Donatella Arpaia Talks Valentine’s Day

The powerhouse chef and mother shares her tips and recipes for a romantic night

Serve a strawberry semifreddo for your Valentine's Day date.

Donatella Arpaia’s story from attorney to chef is quite an interesting one—but she’s been insanely successful since she decided to take a leap from one world to another.

Arpaia, a tremendous name in food has been a judge on Food Network’s Iron Chef America and The Next Iron Chef, but off camera As mother of one and a New York restaurateur who has opened 10 restaurants including Donatella, DBar, and Kefi, she juggles a whole lot, but she still makes an effort to make time to make things special when it comes to spending time with her husband.

Arpaia’s love for all things culinary can be credited to her Italian upbringing. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Donatella is revealing her tips and tricks for setting the perfect romantic evening.

Donatella’s Valentine’s Day Tips:

• Bubbly sets the mood
The ideal libation for a romantic occasion always includes a little bubbly. I’m loving the new trend of  sparkling wine mini bottles or cocktails made with MARTINI Prosecco, Rosé, Asti or Moscato d’Asti are always perfect for a special and personal evening.

• Create a signature cocktail
When creating a festive cocktail for the evening the magic is often in the garnish! Sparkling wine like MARTINI Asti with a touch of cranberry juice for color and sugared, skewered cranberries makes for a beautiful presentation.

• Make creative center pieces
Setting the mood and ambiance are just as important as planning and preparing the dishes.   Instead of the obvious red or pink, I like to use a sophisticated combination of red and white with hints of gold or silver. Lighting is also a big factor in setting the tone for the evening, Intersperse mercury glass votive candles for a beautiful, dimmed glow.

• Personalize the evening
There’s nothing more romantic than taking the extra time to do something special for your loved one. For a creative touch, I like to add a personal note around a mini bottle of MARTINI sparkling wine with phrases like “I love you” or “be mine”. Think of it as the adult version of the Valentine’s Day heart candies!  Just simply tie a tag around the bottle and add the phrase of your choice!

• Prepare an intimate meal
Nothing says “I love you” like a home-cooked meal.

As for what to serve? Check out Arpaia's Menu: 

Strawberry Semifreddo
Nutella Hot Chocolate
White Chocolate Risotto
Prosecco Floats
Almost Flourless Chocolate Cake


 click through for recipes!