complete with seating, mini-bar, aromatherapy lounge and surround-sound system.

OK, maybe not quite that completely tricked-out, but certainly a larger, more luxurious place for a ‘lost in the sixties’ couple like us to show off our ‘shower power.’

In preparation for this remodel, we have been watching the HGTV channel almost 24/7.

We have viewed countless hours of Flip or Flop, Love it or List it and our favorite show, Fixer-Upper.

If you have watched any of those shows, you know the remarkable transformations that take place, but they all start with ‘Demo Day.’ That’s when the contractor team rolls up their sleeves, puts on gloves and hardhats and with crowbars and sledgehammers in hand, tears out cabinets, walls and anything else that happens to be in their way.

On HGTV, the homeowners usually join in the fun and put some ‘sweat equity’ into the remodel.

I don’t think I want to be home that day — or even in the vicinity. I have already been to Urgent Care once this year, and it’s only February. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We won’t be starting our remodel until April, which brings me back to the subject of Valentine’s Day. So many decisions to make. Dine in or out? Meat or fish? French Broad Chocolates or massage? Champagne or craft beer?

Starting with the venue for Valentine’s Day, there are so many nice restaurants to choose from in our area, but since Carol and I are empty nesters, we prefer dining in, which works for me because I like to cook.

In the past, we have turned to Kanini’s in Waynesville, which prepares a wonderful, home-cooked, carry-out Valentine’s Day dinner. All you have to do is heat and eat. Sentelle’s Seafood Market in Clyde doesn’t offer prepared meals, but does have the area’s best selection of high-end seafood delicacies — from live Maine lobster to jumbo-liscious shrimp and sushi-grade tuna.

And in bears repeating — Sentelle’s can now complete your meal with great, local craft beer.

As for the Viau’s, as chef-in-chief, I think I’m going to say, ‘Hello Fresh.’ We have enjoyed cooking with their uber-fresh ingredients for the past few weeks, and have discovered new foods, new recipes and different ways of cooking. It’s made dinner fun again.

If you would like to try Hello Fresh, e-mail me at paul.viau@icloud.com for more information.

Finally, I have one more recommendation for a sweet Valentine’s Day.

French Broad Chocolates in Asheville, has prepared an assortment of truffles called, The Aphrodisiac Collection. You can get this box of ‘luscious L’amor’ at the French Broad Chocolate factory on Buxton Ave., or the French Broad Chocolate Lounge in Pack Square.

You also might like to try French Broad’s Beer-a-Misu, prepared with artisanal chocolate and Asheville Brewing Company’s Ninja Porter. It’s served in a small, refillable mason jars, and so delicious, I think they should sell them in six-packs.

BTW, the French Broad Chocolate Company is celebrating 10 years of ‘bean to bar’ chocolate making this year, so look for even more ways of saying, “I love you,” with chocolate in the 2017.