Br(u)no: A Pandemic-style Day For Love

Photo Caption: Valentine’s Day may have to be a take-out affair this year. The good thing is that there are many options, including Brněnský frgál, which has brought the Wallachian style of dessert to town. Photo Credit: Bruno Zalubil.

St. Patrick’s Day. Easter. Graduation parties. Christmas. New Year’s Eve. Birthdays. Weddings. The coronavirus pandemic has ruined — or significantly altered — so many traditional events over the past 11 months that being stuck inside and away from people has become the new normal. Today, another event will be affected.

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is international and, here in Brno, it has been growing in popularity every year. Until this one. The pandemic health crisis has even upended the day of love. No taking your sweetheart out to dinner. No date night at the movies. No hook-up party at a club.

While this may be good for the single people among us who loathe the inherent social pressure of the holiday and while it may be great for people who despise the crass capitalism of the St. Valentine nameday, February 14 is, nevertheless, a date on the calendar that serves as an excuse to share some warmth. (And, to be honest, it is a day that men in relationships ignore at their own peril.)

Perhaps, during this time of plague, sharing some love, in whatever form it takes, adds to the general betterment of society.

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But — what to do?

If you are stuck at home with the husband, wife, or significant other, there are ways to express affection, even if you have been in close proximity with each other for months.

• Make a Big Meal. One of the best ways to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Conversely, one of the best ways for a man to endear himself to a woman is by attempting to cook something for her. These may be stereotypes, but they hold some truth. Find a recipe on YouTube. There are many options. Make crepes, at least. They’re easy and delicious.

• Order a Big Meal. Valentine’s Day had become a big night for Brno restaurants, with specials and required reservations. This year, the restaurants are closed for in-person dining, but many are open for take-out or delivery. Several restaurants have Valentine’s Day specials, although you mostly have to go through the Czech versions of their websites. (Use Google Chrome, right-click anywhere on the page and select “Translate to English”.)

– If you want to go all out, Valoria, one of the better restaurants in the city, has some options. Click here.

– Several restaurants, including Monte Bu, Pivnice U Čápa, Pivnice U Kohoutu and Ristorante Piazza, have a combined Valentine’s Day special, which even includes a flower. Click here.

– A spicier, Caribbean style of food is available through Havana Restaurant. Click here.

– Mediterranean-inspired meals are on tap at Vittorio Restaurant. Click here (in English).

– Or, if you’ve been together for a long time, just order pizza. There are many options for delivery.

• Reach Out to Someone and Talk. Many are struggling with the lack of social contact — not necessarily the lack of romantic contact (though that may also be the case) but with contact of any kind that is not through a computer screen. Pick up the phone. Call someone. See how they are doing.

• Buy Flowers. Florists have been open throughout the pandemic to support funerals. Valentine’s Day is a way to change the focus, if only for a day.

Flowers V&S has free delivery if your order is big enough. Click here (in English).

Květinářství M. Huszárová is delivering flowers all day today. Click here (in English).

• Order Dessert. There are many places that provide a take-out or delivery option for sweets.

Brněnský frgál is a storefront at the Zvonarka bus station. It was started by a man who wanted to bring the Wallachian style of dessert to Brno. They are fantastic. Click here.

Cukrárna Větrník has several different locations in Brno and many different styles of cakes that are available for pickup. Click here.

Cukrárna Kolbab is also celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Click here.

– And, of course, there are the food delivery services with many options for chocolate and ice cream and candy. Valentine’s Day is as good a time as any to splurge.

• Snuggle in Front of a Movie. It seems like everyone has Netflix or some kind of streaming service. Sunday is usually a great day to relax with a movie; a Valentine’s Day that lands on a Sunday is doubly so.

If you are single, never fear. Not being around people will make it easier to deal with this vile holiday. Know that you can follow some of the options outlined above: Make a Big Meal, Order a Big Meal, Reach Out to Someone and Talk, Order Dessert and even Snuggle in Front of a Movie.

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