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Smart Shopping: A Valentine’s picnic … indoors

With icy, snowy freezing cold outside, perhaps a love picnic at home could be just perfect. No hassle about getting to a restaurant or rushing your meal because other diners are waiting for your table.

Set up a romantic space with a video of a fireplace flickering on your computer screen. Warm the food, add the wine, maybe a racy movie …

You can dream of vacations together tasting foods from other countries. I suggest a trip to the British Isles, a slice of warm Italy and a new kosher spot on the West Island.

Clarence & Cripps owner Maxine Clarence, a native of Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, runs this haven for British expats and others. They have their own line of British sausages—breakfast bangers, Lincolnshire, Cumberland & Olde English (made from a secret family recipe), kippers, smoked haddock, Melton Mowbray pork pies, steak and kidney pies, Cornish pasties, groceries and a huge selection of chocolates and sweets.

Favourite snacks can also be found: Walker’s chips (steak & onion, prawn cocktail), Maynard’s wine gums, Galaxy minstrels, McVities digestives and some Marks & Spencer products. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to scoop up some real Devonshire double cream or clotted cream for your scones—with tea, of course. There are Coronation Street items, British designer Sophie Allport peg bags and aprons along with Globy Art kitchen attire.

71 Cameron, Hudson. 450-458-4073, clarenceandcripps.com

Situated in the heart of Little Italy’s market, Pastificio Sacchetto is a traditional pasta factory (opened in Montreal Nord in 1976) that lives up to its clients’ heady expectations. Specialities include meat or cheese ravioli and tortellini, medaglioni stuffed with ricotta and veal, cappelletti, cannelloni, gnocchi di patate and tagliatelle, and 70 more freshly made shapes (whole wheat, tomato, spinach) and sauces.

Be sure to try their ravioli funghi, which is stuffed with portabella and porcini mushrooms, or their sweet red pepper and ricotta cheese ravioli. There are also frozen trays of lasagna (meat or vegetarian), cannelloni (meat and ricotta or ricotta and spinach) and some individual meals (perhaps tortellini in a rosé sauce, pannini, or ravioli).

7070 Henri Julien, Marché Jean Talon. 514-274-4443; La Maison du Ravioli, 2479 Charland. 514-381-2481. pastificio.ca

You will appreciate Deli K’s extensive kosher menu, from which you can order a month’s worth of meals and never repeat one. A friendly family from Venezuela, they bring their delicious expertise to the West Island. The homemade food is prepared daily.

Here’s a yummy Valentine feast: start with hot dogs in blankets, borekas, Asian meatballs, latkes or arancini with chicken as an appetizer. Your salad could be spicy tuna, salad cuite, mango, beet, or spicy eggplant, followed by a hearty soup.

There are lots of poultry options: schnitzel in mushroom sauce, turkey with sweet onion, chicken with apricots and prunes, hen in duck sauce or Moroccan chicken with olives. Or order beef medallions in onion sauce, stuffed eggplant in tomato sauce, stuffed veal cutlets in caper sauce, Ruth’s brisket and even cholent.

Healthy fish might be Moroccan, tilapia in lemon sauce, paella or fish balls in tomato sauce. Great sides for a picnic: verenikas, corn pie, scalloped potatoes, Moroccan omelet, or green bean casserole. How about kosher Chinese: orange beef, chicken chow mein, General Tao, beef and cashews or Kung Pao chicken? For dessert try croissants, danish, strudel or borekas. If you make a suggestion, they will probably cook it for you.

11 Sunnydale, Dollard des Ormeaux. 514-685-6340.

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One Comment

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