I am a writer in the making with a passion for imagery, globetrotting and exquisite designs.
Published August 19th 2013
Date nights have never been hotter
As Virginia Woolf once wrote, "Melancholy were the sounds on a winter's night." As Melbourne trudges on into a cold season that threatens to continue indefinitely, Melburnians brace themselves for the biting chill puts a damper on romance during the hardest time of the year to step out of the house.
And yet, there are so many ways to turn the cold and bleak of this season into an opportunity for something special.
Classics never disappoint. Though far from original, a well-planned surprise candle light dinner will always be utterly romantic. Want to feel like the two of you are the only people in the whole wide world? Nothing quite compares to the way flickering candlelight dances around two happy faces, to the intimacy of a warm table surrounded but untouched by the darkness outside, to the sounds of glasses and soft music against the silence of a winter night.
As far as planning the menu goes, unless you want to head straight for specifically aphrodisiac cuisine, there is no such thing as "romantic" food, since taste buds are about as varied as people's faces. The most romantic dishes you can choose are the ones your partner loves, and watching and listening enough will reveal to you what they are. That, or calling their mother.
Here is a checklist to ensure you cover the basics. While you're at it, why not make it a themed meal? Be inspired by a significant moment in your relationship, such as a holiday or a special day you spent together, or even a song or a book your partner loves. Name your dishes after the place you went to, or a line from the song, or a passage in that book. That way you'll turn an event that's been done a million times over into something unique and truly personal.
Melbourne is blessed with some fantastic hot springs a mere 90 minute drive from the city. Peninsula Hot Springs have no need for presentations, having provided steamy hot relaxation to visitors seeking to unwind since 2005.
Their Bath House is open 7 days a week from 7:30 am to 10:00 pm, and as the sun goes down outdoor lights line the pools to create an intimate, romantic atmosphere. This makes it perfect for a mid-week, after-work surprise date option (just remember to bring bathers!). In addition, evening savings apply after 7 pm (just saying).
Sunset Gazing (from your Car)
There is nothing grand or exclusive about this idea. It is quite simple, really: sharing a thing of extraordinary beauty with the person you love. And you don't have to be in Koh Samui or wait till summer for it to happen! If there are 5 degrees outside, why not watch it from the warmth and comfort of your car? Drive. Park. Take it in. Choose a lookout point which allows you to park and get a good view of the west, be it in the mountains, in the country or at the beach. It would be nice to have something hot to sip on while enjoying the spectacle: you could arrange a couple of thermoses with some luscious, soul-warming hot chocolate. Don't forget the marshmallows!
In ancient times, mulled cider was consumed in southern England as part of the winter ritual of wassailing, aimed at securing a good harvest from the cider apple trees by warding off evil spirits. Today, it is a rising star in the oh-the-weather-outside-is-frightful drink options and it goes by the delectable title of "Liquid Apple Pie".
So, where to get mulled cider in Melbourne?
Brunswick Street Cider House in Fitzroy proclaims itself "the first venue in Australia that is seriously dedicated to cider". This year they have been catering for hot dates all through the cold season with their house made mulled cider. Every morning, live fermenting farmhouse cider is taken from a French oak barrel and mixed on site. A blend of spices is added and finally the drink is served in a brandy balloon glass with a slice of apple, dusted in cinnamon sugar. Voila', Liquid Apple Pie is served.
Young and Jackson, at the corner of Flinders and Swanston, is another unique option in the world of Australian cider venues. The website reads: "Y&J's Rooftop is home to Australia's first Cider Bar". They make their hot mulled cider from their Kelly Brothers French oak barrel fermented Scrumpy cider. It's flavoured with cinnamon, vanilla, sugar and cloves, served in a mug and garnished with fresh nutmeg. It's available every day and costs $5.70.
Sorry, what? I know, it's not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when considering possible date ideas. Especially for the guys. And yet, it was a male specimen of the human race that suggested this surprisingly effective date idea!
Bikram Yoga is the hottest form of yoga there is, quite literally. Classes run for 90 minutes in an environment that hovers around 40 degrees Celsius with 40% humidity. The combination of these elements turn this practice into an exceptionally beneficial experience that includes effects such as elimination of toxins through sweating, improved flexibility, weight loss – just to name a few.
No part of your body is left un-stretched, un-twisted and thoroughly un-detoxified. Though this may not be the neatest date night option – it is possibly the most daring item on this list, and may require a little more background information on your partner's inclinations – it is definitely the most original, and is sure to melt away the chills on a winter's night.