Read our new Hunts Post food column: The Best Seat in the House

Shavonne and Andy Harris, from, St Neots, writing a food column for The Hunts Post.

Shavonne and Andy Harris, from, St Neots, are writing a food column for The Hunts Post. - Credit: SHAVONNE HARRIS

The lockdown requirement to stay indoors while we mourned the temporary losses of our favourite restaurants and holiday destinations, was a very tough pill to swallow.

It certainly called for some inventive date night ideas and revelling in the discovery of re-creating extraordinary dining experiences from the comfort of our own homes.

Over the last year, we have had some wonderful date nights, transporting ourselves to some of our favourite restaurants and locations while embracing new cultures through mouth-watering cuisine.

We started by preparing selected dishes from our favourite restaurant in London. To 'visiting' Thailand, Italy and one of our favourite adventures, Spain.

Our Spanish evening began with a trio of home cooked tapas – rich red wine chorizo, spicy patatas bravas and creamy gruyere, ham and jalapeno croqueta.

For the main event, we put together a classic seafood paella, with strict instructions from a Majorcan friend of ours, to remain authentic and not to add chorizo as many of the online recipes suggested.

Shavonne and Andy Harris created a paella dish.

Shavonne and Andy Harris created a paella dish. - Credit: SHAVONNE HARRIS

We finished the Spanish feast with churros made from scratch and, of course, no churro is complete without an indulgent velvety chocolate sauce to dip. All of which was washed down with several glasses of fresh Sangria.

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But the experience is more than just food. To truly travel to Spain or any of our date night destinations, we had to create the right ambiance. For our Italian sunset experience, we sat in the garden drinking fine Italian wine and let the calls of the swifts overhead be our soundtrack, transporting us to an opulent Venetian Piazza.

The Best Seat in the House. Shavonne and Andy Harris decorated the their table to fit with the food theme.

The Best Seat in the House. Shavonne and Andy Harris decorated the their table to fit with the food theme. - Credit: SHAVONNE HARRIS

For our Thai evening, we set a holiday dress code and placed faux Thai Orchids strategically around our candlelight.

These atmospheres can be created inexpensively and with items you have around your home. For our Spanish date, we brought the garden furniture indoors and covered the table with a large unused cardigan while Alexa serenaded and delighted us with the flamenco stylings of Paco Di Lucia.

We wore smart-casual clothes, sipped our Sangria and danced long into the night.

Our date nights and discoveries have been an undeniable highlight of the last 12 months and we encourage all to go the extra mile post-pandemic, to continue fashioning unique dining experiences so that in the future, we can all say that we truly had the best seat in the house.

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