Sarasota Events Calendar has our heart in Sarasota, and what better time of year is there but Valentine’s Day to give readers a round up of some of the best places to enjoy the most romantic day of the year? Here are a few places where you can enjoy two of the best ingredients in the world: LOVE and FOOD!

Everyone’s “in LOVE with chocolate!”

Can’t swing going to dinner this Valentine’s Day? Say “you love her/him” with chocolate! Head to Norman Love Confections (you got that name right!) at the University Mall on Cattleman Rd.

The Love of a Picnic

What better way of celebrating intimacy with the smell of the warm, gulf breeze and a charcuterie platter and vino? Posh Picnic Company makes every celebration remarkable and specialize in small and large (up to 8) groups from Longboat Key down to Siesta Key.

Quaint Restaurants

Here are a few favorite hideaway restaurants to try that you haven’t heard of before. Amore Restaurant is a mid size restaurant with excellent ambience and a combination of Portuguese food and Italian food. Add to this a piano bar with live musical entertainment and that spells A-M-O-R-E. They are off Fruitville and Lime and take reservations.

Located on S. Washington Blvd. just south of Main Street, this charming hidden gem offers an impressive choice of Italian dishes in a lovely, intimate setting. No live music, but you can always sing a song to your partner at the table. If you do, Chef Vincenzo Lops will send you a complimentary dessert!

Love Under the Stars
Stroll with a loved one to Bradenton (a short drive away) to The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature in Bradenton for a show at their new, state-of-the-art Planetarium. One of the shows on the schedule is Passport to the Universe narrated by Tom Hanks.

Kayak in Paradise
For outdoor enthusiasts, a guided tour through Mangrove tunnels is soothing, meditative and can be booked through: Paradise Adventures.

Love is DIVINE!
Want to renew your vows after being married? Or do you want to tie the knot for the first time? Think about a spontaneous Valentine’s commitment to do so and  head to the Divine Chapel of Love in Sarasota. 

Valentine’s Day Historical Root

There are several legends about St. Valentine, but the most popular one claims that St. Valentine performed secret, forbidden marriages for young lovers in ancient Rome. Evidently, Emperor Claudius II thought single, childless men made better soldiers, so he made it illegal for young men to marry. St. Valentine ignored this decree, and as the legend goes, was eventually put to death for it.

Others speculate that St. Valentine’s Day is simply the Christianization of the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, which was essentially a festival dedicated to the fertility of both Roman women and Roman crops; combined with a matchmaking element.

So, no matter how pointless you may think Valentine’s Day is now, remembering how it got started should give you a reason to celebrate it. I mean, St. Valentine was kind of a badass, and Lupercalia was pretty much all about sex.

Enjoy Tuesday, February 14!