Happy Couples Giving Crabby Gifts this Valentine's

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Exotic seafood dinners prove popular as a Valentine's Day gift among couples.

Experts talk about the nesting effect and I think the idea of sharing an intimate meal and staying home for the night has a lot of appeal right now.

Move over box chocolates and cut flowers. There's a new trend in gift giving and it's not the usual sugar overdose or floral arrangement.

"Busy, professional couples are opting to stay home and celebrate Valentine's with a movie and a great meal," reports Curt Engle, president of Harbour House Crabs. According to Engle, sales of their "Dinner for Two" selection of Maryland Blue Crabs, jumbo shrimp and crab cakes have more than doubled over last year's Valentine's season. "Experts talk about the nesting effect and I think the idea of sharing an intimate meal and staying home for the night has a lot of appeal right now."

Whatever the reason, Engle is more than happy to supply love birds with all the essentials needed for a night in. "We Fed Ex the entire package in chilled stryofoam packaging, and we include mallets, instructions on how to prepare the meal, the whole bit."

For those who do want to venture out, Engle has a "Dinner and a Movie" package that includes two Regal movie tickets and four expresso bean brownies. When asked why crabs were such a popular Valentine's gift, Engle explained it this way. "Unlike other types of meals, eating crabs is an experience. You get to hammer the shell, dunk the crab meat in butter and generally have fun making a mess."

Prices for the combo dinners range anywhere from $69 to $109 with healthy sized portions that comfortably feed two. "We've had a number of celebrities that like to order crabs for special occasions," Engle continued. "Perhaps that's what started the trend." Engle and his crab steaming crew were invited to Wango Tango, a celebrity studded event held in Anaheim, California last year. The group served a number of notables including Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Lopez and The Black Eyed Peas. Harbour House Crabs was also featured in Food & Wine Magazine as well as Real Simple Magazine.

"We like to say that if you really love someone, you'll give them a case of crabs." The idea seems to have gained merit as more and more crabby couples crack, hammer, peel and dip to their heart's content.

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