My BBQ Man is a Man’s Man, and a Man’s Man does not do romance. Valentine’s Day is an anathema to him and must be ignored at all cost. That’s why, a couple of days before Valentine’s Day each year, I get taken out on a special date. Which has nothing to do with Valentine’s and all that commercial, overpriced dinners and flowers, you understand. The Not-Valentine’s-Day Date is about… the real thing . But no, nuh-uh, no way no how, is it ever going to be r-o-m-a-n-t-i-c.

So my BBQ Man and I set off for lunch, and the venue is a surprise. I hop in the car and ask brightly, ‘Should I shut my eyes? ‘ He rolls his eyes at me and then mutters under his breath ‘What’s the fastest way to Hungry Jacks…’ ! Off we go through town, take a wrong turning, go past one or two lunch bars that cater to the blue collar crowd. ‘Oh no’ he groans. ‘That’s shut’. And then,  ‘How about that Chinese takeaway?’ (See? Not romantic!) But the route gives his secret away – we’re heading north out of town, I note with glee. This can only mean one thing – The Chocolate Cottage! Only my favourite cafe!


 The Chocolate Cottage is a charming little place. Follow the winding path, up the stairs to the entrance where some giant cutlery greet you. It’s a subtle hint to your tummy: expect big things here…


Where shall we sit? Under the vine laden arbor, out in the front? Or on the lawn, around the back, with the range dropping away in a breathtaking view? Or on the balcony, where each and every chair is decked with painted flowers?


 Inside, the whitewashed walls are covered with all kinds of inviting things, from gourmet foods to quirky and cute kitchenware, to original works of art, to chocolate, chocolate and did I mention chocolate?




We choose our table on the balcony and before we know it, our little lunch arrives.



Creaming soda float for him, sparkling apple juice for me, nachos and a flourless blueberry mudcake to share. How was it?


Om…nom nom nom…*burp*

And then…he takes me to one of my favourite stores, a place where beautiful things are crafted and sold, aptly called Simple Things Small Joys.


Pendants made from vintage typewriter keys…we try to find a ‘J’ but there are none…


And then, on a tree, we find a gift for me.

I had fun opening it, later at home.

Thank you for a lovely date, BBQ Man.


My BBQ Man, crunchy on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside.