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Valentine’s Day Dessert Fondue [BVI Food Recipe]

Squalls and strikes are not words I typically associated with Valentine’s Day. Chocolate and champagne are the more familiar words. Yet, one of my most memorable—and ultimately, most enjoyable—Valentine’s Days came a few years ago amidst stormy skies, as my husband Matt and I sailed from Guadeloupe to Antigua. We had hurriedly left the French island after labor strikes over the cost of living turned into protests, accompanied by fuel and food shortages. In contrast to the steady trade winds and Caribbean sunshine we typically experienced, our day of sailing to Antigua was marked by one squall after another. It certainly didn’t seem like a romantic way to spend Valentine’s Day. By the time we anchored in Antigua, I was wet, tired and in a rare crabby mood, which was compounded by the realization that our later-than-expected arrival meant customs and immigration were closed for the day. I had been eager to go ashore in Antigua for the first time but would have to wait until morning to explore the island. Matt gently reminded me that there was no need to be frustrated. I was living on a boat in the Caribbean and we had ingredients for a lovely Valentine’s dinner—even if we couldn’t leave our boat. So I tied on my apron and started cooking—a surefire way return to my usual cheerful mood (although the champagne definitely helped, too). In fact, the evening was more special because we couldn’t leave our boat. The squalls that chased us all day had subsided, and we enjoyed a lovely meal in the cockpit under a starry sky. Exactly how I like to spend Valentine’s Day.

While many people prefer fine restaurants, I’d rather avoid crowds and dine in the comfort and privacy of my own home—or even better, on a boat in a secluded anchorage. Taking everything you need and literally getting away from it all is the perfect way to relax with your special someone. Create a festive mood by stringing lights under your bimini and setting your table with cloth linens and candles (battery powered on a boat).  I like to add a luxurious feel to Valentine’s Day by purchasing premium ingredients and cooking a leisurely, though not complicated, dinner. (See my February 2010 Virgin Islands Property & Yacht article for more ideas.) Abundant champagne and chocolate for dessert are a must. For the best combination of ease and celebration, think chocolate fondue to end your meal. I’ll admit that fondue for Valentine’s Day sounds slightly cliché. Yet, it is fun to eat and an ideal boat dessert: it takes only minutes to whip up and requires just three readily available ingredients. Traditional accompaniments include strawberries or other fresh fruit, dried fruit, marshmallows and cake. To give my fondue a Caribbean flair, I like to include island fruits such as banana and pineapple slices and small orange sections. Dip anything that pairs well with chocolate – the options endless.

 Dessert Fondue for Two

No fondue pot? No problem. A simple bowl and saucepan of simmering water will do the trick. 4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped 1/3 c whipping cream, room temperature 3 Tbl cream liqueur, such as Cruzan rum cream Cake, marshmallows or fruit for dipping

Combine chocolate and cream in a medium glass or metal bowl. Set the bowl of chocolate on top of a pot of simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the bowl. Stir frequently until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and stir in liqueur. Serve immediately with cake, fruit and other items for dipping.

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