February settles in between winter and spring and gives us a little more daylight and the emerging buds of spring flowers, compensation for all of the overzealous January resolutions that we have started to break. She embraces us with the unconditional love of a mother who is proud that we tried our best.

Then, in an instant, she is the vixen who lets out her bun and rips off her glasses and reminds us that the time is now to seduce the ones we love. We’re just passing through and need to get to March, we tell her. We don’t need the chocolate and flowers; we know we’re loved, we insist. Get in the ring and fight for romance, she instructs us, sliding the latest issue of Cosmopolitan across the table. You can be cynical about love eleven months out of the year, she tells us as she applies her lip-gloss. But not in my month, you can’t.

fondue dinner set up
“Wrapping some Champagne Truffles from Rogers Chocolates in some white tissue and leftover Christmas ribbon was my way of pressing the easy button and will serve as our dessert too.” Sources: Fondue Forks: Swissmar, swissmarshop.ca. Knives: Laguiole Ivory Steak Knives, Set of 6; Napkins: Marin Linen ‘Morning Mauve’; Dinner Plates ‘Marin’; Wine Glass: French 10oz Glass; Low Glass: Vance Double Old Fashioned 12oz; all from Crate & Barrel. Glass Vase: Louise Roe, ‘Willy’ Smoke, Provide. Chocolates: Rogers Chocolates, Granville Island

So, we all rally. Love is in the air and barometers have been known to break from the pressure. We order bouquets, we sniff perfumes, we order bottles of bubbly, we commit to the glue gun and make handmade Valentine’s Day cards for thirty-plus elementary school children. In cities across the world, chefs come up with six-course prix fixe menus, dating apps light up, assistants scramble, reservations are snapped up, and dinner is served.

If I dig into my own Dating Archives, there is a wild medley of February-specific dates. My first one, during high school, was with a cute guy named Jeff that I met for lunch at the Red Onion in Kerrisdale. While we ate our hamburgers, he asked me to pass the ketchup and if I knew who the man was sitting out front in the parked Cadillac with the engine running. Yeah, that’s my dad I shrugged, helping myself to some more fries. 

In first year, an older suitor took me to the Keg on Granville Island and ordered a Blueberry Tea with a warmed brandy and asked if his steak could be prepared sous vide, which at that time was the kind of sophistication I wasn’t quite ready for. The gesture of tickling my nose with a single rose across the table also didn’t land as planned, but I’m sure he tried this all with another girl and had great success. 

vegetables for fondue
“We have hosted large crowds with fondue or just for our family of four. I always have fondue fuel kicking around as this is the simplest elegant meal to put together at the last second, whether you use a blend from a local fromagerie or a pre-pouched version from your local grocery store. Start with a baguette and build your dipping selections from there and serve on a platter sized to easily pass around if needed.” Sources: 5” Mini Bowl: ‘Mercer Grey’; Appetizer Plate: ‘Mercer Grey’; Dinner Plates ‘Marin’, all from Crate & Barrel. Wooden Serving Bowl: Steelwood Design. Fondue Forks: Swissmar, swissmarshop.ca

While living in Ontario, there was the ambitiously romantic date of Outdoor Combat Paintball where the “high-impact fun and adrenaline”—as sold to us at the ticket booth —left me in a muddy field looking for my other boot and missing a contact lens. Later, over wings and a beer at a sticky-floored college bar, my ego simply could not be resuscitated; it had been laid to rest out on those brown fields, along with any sense of attraction to this suitor with it. I was living proof that love was an actual battlefield; I could see only out of one eye, was missing a shoe, my date had moved on to throw darts with a new blonde at the bar, and all I had was an empty plate of chicken bones in front of me.

Onwards I marched towards finding love, but I did suspend all outdoor activities as a first date for a while. I had concluded the Dinner Date was (and still is) a great place to start when getting to know someone; and whether platonically or romantically, and without saying a lot, much could be revealed at the dining table. Manners, etiquette, addressing the waitstaff with care, whether to share something delicious or not, generosity, frugality, the extent of one’s sense of adventure. On those first dates I didn’t really care that much about specific dreams and ambitions as much as I wanted to know whether we were aligned in asking for more bread to soak up all the sauces and juices (or were we better off as friends). 

“This is the kind of enthusiasm I like to see when I open a delicious wine. As the cork pulls up, so do her arms, as if to say ‘Hallelujah!”. I’ve gifted this more times than I can remember, and it’s always received well. Comes in plenty of colours and is a great addition to any home bar.” Sources: 5” Mini Bowl: ‘Mercer Grey’; Appetizer Plate: ‘Mercer Grey’; Napkins: Marin Linen ‘Morning Mauve’; Wine Glass: French 10oz Glass, all from Crate & Barrel.
Glass Vase: Louise Roe, ‘Willy’ Smoke, Provide. Wine Opener: Alessi ‘Anna G’ Corkscrew, Vancouver Special.

Food is most certainly the easiest love language to learn. You can find any which way to master it; I had a friend gift me homemade cinnamon buns to enjoy the morning after a dinner party, another always gets my favourite runny stinky cheese for our hang outs, my mother left her handwritten recipes to me in her passing, my aunt saves me the corner pieces of her spanakopita like a warden, slapping hands away on my behalf. 

This month’s recipe is the beloved fondue, originally meant to feed Alpine families inexpensively with some stale bread and Gruyère cheese on the farm. Our Greek version of warmed, gooey cheese is saganaki, often flamboyantly lit on fire and served with a squeeze of fresh lemon. At the old Xen’s on Broadway the owner himself would jump on the table in a loincloth and belly dance for you as you enjoyed those first bites. 

“After making fondue several times, the trick is to wait until all guests have arrived to start melting the cheese. Get your cheese warmed on the stovetop before transferring it to the pre-lit fondue pot. Teach your guests to swirl their fondue fork to catch all the cheese and put it on their plates first before eating to avoid contamination and burnt lips. Pro Tip: A very cold white wine helps with any accidental scalding.” Sources: Fondue Pot: Swissmar Matte White Lugano Cast Iron, kitchenniche.ca; Fondue Forks: Swissmar, swissmarshop.ca. Knives: Laguiole Ivory Steak Knives, Set of 6; Napkins: Marin Linen ‘Morning Mauve’; Dinner Plates and Low Bowls: ‘Marin’; 5” Mini Bowl: ‘Mercer Grey’; Glasses: French Wine 10oz Glass, all from Crate & Barrel. Wooden Serving Bowl: Steelwood Design. Marble Round Cheese Board: Williams Sonoma
BC Wine: Painted Rock, 2022 Chardonnay

The Art of Fondue is much more subtle, and requires a certain etiquette (no double dipping, tapping or losing your garnish in the pot, serve only white wine, kirsch or herbal tea to avoid a coagulated ball of cheese in your stomach, and always swirl in figure eight loops to keep the cheese loose). It makes the perfect celebratory February meal as it really does force you to huddle close together and share all the delicious things to dip. It can be for two, four or more… although I could easily make this just for myself and let love lift me up to where I belong as a party of one. With something so decadent it needs a bright, citrusy salad; I’ve included my favourite one with bright beets and grapefruit that adds the acidity needed to help digest the creamy cheese.

beet and citrus salad
“Decorative tableware is a hallmark for French cutlery company Sabre and you can mix and match all the patterns and solid colours and whatever variation looks chic and always playful.” Sources: Platter: Dover White Platter, Crate & Barrel. Linen Napkin: ‘Natural’, loveoflinens.ca. Two Piece Salad Serving Set: Sabre Paris Vichy Collection ‘Fuchsia’, Bacci’s Vancouver.

Gathering around a meal like this, or making something homemade to share, remembering your friend’s favourite coffee order; these things feel good for the heart. So, in the spirit of our darling February, and her relentless defense of love, let’s celebrate these small moments that in very complicated times can feel so extraordinary, especially when they are delicious. 

Classic Swiss Cheese Fondue Recipe


1 garlic clove, halved

1 lb Gruyère cheese, grated

½ pound Emmentaler cheese or other Swiss cheese, grated

1 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 ½ tablespoons kirsch

freshly ground black pepper

freshly ground nutmeg



Gather your ingredients. Prep the fondue pot by rubbing the inside with the garlic clove; discard the garlic.

Over low heat on your cooktop,  use a wooden spoon to combine the grated Gruyère and Emmentaler with the wine, cornstarch, and lemon juice in the fondue pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the cheeses begin to melt, about 5 minutes.

Add the kirsch and a generous pinch each of pepper and nutmeg and cook, stirring gently, until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes; don’t overcook the fondue or it will get stringy.

Transfer the pot to the fondue stand that has been lit to keep the cheese warm.

Serve and start dipping!

Roasted Beet & Grapefruit Salad with Goat Cheese Recipe


Roasted Beets

1 large beet

drizzle of olive oil



3 tablespoons maple syrup

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 large basil leaves

1 clove garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper



4 cups mixed greens

1 grapefruit, segmented

2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons pistachios, crushed



Roast the beets: Cut the beetroot off the stalks and rinse. Without peeling, drizzle the beetroot with oil and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Bake at 400°F for 50-60 minutes, until a knife slides through the centre of the beet easily. Let cool. Gently rub the beet (using a paper towel or gloves!) to remove the peel –they should slip off easily.

Make the vinaigrette: Blend all vinaigrette ingredients until smooth. Salt and pepper as needed.

Presentation:  Slice the roasted beets and arrange on top of the mixed greens, along with the grapefruit segments. Sprinkle with goat cheese crumbles, crushed pistachios, and drizzle with vinaigrette. Enjoy!