“Love planted a rose and the world turned sweet” … Katharine Lee Bates
Fast approaching is Valentine’s Day, with its tradition of sending letters, cards or gifts, often featuring heart shapes. But who was Valentine? What is actually behind this celebration of love? And how did the traditions associated with it begin?
Valentine’s Day (properly called Saint Valentine’s Day), on February 14th each year, originally celebrated the life of, not surprisingly, Saint Valentine. But what may surprise you is that it’s not clear which Valentine is referred to, partly because back in the 3rd century when the story starts, Valentine was a very popular name. It meant ‘worthy, strong or powerful’, and many people were given that name. There were several stories or legends attributed to men called Valentine and some of them may have become confused or merged together. The Saint Valentine of February 14th may have been a priest in the Roman Empire or a bishop in Umbria in Italy who tried to help persecuted Christians, or he may have been a martyr from a Roman province in Africa. In one strand of the tangled story, one of the Valentines miraculously succeeded in restoring the sight of the daughter of a judge. Later, before his own death as a martyr, he wrote a note to her signed, “from your Valentine”. This may well have been the inspiration for the sending of Valentine’s cards and letters which still happens today. When the priest Valentine secretly performed weddings for some persecuted Christian couples, it is said he used to cut heart shapes from parchment to remind the grooms of their vows and God’s love; perhaps the use of heart shaped cards and gifts started then.
Valentine’s Day has increased in popularity and scope. It’s not only romantic love that is remembered but also family love, or the love between friends and colleagues. School children sometimes send several, to all sorts of friends. This February the 14th, there will be a huge number of “Be my Valentine” messages flying around, perhaps more than usual as we remember people we haven’t met properly for months.
Share the LOVE with 7Marvels! If you would like to send someone a Valentine’s gift you may want to continue reading below for some inspiration…
Heart-shaped macarons are a far cry from Saint Valentine’s cut out parchment hearts but will be received with great joy! They are really ‘Roseberry’ hearts – raspberry macarons filled with a mouth-watering rose ganache.
The Roseberry Ispahan is a larger and more exotic version of a French macaron, being filled with a rose-lychee cream and fresh raspberries. What a delight for your lucky Valentine!
A perfectly named cake for Valentine’s Day, the Sweethearts and Roses cake is a luxurious vanilla sponge with juicy berries, buttercream and raspberry jam, and is crowned with heart-shaped macarons, roses and more delicious berries. What a feast!
The Sweet Love cake lives up to its name, being cutely decorated with a sugar icing love scene! Inside it proves even more sweet and lovely, with an all butter Victoria sponge and fluffy, silky, Italian meringue buttercream.
Valentine’s day gets even better when flowers are involved. Being keen on supporting small local businesses, I have collaborated with Lilac & Bloom, a west London based florist who has produced a range of Valentine’s bouquets especially for 7Marvels. This has enabled me to offer you the ultimate Valentine’s gift of cake with flowers, for that very special and lucky person. The Be My Special Valentine bundle is a wonderful combination of two tier sponge cake, sandwiched with buttercream and raspberry preserve, with a beautiful bouquet in complementary colours. The glorious topping on the cake includes heart shaped macarons, pink macarons and meringue kisses. What could be better for a happy Valentine’s Day?
Love and kisses,