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The most popular meals for date night at home

The best and most affordable dishes for your kitchen date nights to keep the romance alive in a cost of living crisis.

What’s better than a date night with your partner to spark a bit of romance back into your life? Although we all have our favourite restaurants for a lovely dinner for two, it isn’t always something that, everyone can afford to prioritise financially. However, that doesn't mean people have given up on date nights altogether.

This year, many people are choosing to cook their partner a delicious, yet cost-effective, meal for an intimate and romantic night in their own kitchen. This trend of at-home date nights is definitely exploding as people searching for “romantic dinner ideas for two at home” have more than doubled in the last 12 months. 

We have analysed search data, social media trends, and supermarket prices to find out what aphrodisiacs Brits love the most, what the most popular date night recipes are across the UK, and the most affordable supermarkets to buy those ingredients. 

Searches for Beef Wellington recipes are the highest out of all popular valentines dishes. 

The iconic meal is notoriously difficult to perfect due to its tricky execution, however, is well known to be a decadent meal with a beautiful presentation. Made famous by Gordon Ramsay, the dish has certainly seen a resurgence in recent years. With people cooking more at home in their own kitchens we are looking for more challenging dishes to try and perfect. Of course, TikTok has proven to relaunch the dish for the younger generation, with #beefwellington accumulating an astonishing 600 million views!

Pasta dishes also prove to be a popular choice amongst couples, maybe even taking inspiration from Disney’s Lady and the Tramp. Spaghetti carbonara, cacio e pepe, chicken alfredo and prawn linguine all take spots in the top ten. Pasta is an excellent choice for those looking to keep costs low whilst still whipping up a delicious meal in the kitchen.

Each city's most popular at-home date night recipes

It is clear that there are trends in the meals Brits all over the country are looking to cook for their partners.

Feta pasta, cacio e pepe and even simple salmon rice bowls have all gripped the nation as people race to try and recreate what they've seen online. 

Brighton and Bristol were the only two cities to choose the vegetarian mushroom risotto dish as their favourite date night dinner recipe, with 320 and 1000 monthly recipe searches respectively. 

Glasgow was the only city that chose the simple yet delicious cacio e pepe to cook in the kitchen for their loved one. Cacio e pepe went through its own spell of TikTok fame this year, with #cacioepepe hitting over 321 million views.

Gnocchi and Beef Wellington have also proven popular across the whole of the UK. Gnocchi took the number one spot in cities such as NottinghamCardiff, and Liverpool, with search volumes of 480, 480 and 880 respectively. Beef Wellington won the dinner date crown in EdinburghCoventry and London with searches reaching 880, 260, and 12,100 in each city.

The UK’s most popular aphrodisiacs

Aphrodisiacs are foods that are thought to arouse desire, enhance pleasure and boost attraction. It's no surprise that in February demand for these super sensual foods goes up, but which aphrodisiac is the nation’s favourite?

1. Chocolate - 165,000 monthly searches

Who doesn’t love chocolate, and especially chocolate that is going to get you in the mood. Searches for ‘’aphrodisiac chocolates uk’’ are up 450% as people search for the perfect treat to spark some romance.

2. Oysters - 110,000 monthly searches

Oysters are certainly divisive, people either love them or hate them. But what you can’t deny is their famous reputation for getting people hot under the collar. If you do fancy splashing out for a cosy date night then what better way, just make sure you are sourcing some high-quality products to avoid any illness.

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3. Champagne - 74,000 monthly searches

Champagne is considered a popular aphrodisiac as alcohol modifies behaviour and can make you more confident. However, according to experts, champagne replicates the scent of women’s pheromones, aiding in the seduction of your partner.

4. Artichokes - 60,500 monthly searches

According to history, Swedish women who wanted more attention (and affection) from their partners would serve their partner's artichokes to increase their desire and stamina. 

5. Pomegranate - 60,500 monthly searches

The antioxidants in pomegranate juice are thought to increase sensitivity, which can certainly spark some interest over a date night. Not only that, but if you regularly drink the juice, it can increase testosterone levels in men and women, which can boost sexual desire on both sides!

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The cheapest supermarkets for the most popular Valentine’s day dinners

So which popular supermarket is the cheapest when it comes to the ingredients for these popular recipes? We compared the cost of the four popular dishes’ varying ingredients between six leading supermarkets to find out which offered the best prices.

Recipe/Shop

ASDA

Tesco

Saisbury’s

Ocado

Aldi

Morrisons

Mushroom Risotto

£5.24

£5.18

£6.03

£5.25

N/A

£4.44

Teriyaki Salmon

£8.13

£9.18

£8.57

£9.72

N/A

£9.01

Chicken Katsu Curry

£5.55

£5.48

£6.97

£7.06

£4.72

£6.96

Sainsbury’s sells the most expensive mushroom risotto ingredients

Mushroom risotto has proven a popular vegetarian choice that can easily be made vegan if swapping butter for oil and leaving out the parmesan or Grana Padano. If you’re a novice in the kitchen risotto is also one of the easiest recipes to master 

This time Sainsbury’s came out as the most expensive supermarket when picking up this recipe’s ingredients, totalling £6.03 for the dishes. Tesco came out again as the cheapest supermarket to source these ingredients, at only £5.18 for two portions

ASDA is the cheapest supermarket to pick up teriyaki salmon ingredients

Teriyaki Salmon, with rice and pak choi, is the cheapest to pick up in ASDA, with ingredients totalling £8.13. However, if you decide to head to Ocado for your ingredients you face paying £9.72 for the same two portions.

For both the Mushroom Risotto and Teriyaki salmon, not all of the recipe ingredients were available in Aldi due to their limited and changing stock, therefore despite the low costs they cannot be considered for these recipes.

Aldi is the cheapest supermarket for a chicken katsu curry

Aldi comes up tops for offering the cheapest prices for a chicken katsu curry recipe, with ingredients such as chicken, coconut milk and breadcrumbs totalling just £4.72. However, if you choose to shop at Ocado you face paying over 49% more for the same meal, at £7.06 for two portions.

How to turn your kitchen into the ultimate date location

When hosting a romantic dinner date from your very own kitchen, it is important to make an effort and set the right tone by transforming the space into an at-home restaurant.

Jen Nash, Design Excellence Manager gives eight top tops to turn your kitchen into the hottest date night hotspot:

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Clear the clutter

Whilst hosting a dinner for two in your kitchen may seem unromantic at first, there are actually some clever layout strategies that will help level up your living space. First things first you want to clear away any clutter you have lying around. Nothing kills the date night vibe like dirty dishes in the sink.

Lighting

Lighting is such a small detail that can really make a huge overall impact on the whole feel of the room. If you don’t have a dimmer switch for your lights, turning the overhead lights off and making use of under-cabinet lighting can really add to the seductive atmosphere of the evening. Instead of harsh bright white lights, aim for more warm tones as these remind us of sunrise and sunset. If you do have coloured lighting aim for warm oranges and avoid blueish colours.

Candles

Candles are a classic home decor tool for creating ambience in any room. When using candles to transform the kitchen into a date-night hotspot, you can use different scents to invoke different feelings. If you want to cover up the smell of what you're cooking, citrus smells cut through any foodie smells leaving a fresh clean aroma. Alternatively, if you want to make your dinner date even hungrier, lime oil is known to make the mouth water, meaning your cooking efforts won’t go to waste.

Dress for the occasion

Just because you’re eating in your kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of the special occasion. Dress up in something that makes you feel confident yet comfortable enough that you aren’t desperate to pop on your pyjamas after eating.

Set the table

Make an effort to really dress up the table so it doesn't feel like you are sitting at your everyday dining table. Use a tablecloth, add some flowers or light some candlesticks to switch up the usual layout. If you have a particular favourite restaurant as a couple, you can recreate the table setting in your own home by adopting their decor. The most important thing is that you want to transform the space into a new environment so the evening feels special.

Music sets the tone

Ahead of the dinner, curate a playlist or find a pre-made playlist of your and your partner’s favourite songs. Make sure it is long enough to last your entire evening, at least a couple of hours. Plug it into a speaker and have it playing throughout your night.

It's all in the prep

Get as much of the food prep finished before your date night officially starts. This means you can really be invested in the evening and not leave your partner alone whilst chopping up a bunch of vegetables. If your recipe does include a lot of active cooking, why not get your date involved and make the meal together?

Do Not Disturb

Make sure to turn your phones to silent or even off so that your evening is not disturbed by friends or family. When at home it is easy to get distracted by all the different things you need to do, like washing up, doing laundry or answering emails. Even though you are in your own kitchen it is important to focus all your energy on investing in this quality time with your partner. Don’t rush the evening and just take the time catching up, chatting and laughing like you would if you were in a restaurant.

Methodology

Keyword tool was used to find out which recipes were the most popular across the UK and in each city. Search volume is correct as of 1st February 2023. To calculate the cost of recipes we collected a recipe for each meal, Beef Wellington, Teriyaki Salmon, Chicken Katsu Curry and Mushroom Risotto. We then worked out the cost of each ingredient volume for each store and added together the cost of the recipe for two people.