“I think I really fell in love for the first time in my life”. Luca is sitting in front of me with a dreamful look. He’s talking about a girl he met two months ago. “A gorgeous girl” he adds “When I’m with her I feel shivers, I definetely love everything about July”. Luca is one of my best friends and I know him quite well to know that this time could be the right one (well, I guess so).
We are both in Lugano, in the Canton of Ticino, Switzerland. We booked a table in the only Michelin-starred restaraunt of the city: Galleria Arté al Lago. As the name suggests, the restaurant is a contemporary art gallery as well (until May, you can visit the exposition “Metamorfosi”, of the German artist Thomas Duttenhöfer). Galleria Arté al Lago is located inside the Grand Hotel Villa Castagnola au Lac (5* superior), a luxury hotel with lake view, a lush tropical garden and a magnificient spa. It was originally a villa owned by a Russian aristocrat and now is an elegant, lovely hotel.
So, as I tend to agree with my friends when we talk about feelings and particulary love, I can just say I’m happy for his engagement. But his next question makes me wordless: “What should I do with her this Friday?”. “Why do you ask me this?”. “Why? Davide, it’s St. Valentine Day”. Oh, yes, he’s right, even if I usually don’t celebrate this day. But he’s completely in love so I should give him some advice”.
“Would you like to start with an appetiser?”. The maître Andreas Keller, a real gentleman asks us. “Yes, Mr. Keller, but first of all I would like to ask you which is the secret of a perfect romantic dinner in a luxury restaurant like this one. Mr. Keller doesn’t seem surprised and after a warm smile he says that a romantic dinner should be organized with care. After a short discussion about this unusual topic, Mr. Keller lists 10 tips plus 3 more for an extra special occasion. Here’s the list.
10 Tips For A Luxury Romantic Dinner (St. Valentine’s Day or not):
1 Before booking a table, be sure of her/his food preferences. Do not choose a new restaurant; choose a place where you feel at ease, as if you are at home.
2 Book a secluded table, it’s better if it’s near a window with a panoramic view (sea, lake, mountains or a garden).
3 Arrive on time for your date (you don’t want to lose even a second of your romantic evening)
4 Short étiquette lesson: Talk in a low voice; Do not lean your elbows on the table; Cutlery is placed so that you use the utensil on the outside first. If there are two forks set on the table, for example, use the one furthest away from the plate first. Sit up, Keep your mobile switched off and do not check if you have missed some calls.
5 Conversation topics to avoid: work, problems in the relationship. To chose from: a journey together, a life project.
6 Look in her eyes, make her feel special, listen with interest to what she says.
7 (Tip for him) Do not choose wine by yourself, ask her to decide which one she would like to drink.
(Tip for her) Wear a dress or an accessory he gave you as a gift or something that he appreciated in the past. Avoid a showy look that could attract other glances.
8 Do not leave her/him alone at the table (no cigarette breaks, no phone calls)
9 Organize with the maître a little surprise (a special dessert not written in the menu, a dedication, her/his name on the chocolate cake and so on).
10 (Tip for him) Tell the maître to show your partner a menu without prices. Bill must be dealt away from her eyes.
3 Tips For A Very Special Evening:
1 A special dinner? Organize a transfer directly to the restaurant (with limousine, carriage…).
2 A very special dinner? You can give to your partner a luxury jewel and make it delivered to the restaurant.
3 An exclusive dinner? Book the entire restaurant for a very unique evening.