Got a hot date, but you’re not sure how to set the mood? Never fear, Suzy Duggan is on hand with the perfect musical and culinary accompaniment.

Photo: Eve (Flickr); Licence: CC BY 2.0

“If music be the food of love play on”. I’ve been thinking about this line of Shakespeare’s. It’s not bad, but you know, it could be improved on. My philosophy is more “music clearly is the food of love – press play”. Also, I would add that food is the food of love, so please can we have some, thanks.

So. Are you in love? Truly? Madly? Deeply? You see, I’m pretty wise, and I have some advice you might like about how to feed that love around Europe. Specifically, places to eat out and playlists for later. To avoid the iTunes shuffle suddenly bringing your full Eurovision soundtrack to light…

Option one: “this is not a date (That would be way too mainstream)”

Describe your love interest:

  • Are they wearing John Lennon glasses?
  • Do they have a broken 80s iron as an ornament?
  • Is their hair dyed “ash blonde”?
  • Do their Facebook photos seem to be channelling the Velvet Underground?
  • Have they been in any way involved in a play?

If the answer to at least one of these questions is yes… you may be entangled with a hipster.

The location for you: Kazbar, Oxford, UK.

The opportunity for you guys to “rock the casbah” is frankly too good to be missed. Besides, you only need to see the sign requesting that “long-haired freaky people” apply to be waiters to know that you’re in the right place: a café/restaurant/bar, serving Spanish and Moroccan cuisine at 25-27 Cowley Road, Oxford. The whiz-bang-wow factor comes from the surroundings – with its extensive and ornate windows, the impression is of a cross between a greenhouse and a church. A tree spreads itself through the interior, coloured drapes and maracas dangling from its branches. Share some tapas, sherry or sangria for an auspicious start to an edgy romance.

hipster date
Photo: Kurt Bauschardt (Flickr); Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0

Appropriate playlist:

That heavenly hipster of yours is probably listening to obscure music on their conspicuous headphones even as I write, so you may feel that you will never impress them with a mixtape. Even so, they are likely to appreciate some sexy / angry indie tunes back at your place, so here are a few suggestions:

Albert Pla – “El Lado Mas Bestia de La Vida”
Movits! – “Limousin”
Farin Urlaub – “iDisco”
Arctic Monkeys – “She’s Thunderstorms”
José González – “Heartbeats”
Negramaro – “Parlami D’amore”
Tryo – “Serre-Moi”
Kraftklub – “Kein Liebeslied”

Option two: “Ars amatoria”

Describe your love interest:

  • Are they intimidatingly good at card games?
  • Do they automatically assume you are familiar with the lesser known works of Shakespeare / Tolstoy  / Dante, as well as the latest advances in theoretical astrophysics?
  • Have they successfully learnt Polish?

If the answer to at least one of these questions is yes… you may have swiped right on a genius.

ace of hearts
Photo: Richard Heaven (Flickr); Licence: CC BY 2.0

The location for you: Pod Aniołami, Krakow, Poland.

To impress your personal intellectual giant, consider taking them to this swanky traditional restaurant at ul. Grodzka 35, Krakow. It has plenty to stimulate the mind (and the appetite). If your brainbox likes learning new things, the menu will oblige, giving them the lowdown on historical Polish food for peasants and kings alike. Mouth-watering examples include “young wild boar’s leg covered with bacon and prunes” and “mountain river trout served with a baked apple stuffed with cranberries”. If they love history, they are sure to appreciate dining in what was once a goldsmith’s workshop, decorated in atmospheric medieval style. And of course they can also try out that famous Polish of theirs.

Appropriate playlist:

While rock and pop can be profound and complex, they also includes the sort of vacuous tracks that might make your crush’s hair stand on end. Steer clear of this danger with a classical playlist of harmonic intricacy:

Richard Wagner – “Prelude and Liebestod” from “Tristan and Isolde”
John Ireland – “In Those Days: No. 1. Daydream”
Antonín Dvořak – “Mass in D Major”, Op. 86 No. 1 Kyrie
Edvard Grieg – “Wedding Day at Troldhaugen”, Op. 65. No. 6
Sergei Rachmaninoff – “Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor”

Option three: “got to get you into my life”

Describe your love interest:

  • Are they sporting thick and elegantly shaped eyebrows?
  • Are they wearing a brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat?
  • Do they encourage dances like the Twist and the Madison at parties?

If the answer to at least one of these question is yes… there’s a chance you’re on the rocky road to love with someone who wants a time machine back to the 60s.

The location for you: Cacio e Pere, Siena, Italy.

This unassuming little bar and restaurant on Via dei Termini 70, Siena is in fact a welcome find for anyone who likes a bit of old school music. Go there in the early evening and you can experience the 10/10 concept of an aperitivo musicale. An aperitivo is the food lover’s paradise – a copious buffet of pasta and pizza for a low price, even with a drink included (choose an Aperol Spritz).

If you’re at Cacio e Pere, the musicale aspect will mean a vibrant soundtrack of 60s rock and roll. Even better, they do frequent live music events in their grotto, including rock, jazz, hip hop and folk.

record player
Photo: Tim (Flickr); Licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Appropriate playlist:

The chances are your sixties dreamboat already knows the decade’s music inside out. But a raucous singalong on the drive home is sure to help you bond, so take inspiration from this foot-tapping playlist:

Los Bravos – “Black is Black”
Madalena Iglésias – “Ele e Ela”
Gianni Morandi – “In Ginocchio da Te”
The Idols – “Ξαφνικά Μ ‘Αγαπάς”
Breakout – “Na drugim brzegu tęczy”
Françoise Hardy – “Je t’aime”
Karel Kryl – “Morituri te salutant”
The Kinks – “Waterloo Sunset”

Teaser photo: Pixabay
  • retro

    Suzy Duggan comes from the South West of England, where she is surrounded by cider farms and cows. She recently graduated from Cambridge with a BA in German and Italian, but has managed to surprise everyone in sight by deciding to train as a midwife. She plays the piano and French horn and loves listening to stormy Bob Dylan tracks while travelling around Europe by coach. Her favourite destination? The Etruscan hill town of Volterra on a misty November afternoon.

You May Also Like

Fifty issues of Sex: Slinky truths

For the 50th edition of E&M and, therefore, the 50th edition of SEX, we ...

MythBuster: bras. They can go. Or can they?

E&M’s one and only MythBuster has had it with bras – or not? It’s ...

Silence: The omnipotent power of toxic masculinity

As society begins to speak out against the injustices of the patriarchy, Emily Clarke ...