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T he way to a woman’s heart? It’s not diamonds or flowers or foot massages — it’s food.

There’s no doubt that an aphrodisiac-filled gourmet menu is a sexy way to start off a good night. However, this doesn’t mean you have to down oysters, feed each other chocolate-dipped strawberries, or spring for a two top at an overpriced restaurant. Consider one of these tasting or teaching events that combine good food with engaging environments to make date night fun-focused.

For a hands-on evening, sign up as a couple for Sur La Table’s “Romance in Italy” date-night cooking class ($79/person; Friday 6:30 p.m.; 1850-29th St. Space #1004; Over a period of two hours, the professional instructor will guide you through techniques behind the rustic Italian menu of cheesy peppercorn biscotti, prosciutto-wrapped chicken in cream sauce, a wine-infused broccoli and honey ricotta cheesecakes. In addition to sneaking tastes of the five-course menu, you’ll have the chance to flirt with your lady in the intimate instructional kitchenette.

If you’re looking to loosen up before the meal, grab a snack like a $5 happy hour pizza and a half carafe of red wine at Ristorante L (formerly Laudisio, 1710 29th St. #1076; just a few storefronts away. Chop, mix, measure, repeat — all with a romantic smile.

Want something that doesn’t require wearing an apron? There’s still an element of discovery and learning at Q’s Saturday night food and wine series event. This Saturday’s “When in Rhone” ($65/person; Saturday 6:30 p.m.; 2115 13th St.; allows the restaurant’s French-inspired chefs to pair five wines, including classic Rhone valley wines like Syrah and Viogner, with a five-course Francophile meal that’ll impress your foodie girlfriend. If you can’t make it (or afford) Saturday night’s extravagance, head to Q’s anytime for a three-course, wine-paired tasting menu they’re offering everyday for just $40.

For something a little lower budget, but still foodie focused, stop by Boulder’s artisan cheese, cured-meat, and wine shop Cured (1825 Pearl St.; You can take a date for the shop’s casual, free wine tasting on Tuesday nights (4 p.m. to 7 p.m.) and leave with a bottle from its almost all-local collection. Or you can swing by on your own and surprise your lady friend with dinner at home. Thursday nights this month, Cured is offering a $15 dinner of roasted organic chicken and duck fat roasted potatoes (for an extra $25, you’ll get a bottle of paired wine and a fresh green salad, too). The hot, roasted, whole birds come out of the oven at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and will be the perfect easy centerpiece for an intimate at-home dinner for two.

Kristy Holland writes about date-night ideas once a week for the Colorado Daily. Tell her about your date ideas at