Romantic Valentine’s Day on Cape Cod

Romantic Valentine Roses

A Romantic Cape Valentine Weekend

It is February 14th and our little Cape Cod bed and breakfast will be checking-in an inn full of  guests this weekend. The roses have been ordered, to be delivered today. The chocolates have been purchased and the champagne is chilling. There will be a fire in the parlor fireplace and romantic music will be playing.

Romantic Valentine Roses
Romantic Valentine Roses

The restaurants and shops on Main Street are also decked out. La Cucina Sul Mare (Falmouth Restaurant Map), Falmouth’s southern Italian-American restaurant, has a decorated tree with red lighting beside the door and each diner will be given a red rose.  Fabio Pozzati, the executive chef at Osteria La Civetti, Main Street’s northern Italian restaurant, will be serving up some of his romantic fare.  Anejo Mexican Bistro & Tequila Bar has created a wonderful Valentine Margarita for diners to enjoy. Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub is hosting it’s sixth annual “Dateless Night”,  if you want to have a good laugh, they will be having their own version of “The Dating Game”. You do not have to be dateless in order to go, all that you need is a good sense of humor and an appreciation of fine Irish music. Also, Stone Loven Pizza Co. will be featuring their meat lover’s pizza. Also, The Glass Onion on North Main Street will be having several sumptuous specials this in honor of the day of lovers.

How did Valentine’s Day Become Romantic?

The origin of Valentine’s Day is not certain. There were many early Christian martyrs who were named Valentine, however, it is believed that the ones who are honored on February 14th are Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni. Valentine of Rome, was martyred in approximately AD 269 and was berried on Via Flaminia.

Romantic Valentine Heart and Chocolates
Valentine Heart and Chocolates

Valentine of Terni became bishop of Interamna about AD 197. Interamna is modern day Terni. This Valentine is said to have been martyred  during the persecution under Emperor Aurelian. He is also buried on the Via Flaminia. According to popular to popular martyrology Valentine was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. During his imprisonment, he is said to have healed the daughter of his jailer. Before he was executed, it is said that he composed a farewell letter to her and signed it, “From your Valentine.” However, it was not until the Middle Ages that February 14th. was associated with romantic love. It was Gregory Chaucer who initiated the tradition of courtly love and it was in the 15th. century that it became an occasion during which lovers expressed their love for one another. That is when the giving of flowers, sweets and love notes became popular. Some Valentine’s Day symbols that are the most used today are; a heart-shaped outline, doves and winged Cupids. In the 19th. century greeting card companies began mass-producing cards and the tradition continues today.

Yesterday I met a friend, she told me about her 14 year old son who wanted to give his girlfriend a special Valentine, however, because he was on a tight budget, he decided to give her a deck of playing cards. On each card he wrote a reason why he loves her. On the front of the box he wrote, Fifty-two reasons why I love you. On one of the cards he wrote, “I love the way that your eyes crinkle when you laugh.” I would be willing to bet that she will keep that deck for a long time.

If you are looking for a romantic Bed and Breakfast next Valentine’s Day we recommend our Harriet Beecher Stowe room, with a fireplace, jacuzzi-style tub and cozy king bed, won’t want to leave. Our Emily Dickinson room also features a fireplace, jazuzzi-style tub and inviting king bed with the added benefit of being located in the main part of the inn.


Cape Cod Meets Super Blizzard Nemo

Snow on the front walk of the Palmer House

We survived Blizzard Nemo with a bit of damage to the trees, and Cape Cod survived too.

Snow on the front walk of the Palmer House
A snow-covered front walk.

When the snow started on Friday morning it was light at first and the flakes were very small. That is usually an indication that a significant storm is in the offing.  As the day progressed, the snow was mixed with rain and by evening we had near white-out conditions. Throughout the night the wind was blowing wildly. It was in the morning when the storm was tapering off, as we walked the property, that we saw how much damage had been done. Bill has called a man with a plow but it is doubtful that he will be here today.  Almost half of the homes in Falmouth are without power and we have had many calls from people who are looking for warm rooms. We wish that we could help but we are “Snowbound”.

Snow on the Cape Cod B&B sign
Snow on the B&B sign.

I grew up in Haverhill, Massachusetts which is a little over a hundred miles north of Falmouth. Our home was a beautiful per-revolutionary colonial, in the section of the town known as Rocks Village. The house was built on the banks of the Merrimack River in 1774. The village was just a few miles from John Greenleaf Whittier’s homestead. One of Whittier’s best known poems was “Snowbound”. It was written about a massive storm that hit New England when he was a boy in the early eighteen hundreds. In the poem he talks about the snow being so deep that it almost reached the second story windows of his home. They were safe and warm in the house but they could not get to the barn to feed the animals. They decided to dig a tunnel through the snow to  get to the barn. The poem tells about that project.

Snow covered tree at a Cape Cod B&B
Snow covered tree.

Thinking about that long past dilemma and how it was solved, helps to put our plight into perspective. The Whittiers did not have to think about air travel, automobiles, electricity, snow plows or oil deliveries. Our lives are very different in the twenty-first century. Cape Cod usually does not get much snow. In fact last year we had little more that just a few dustings. That is what we get used to. Most of the towns on the Cape do not have town plows. Those of you who are familiar with New England  winters know that the snow removal fleet is an important item on each town or city’s budget. Traditionally, on the Cape, we get so little snow that our towns call upon local private contractors to do the job when needed. This storm is living up to its billing. It is a very heavy wet snow. We have sustained a lot of damage to our trees and shrubs. Bill is outside with the snow-blower working on clearing the walkways. We have been in contact with a plowing service to have the lot cleared, however, he could not give us a time when he could get here. We have had many calls today from folks in town who do not have electricity and need a warm place to stay but we cannot take guests until the lot is clear.

We’ll be digging out, shoveling the steps and preparing warm breakfasts for our guests. It will be a wonderful winter wonderland for a while. We always enjoy the cozy fires when we have a good snowfall. We’ll have a warm fire waiting for you in the parlor and a truely romantic fire in the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodor Roosevelt room and the Emily Dickinson room.

Cape Cod’s Italian Cooking Class Review

Italian Cooking class students.

Once again Executive Chef Fabio Pozzati of Osteria La Civetta has given an outstanding demonstration at Cape Cod’s Palmer House Inn.

Today’s instruction for our Tagliatelle alla Bolognese Class. This was a classic bolognese sauce and how to create and form several  types of egg pasta. We watched as Fabio prepared his native region’s signature dish, Tagliatelle al Ragu (handmade egg pasta ribbons with bolognese sauce).

Mixing pasta dough.
Mixing pasta dough.

Food from Emilia Romagna is very different from the foods from southern Italy and from traditional Italian-American food. Fabio explained that very little garlic is used and when it is used it is perhaps put into olive oil as a flavoring, and then discarded. Northern Italians use much more onion and the meat of choice is pork. They use much less tomato, more potatoes and butter is the fat of choice over olive oil. All of the wines in the restaurant are Italian as are the cured meats and cheeses.

Osteria La Civetta get all of their fresh fish from “The Clam Man” fish market on Gifford Street in Falmouth and most of the produce from the local Farmer’s Market. All of the pasta is prepared daily around noon. Fabio prefers to work on a wooden table because, “The wood is alive”.

During the class, he first mixed the pasta then allowed it to sit for about 20 minutes while he showed us how to prepare the bolognese sauce. When he returned to the dough he cut off a section and began passing it through the pasta roller. Each time he passed it through, he folded it and adjusted the machine and rolled it again and again. He explained that this process makes the dough strong and smooth. When he decided that it was thin enough, he laughed and said, “In Bologna, they say that when you can see through the dough to San Luca, the highest church in the city, that’s the perfect thickness for tagliatelle.

Rolling out the pasta.
Rolling out the pasta.

During the class chef Pozzati taught us to form tortellini and tortelloni, its larger form. It was stuffed with ricotta and spinach. Later when we sampled the prepared dishes we were able to sample the chosen wines that he had brought along. A good time was had by all.

Chef Pozzati demonstraiting the use of a pasta tool.
Chef Pozzati’s pasta tools demonstration.

Osteria La Civetta opened on Main Street in Falmouth just five years ago and soon became a popular meeting place for locals and visitors alike. An osteria is a kind of Italian restaurant with a bustling atmosphere. The volume is loud and the tables are nestled close together. One can also buy groceries such as cheeses, nuts, oils and the like. The restaurant’s symbol is, la civetta, a small owl that symbolizes good luck in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. Emilia Romagna is a triangular shaped part of Italy that is located in the north eastern part of the country. Some of its cities are; Reggio, Parma, Modena, and the best known Bologna, which is where bolonaise sauce was developed. It is also where balsamic vinegar was developed and where Parmigiano-Reggiano and Prosciutto originated.

Italian Cooking class students.
Italian Cooking class students.

The owners of Osteria La Civetta are an energetic young couple, Sara Toselli and her husband Andre Poggi. They are also from Emilia Romagna as is Chef Pozzati. When designing the restaurant’s interior the goal was to make it look like an authentic old world osteria. All of the tables, chairs, dishes, lamps, art work, vintage advertising, and the metal grill-work were shipped from Italy. Even the handmade menu covers are made from Italian wall paper and feature fruits, vegetables, nuts and wine bottles.  One Palmer House guest said after returning to the Inn from a memorable meal, ” It was just like stepping off the Cape Cod sidewalk and into Northern Italy.”

We are looking forward to Chef Pozzatti  being with us three more times this season. Join us for more Cape Cod Cooking Getaways.