Martine Bertin-PetersonProvencal RecipesSeasonal MenusTaste

What to Make for Valentines Dinner? Try this Menu from Provence

Valentine’s Day, La Saint Valentin in French, is a day to celebrate – and perhaps impress – loved ones. Legend has it that the French initially used the heart shape to symbolize love. Restaurants all over the globe are busy on La Saint Valentin and hardly conducive to sweet conversation. A much better way to show affection is a well-prepared meal that can be enjoyed leisurely in a more intimate environment. Below is a dinner menu inspired by the flavours of Provence with several courses. The recipes are easy to prepare in advance to enjoy the evening.

Tips on Hosting a French Dinner Party

Set the Mood

The table and lighting are up to personal taste, but the French pay attention to setting the mood with art de la table. Your dinner table can look fabulous without being fussy or time-consuming. Choose some flowers, quality linens and pretty candles. There is a technique for dressing a table that verges on an art form. Of course, the food must be good too, because art de la table encompasses entertaining. The process starts with determining the menu and wine selection, which dictates the china, flatware, glasses, and serving dishes. Lively diner conversation is not entirely spontaneous but may occur naturally depending on where guests are seated. The table dressing and décor must be pleasing to the eye but not divert attention from the meal or the discussion. Perfecting a dinner party is certainly art de la table, and I hope you enjoy this menu.

French Table Linens Provence

Valentines Dinner Menu

Start with a glass of champagne and some simple, light, delicious gougeres.

Starter course:

Consider Coquilles St. Jacques as a starter, elegantly presented in the traditional scallop shell. If you don’t have scallop shells, use some lovely china or a pretty plate instead. Serve the scallops with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.

Coquilles Saint-Jacques
This recipe was adapted from Saveur Magazine.
Check out this recipe
Coquilles Saint-Jacques Recipe
Coquilles Saint-Jacques Recipe

@ David Scott Allen I Cocoa & Lavender

Main Course:

A main course of slow-roasted lamb shoulder will fill your home with inviting aromas and free you from last-minute preparations. Pair a red wine blend from the Côtes du Rhône. It will perfectly suit the lamb.

Slow-Cooked Shoulder of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary
There is no easier dish for a heartwarming meal among family and friends. You can use a leg of lamb, but the shoulder is juicier because there is a bit more fat. Cooked in a heavy casserole dish (such as a Creuset) that can go in the oven, I like to place the meat simply on a bed of several rosemary sprigs, onion, and garlic for a beautiful dish that serves 4.
Check out this recipe
Provencal Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder

Provencal Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder

In mid-February, we rely on root and other hardy vegetables readily available at the markets. Serve the lamb with my easy Provencal potatoes or a simple potato puree. I would also add some roasted carrots for colour.

Provencal Baked Potatoes
This potato recipe is an easy side dish that you can serve with meat or fish. It can easily be prepared in advance.
Check out this recipe
Provencal Baked Potatoes
Provencal Baked Potatoes

@Martine at Goût et Voyage

Salad Course:

A salad of endive and radicchio with a bright citrus dressing will cut through the richness of the main course and prepare your palate for the finale.

Sweet Finish:

Honestly, you can’t avoid chocolate on La Saint Valentin. I would end the meal with a decadent chocolate mousse.

Chocolate Mousse
This easy recipe was adapted from "Around My French Table" by Dorie Greenspan. Enjoy chocolate mousse as the finale for your holiday menu or any time of the year.
Check out this recipe
Chocolate Mousse Recipe
Chocolate Mousse Recipe

©Martine Bertin-Peterson – Goût et Voyage

It isn’t easy to pair chocolate with wine as some palates prefer a sweet dessert wine like Sauternes or Port, and others lean toward a spicier option like a Shiraz. Go with your favourite. And no one will be upset if you open another bottle of champagne!

I hope you enjoy this dinner menu inspired by the South of France with someone special on Valentine’s Day or anytime.

Join me in Provence this June for a small group tour called the “Tastes of Provence.


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Martine Bertin-Peterson

Goût et Voyage, LLC was founded by Martine Bertin-Peterson to bring together her lifetime passions of travel, cooking and culture. Creating unforgettable memories, Martine serves as the escort for all Goût et Voyage culinary travel adventures and serves as chef de cuisine for customized cooking classes at home in Bucks County, PA. 
Martine’s background and experience are as wide-ranging as her interests. She has decades of cooking experience gained through formal and informal cooking courses in the United States, France and Italy. Born in France and fluent in 5 languages, Martine has travelled to more than 50 countries across 5 continents. She has escorted travel groups throughout Europe and Latin America over the past 25+ years and for the past 5 years has focused on creating unique gourmet experiences for her clients in Provence. 

President of the Alliance Française of Doylestown, PA. Martine currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband who, along with her NYC-based daughter, are regular and willing subjects for her travel and culinary adventures.


  1. Maureen Deeley
    February 14, 2024 at 4:51 pm — Reply

    I made the provencal potatoes – absolutely delicious. Will be a regular at our table. The coquilles dish was elegant and delicious.

    • February 16, 2024 at 4:15 pm — Reply

      We are thrilled that you enjoyed that recipe. Thank you for letting us know.

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