For a Heartfelt Time

For the optimist on Valentine's Day. (Photo courtesy of SusieCakes)

For Valentine’s Day, SusieCakes has got you covered, no matter if you’re head over heels in love or not.

For those that are, there’s the “Susie Loves Me” gift box of conversation heart sugar cookies, sweetheart sandwich cookies, a Sugar & Spice cupcake and a Red Hot Red Velvet cupcake.

And for the pessimist...(Photo courtesy of SusieCakes)For those for whom Valentine’s Day is more bah-humbug, there’s the “Susie Loves Me Not” gift box with cookies amusingly decorated with “Love Me Not” written on them, as well as “It’s Not Me, It’s You” conversation heart cookies, a black sweetheart sandwich cookie, cupcakes inscribed with “Serial Dater” and “Breakup Queen,” and a “Broken Heart Brownie.”

Both gift boxes are available Valentine’s Day for $25 each at SusieCakes locations in San Francisco and Marin.

San Francisco’s Baker & Banker Bakery is getting into the mood with special Valentine’s Day treats and special-order cakes.

Among the tempting offerings for Feb. 14 are strawberry champagne cupcakes (champagne-soaked yellow cake with strawberry frosting; $3.50 each); hand-written “Hostess” cupcakes with salted caramel ($3.50 each); conversation heart cakes (Devil’s food cake with Grand Marnier ganache; $50 for 6-inch; $80 for 10-inch); and champagne cake truffles ($5.50 for four).

Adorable conversation heart cakes. (Photo courtesy of Baker & Banker)

For a bottle of wine with a heartfelt message, look no further than 2007 Linda’s Hillside Vineyard Cabarnet Sauvignon from Napa’s Darms Lane Vineyard.

A wine that benefits ovarian cancer research. (Photo courtesy of Darms Lane)

The wine is named after Linda Bump, who was co-owner of the winery until she passed away in 2007 from ovarian cancer.

This is the inaugural release of the wine, made from premium Cab grapes grown in the Oak Knoll appellation. For every $75 bottle sold, $25 will be donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

All proceeds from Ehlers wines goes to fund cardiovascular research. (Photo courtesy of the winery)

In that same vein, Ehlers Estate in St. Helena is held in trust by the Leducq Foundation, which funds international cardiovascular research and is named for the winery’s late-founder, Jean Leducq, a philanthropist and French entrepreneur. All of the proceeds from all of Ehlers wines goes to this research.

Winemaker Kevin Morrisey makes less than 8,000 cases of Cabarnet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabarnet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.

Give a bottle of any of those and you’re giving a gift that will have lasting benefits.

Valentine’s Day at Perbacco in San Francisco is decidedly an orange affair. To commemorate the “Battle of the Oranges,” a 19th Century tradition still celebrated in the medieval town of Ivrea in Piemonte, Chef Staffan Terje will create a special citrus menu, Feb. 11-14.

As the tradition goes, girls would throw oranges — a precious fruit not native to Ivrea — at boys they liked. To reciprocate their feelings, the boys would throw an orange back. OK, I don’t know about you, but all this orange pelting sounds like it could be pretty painful. Have no fear at Perbacco, though, where the oranges will all be safely on the plates. Among the citrus delights will be warm shellfish salad with cara cara orange, kumquat and shaved fennel; raviolo with four-citrus filling; and slow roasted pork shoulder with Buddha’s Hand citron salsa verde and orange oil braised potatoes.

The four-course menu is $65 per person.

For something a little different, Raw Bay Area is offering a raw chocolate-making course, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 at 2501 Harrison St. in Oakland.

Raw food enthusiast espouse the benefits of eating foods that are not heated beyond 115 degrees. And chocolate fits the bill, if it’s melted at just around 115 degrees, then cooled to 80 degrees, before finally being brought back up to 90 degrees in the tempering process.

In this hands-on class, learn how to make truffles, peppermint patties and chocolate caramel cups.

Tickets are $35 per person or $60 for two people.

The San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace hosts the eighth annual “Food from the Heart” benefit, Feb. 11-12, in the candlelit grand nave.

Merchants and restaurateurs will offer chocolate tastings and seasonal hors d’oeuvres, as well as wine tasting for a nominal charge of $2 to $4 each.

To get you really in the mood, there also will be tango and salsa dancing, as well as classical music.

Proceeds benefit Slow Food San Francisco’s School Gardens Project.

You have to love any group that calls itself the Pie Extremist Group.

What do they do? They meet. They eat pie. Simple as that.

Feb. 12, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., join the pie madness when the group gets together at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco for a free event to celebrate the joys of pie. Bring a pie of your own and join in the revelry.

Marion Cunningham celebrates her 89th birthday this month. (Photo courtesy of Foreign Cinema restaurant)Foreign Cinema in San Francisco invites you in to help celebrate Bay Area culinary icon, Marion Cunningham’s 89th birthday on Feb. 10.

Cunningham, who is too frail these days to attend functions, won’t be at the restaurant. But her spirit most certainly will be in the form of some of her best-loved dishes, including scalloped potatoes, raised waffles, and cheese fondue, which will be spotlighted on the menu that night. For reservations, call (415) 648-7600.

Contest Winner: In last week’s Food Gal contest, I asked you to tell me about your most memorable Valentine’s gift. The winner will receive a Valentine’s Day small heart box of petits fours from Divine Delights.

Congrats to the winner, Linda, who wrote, “My most memorable Valentine’s gift was my marriage proposal! It was not on Valentine’s day . . . it was given early in case he needed to have a back up plan. It  was presented when I was dog tired from returning from a business trip . . . he MADE me sit on the edge of the bed to pay attention to him while he was speaking / proposing to me. It was in the form of a gift certificate . . . he was afraid of getting an inappropriate ring! It was so not what I had imagined and dreamed it would be as a little girl growing up . . . it was MINE; all MINE!

How could anyone forget such a proposal?

It was 13 years ago and I feel that I was a very pampered/privileged/spoiled person to have such an unusual Valentine’s gift that would last my entire life . . . and I was got to design & choose my own engagement ring & wedding band!”

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