I am writing this post on the very day, February 14, 2014. It has been snowing here last several days and everything I see out of my window is covered by white snow. It is a romantic morning. How about your place? I hope you are having a wonderful day wherever you are and I hope you have someone to share your time and love together with today.

Here I am again sharing my love of bento with 2 of my bento friends in Paris, Marie and Aurelie. We are getting very close friends, we actually have met in person in Paris and had a wonderful dinner at Neo Bento. Both Marie and Aurelie are very nice girls, Aurelie got married recently and I had a chance to meet her husband who had been to Norway for his work (He is involved in the TV program “Top Chef ” which I really like) and it was very interesting to talk with him too.  After the bento dinner, we decided to do another Collaboration Bento in the celebration theme of Velentine’s Day. It was sad to say goodbye to them that evening but I was already looking forward to the project together, I am so glad to present this today on the very Valentine’s Day. So, enjoy!

Here comes Marie’s bento  :

Did you just say WOW? Yes me too. A couple sharing a bento together in a bento box!
As you see, this is another fabulous bento with amazing details. What amazes me each time is her sense of dimension and I believe she must be good at drawing.  Her composition is always dimensional, not flat, and you know how difficult to compose it with food as it has its thickness. If you pile it on each other, the dimension is easily crooked and messed up.  But not only technical skills, her object always has emotions. A story behind it touches our heart. Marie is so wonderfully talented I think.

Marie wrote :
In my Valentine’s day bento I wanted to show a sharing moment : a couple sharing a bento. I thought about the origins of the bento which is made each day by the japanese woman for her husband or her children. She always cook with love and try to create the most beautiful bento. In my bento there is a beetroot and fresh goat cheese risotto with little ham hearts. I made little flowers in cherry tomatoes and goat cheese to show the french tradition to offert flowers on this special day. The couple is en cheese, ham and nori. In the small bento we find the dessert : a little bit of yogourt with an umeboshi of apple. On the left, several hearts in chocolate to show that japanese women used to offert chocolates to their lovers on Valentine’s day.

Dans mon bento à l’occasion de la Saint Valentin j’ai voulu représenter un moment de partage, un couple en train de partager un bento. J’ai pensé aux origines mêmes du bento qui est réalisé au quotidien par la femme japonaise pour son mari ou ses enfants, et à l’amour qu’elle met à cuisiner et à confectionner le plus beau bento possible. Dans ce bento à partager il y a un risotto à la betterave et au chèvre frais, avec de petits cœurs en jambon. J’ai réalisé des petites fleurs en tomate cerise et chèvre avec des graines de lin, pour rappeler la tradition française de s’offrir des fleurs ce jour là. Les personnages sont en fromage (edam et mimolette), jambon et nori. Dans le petit bento il y a la partie sucrée : un peu de fromage blanc avec une umeboshi en pomme et sur la gauche des petits cœurs en chocolat en référence à l’habitude japonaise d’offrir des chocolats pour la fête des amoureux.

And here is another talented bentoist, Aurelie :

Very cute indeed. Very effective use of the color Pink which really goes well with the theme.  Putting a heart shape in a maki sushi is not so easy as the shape has both straight long lines and round lines. If you have made a maki sushi before yourself, you know you have to roll and push, it involves pressure and maintaining the exact shape in the center needs a lot of care and attention.  Aurelie is an inventor and experimenter, and that is what I admire. She always try new things in her original way and we know it is not the easiest way!

Aurelie wrote :

Here is my Saint Valentine’s day bento. I’ve tried to make heart shaped kazari makisushi (is it the right word? I’m working on a video with those maki right now. I hope it will be nice ) The pink heart of the maki is made of sushi rice mixed with my Saint Valentine’s dip (fresh goat cheese, cumin, chickpeas and beetroot ). There’s also green and pink apple, pink radishes, avocado and some chioggia beetroot. Of course everything is heart shaped. In the paper cup, there is some green luobo radish and some more of my saint valentine dip ( to eat with maki). The greens are spinach, arugula and young beetroot leaves. I’ve also added some soy sauce (pink bunny) and two hazelnut chocolates (the golden ones). It’s a bit simple, but I hope it is still cute.

J’ai essayé de faire des kazaro makizushi en forme de coeur. Pour faire le rose, j’ai mélangé du riz à sushi avec du houmos au fromage frais et à la betterave. Dans ce Bento il y a aussi de la pomme (rose et verte), des radis roses, de l’avocat et de la betterave crapaudine. Evidemment tout est en forme de coeur. Dans la caissette en papier il y a des tranches de radis vert « luobo » et un peu plus de houmos (pour plonger les maki dedans). Le tout repose sur un lit de roquette, jeunes pousses d’épinard et de betterave. J’ai aussi ajouté de la sauce soja (bouteille lapin) et deux chocolats.

And here is mine.

As I said today Valentine’s Day is a day to share your love with someone special. Love that exists between you and your boy friend or girl friend is one kind of love, you and your family? you and your dog or cat?  Love exists without boarders. I made this bento for someone I really don’t know so much. She is an old lady who is very alone and usually she does not get flowers nor chocolate from anyone, she is very much forgotten by the society. Why not a bento for her? I wanted her to have a bento today.  I used my small Japanese bowls that have lids. When I serve this bento, the lids will be closed and I want her to have a little moment to guess what is inside! A little excitement on Velentine’s Day.  I hope I see some sparkles in her eyes. One bowl has cooked egg in Japanese sauce and the other bowl has grilled salmon in it. In the small shot glass I have cucumber and red radish salad. Rice has shiso furikake on top and a red radish heart too. Beef roll with green beans in the center, a pink bowl has pasta with tomato sauce and 1 Italian meatball. For dessert I have pears and heart-shaped strawberries. I hope she will like this.

Aurelie translated the original text in french for me (Thank you Aurelie!) :
A la Saint Valentin, il s’agit communiquer votre amour à quelqu’un de cher à votre coeur. J’ai préparé ce Bento pour une Dame d’un certain age qui, en règle générale, ne reçoit aucune fleur, ni aucun chocolat de la part de qui que ce soit. Elle est plutôt oubliée de tous et j’ai pensé « pourquoi ne pas lui préparer un Bento pour la Saint Valentin ? J’ai utilisé ma vaisselle japonaise, y compris deux petits bols avec couvercle. Quand je servirai ce Bento les couvercles seront fermés car je veux que l’ouverture lui procure surprise et excitation. Pour créer un moment de joie le jour de sa saint Valentin. Dans l’un des bols il y a un oeuf cuit dans de la sauce japonaise et dans l’autre il y a du saumon grillé. Dans la petite verrine il y a une salade de concombre et de radis. Sur le riz il y a un furikake au shiso et un petit coeur de radis. Il y a aussi des rouleaux de boeuf avec des haricots verts au milieu et également un bol rose avec des pâtes à la sauce tomate et une boulette de viande à l’italienne. En guise de dessert il y a de la poire et des fraises en forme de coeur. J’espère que ce bento lui fera plaisir !

Have your love.
Share it today.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

xx Rie, Marie and Aurelie.


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