While flowers and sweets remain on the list, a St. John’s baker says Valentine’s Day is evolving beyond romance.
Valentine’s Day is a recurring rendezvous of couples in love that continues to keep local cupids busy.
Over the centuries, Feb. 14 has remained a time when flowers, chocolates and sugary delights take the centre stage.
With the day of love just three weeks away, local florist Kristyna Adamova, the owner of Newfoundland Floral Design, is keeping busy.
“Weeks leading up to Valentine’s can be extremely stressful,” said Adamova. “I start getting orders from my clients in January and that gives me enough time to prepare the bouquets.”
However, the florist says there is a challenge looming around Valentine’s Day every year.
“February is quite terrifying for me, honestly,” said Adamova. “Two years in a row we were caught up in a snowstorm and I lost a lot of my business that day.”
“No offense, but 80 per cent of men wait till the very last moment to get flowers.”Kristyna Adamova
Last year’s Valentine’s Day saw a snow storm, says Adamova, and her fresh flowers could have been left to rot because they simply didn’t sell. But she found a way around it by donating all her bouquets to nearby retirement homes.
From her decades of experience as a florist, Adamova says she still stays prepared with ready-to-go bouquets for last-minute purchases.
“No offense, but 80 per cent of men wait till the very last moment to get flowers,” she said with a laugh.
During the winter season, she sources flowers from South America. Countries like Ecuador and Colombia are the primary locations most dahlia, roses, lilies and many seasonal flowers.
Adamova says over the years people’s choice in flowers have changed.
The florist says customers, now, look for sustainable products (e.g. paper packaging) and questions like “Why do I have lupins in my bouquet? I can just pick them from the side of the highway” are not as commonplace.
She says Newfoundland’s wildflowers have great potential and are more appreciated than they were 10 years ago.
From flowers to frosting, it’s safe to say that the lovers’ day remains incomplete without delectable sweets.
Kala Noel, a St. John’s home baker from Bake Shop NL, says Feb. 14 is her favourite time of the year. She says growing up, Valentine’s was celebrated in her home as a family day.
“From now till St. Paddy’s Day, I’ll be getting very little sleep,” said Noel.
She spends as much time preparing and decorating her Valentine’s special cookies and cupcakes as much as she does on her day job.
“I think the definition of Valentine’s day is changing.”Kala Noel
Noel says the demand for sweet delights keeps changing every year. For example, pop culture and social media has a big influence on what she decides to offer.
From Star Wars to popular TV shows, Noel says she relishes such baking challenges.
“This year Barbie and Taylor Swift have really cut the cake,” said Noel. “I’m constantly being asked to bake cookies inspired by the iconic Taylor Swift friendship bracelet, so that’s something new this Valentine’s.”
Even though occasions such as Valentine’s or Mother’s Day happen every year, for some it’s more than spending money on their partner and buying red roses.
“I think the definition of Valentine’s Day is changing,” said Noel.
She says people are moving away from the traditional “a day for the lovebirds” idea. Valentine’s has become a day to celebrate love itself.
“It can be appreciation for a friend, a teacher, a colleague or yourself even. And that’s something worth celebrating, year after year.”Kala Noel
A newly introduced term took the Internet by storm a few years ago. Called “Galentine’s,” it’s a day for women and girls to celebrate their friendship.
Noel says she tries to be aware of these changing trends and include them in her baking.
“In everyday’s hustle and bustle, we often forget to appreciate our loved ones, it’s normal,” said Noel. “I think it’s nice to take a day like Valentine’s to remind them how much you appreciate them.”
One particular instance stood out to Noel, she remembers getting requests from parents about baking Valentine’s Day cookies for teachers.
“The kids wanted to bring this day of love to the classroom to appreciate their teachers, which I thought was a wonderful idea,” said Noel.
“Valentine’s is not just about a significant other anymore,” she said. “It can be appreciation for a friend, a teacher, a colleague or yourself even.
“And that’s something worth celebrating, year after year.”