As we continue to fashion entertainments within our homes—a key skill of any D&D fan, even if that now includes traditional out-on-the-town celebrations—who better to consult on creating the perfect D&D date night dinner than the authors of Heroes’ Feast: The Official D&D Cookbook? Whether you’re preparing for the Feast of Love in Silverymoon or simply cooking a romantic meal for a loved one at home, Michael Witwer, Jon Peterson, and Kyle Newman know how to make the evening feel like a special, immersive dining experience. And that begins long before the stove is fired up.
“Think about the way you dress the table, and the napkins you pick. Get the elements right and it will transport you to an in-game location,” says Kyle, recommending you put in the same level of preparation as a devoted Dungeon Master adding cool props and world-defining elements into their campaigns.
“There are a bunch of different ways to bring people into the moment,” Jon agrees. “We’ve seen a lot of people on social media sharing amazing pictures of how they’ve presented the food in Heroes’ Feast. For example, the lighting that they choose can add atmospheric touches, such as using little lanterns rather than candles.
“Your presentation might depend on which items you’ve already accumulated as part of your fandom. Think about your tableware—do you own cutlery that looks rustic or mediaeval? Perhaps choose a glass that looks more like a goblet, so it appears like something that might exist in a fantasy universe.”
With that in mind, be sure to keep Starbucks coffee cups of the table and out of shot!
No matter your budget, it’s possible to add innovative touches to embellish the dishes themselves. Anyone who’s soaked paper in tea or coffee to create an aged scroll for players to read in-game will be able to transfer those skills into making a parchment-style menu, for example.
“Creating an element such as the menu helps set a certain vibe and allows your guest to ease into the experience,” Kyle says, while Michael adds that such an item might also be used to inform your guest on the mythos behind the meal.
“Each recipe in the book has a note about where you’d find it in the D&D universe. These notations are supposed to both educate and hopefully appetize,” he explains. “You might also read these descriptions as you present each course, as a sommelier would describe the wine at a fancy restaurant.”
FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD
Having delivered style tips to help these sumptuous recipes look like they’ve been whipped up in the kitchens of The Yawning Portal tavern, the Heroes’ Feast team turns to the best menu choices for a charmed evening.
“I would start with the ‘Wood Elf Forest Salad.’ It’s an infused wild-leaf medley with vibrant citrus accents, but what’s wonderful about it is the presentation—the finishing touch is a sprinkling of edible flowers. It’s a great way to include a romantic floral element that tastes delicious too,” Michael says, also recommending that the addition of a side of flavorful butternut squash ‘High Harvest Puree’ to the ‘Dragon Salmon’ makes for a “killer pairing” as a main course.
“I can also recommend the ‘Qualinesti Vegetable Stew’ as an alternative vegetarian option for the main,” adds Jon. “It’s a light course for a romantic dinner, with a classic ratatouille-style presentation that’s both colorful and beautiful.”
For dessert, however, the authors suggest things get a little more random. After all, what would a D&D date night be without a game element?
“Why not take out a d4 and ask your partner to roll?” Michael says, suggesting you have a few options ready to serve. “The result can determine the choice of one of four dishes, all of which provide a great end to the meal.
“On a one, serve up the whipped cream meringue elven dessert of the ‘Meal’s End’, which is light and delicious. On a two, the halfling dish of ‘Honey-Drizzled Cream Puffs’. If it’s a three, go with ‘Cocoa Broth’—this espresso-infused cocoa drink ensures that you won’t fall asleep if you decide to watch a movie together afterwards!”
Jon picks the fourth option: “If you’ve got a real sweet tooth, I suggest the ‘Barovian Butterscotch Pudding.’ It’s described in the book as a dish as sweet and smooth as a tall chalice of owlbear milk. And for a dessert aperitif try the ‘Zzar’—a creamy nut drink with a vibrant aftertaste that’s a staple in bars in northwest Faerûn.”
ROLL KITCHEN INITIATIVE
Finally, don’t forget to be prepared! “A lot of these dishes are lavish meals that require a significant amount of preparation. Make sure you have all the ingredients that you need on hand, and work out your timings,” Michael reminds.
“A really useful note to take is, clean as soon as you finish something,” Kyle adds, quoting from an excerpt of the Codex of Eldritch Cuisine that appears in the cookbook, containing handy pointers for budding chefs who don’t have the unseen servant spell on hand. “You’re always going to have a spare minute or two during the cooking process. You might as well use those to get ahead of the cleaning so you can enjoy the rest of the night.”
Heroes’ Feast: The Official D&D Cookbook is available now with an MSRP of $35 (hardcover) and $14.99 (Kindle edition)