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Valentine's Day

roses

If we're talking about the most-used three-word phrases amongst couples, there are a few.

"What's for dinner?" "Honey I'm home", and "where's my?.." (insert here socks, pants, shirt, keys, as necessary) are all right up there, along with "I need cash" and "see you later".

However if we mention Valentine's Day, traditionally the day we say those other three words, I Love You, we begin to think differently, and there are some special additions to them that seem to get the romantic juices flowing even more sweetly.

Champagne_12

Champagne is more than a delightful tall glass of a bubbly. It is a place, a region in France and strictly speaking the only place in the world entitled to call its product 'champagne'. Come here to see the massive Champagne Houses of Taittinger, Veuve Clicquot, Mumm, Krug, Bollinger and many more.

Champagne_14

But did you also know that it is said there are approximately 58 million bubbles in one bottle of champagne? Dom Pierre Perignon, the 17th-century French Benedictine monk who created champagne, when tasting it for the first time is said to have exclaimed: "Come quickly ! I'm tasting stars!"

 

roses1

Roses are the traditional flowers of romance. To steep yourself in these fragrant flowers, you should hurry to a garden in South Australia's Riverland region, five kilometres from Renmark and said to have the most roses in Australia. With more than 50,000 rose bushes and nearly 4,000 varieties spread over 11 hectares, Ruston's Roses' collection is one of the largest, most diverse and important in the world.

The family-owned business began in 1924 with only a few rosebushes around the family home. Today you can wander along perfumed paths flanked by famous names - Marilyn Monroe (the rose named in her honour of course) reclines not far from Princess Diana, and elsewhere you'll meet monarchs and millionaires, artists and celebrities.

 

valrhona

No seduction (or romance, for that matter) would be truly effective without chocolates. The unspellable name of Valrhona chocolates becomes a cinch when you realise it is at Tain-l-Hermitage on the banks of the Rhone river in France. Val-rhon(e)a - get it?

The factory shop is a magnet for tour coaches and the staff are more than generous with free samples. A simple sign on the wall outside shows a cocoa pod breaking open to reveal its seeds and the slogan 'Aux Sources du Grand Chocolat'.

valrhona2

It began in 1924, when Chef Guironnet a patissier from Tournon, began a chocolate factory, but it was not until 1984 that the famous Guanaja made with 70 percent cocoa solids was presented to the eager world.

valrhona1

At Valrhona you will learn that the cocoa tree blossoms all over itself, lavishing buds on its branches and trunk, but despite this excess, only one flower in every three hundred will produce the all-important cocoa pod.

 

diamonds

Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but they seem to be on the side of those proposing too. So what are a girl's best diamonds? Pink ones, it seems. Regarded as the world's rarest and most valuable diamonds, these little sparklers are mainly found in The Kimberley region in the far north of Western Australia, and are mined by the Argyle Diamond Company which just happens to be the largest producer of diamonds worldwide.

Only something like .01 percent of the 7000 kg of diamonds excavated by Argyle annually (that's about a third of the world's diamonds) are pink, but they can range from a very intense purplish pink to the merest blush, resembling pink champagne.

Diamonds also come in other shades - blue, yellow and 'brown', the latter now marketed with more panache as 'champagne' and 'cognac' diamonds.

After assembling these passion-prompts, you should have a romance - and that's when another three words come into play "Marry me, please!" or in the case of long-time partners - "thanks for everything".

hearts        Stay with us in the next week as we explore the world for romantic things to see and do.

 

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