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Ian Moran

The Boston Bruin reveals he's a pro at romance, too, as he goes Valentine's shopping for his wife

HANGING WITH...

Ian Moran

The Boston Bruin reveals he's a pro at romance, too, as he goes Valentine's shopping for his wife

By Christopher Muther

Globe Staff

Boston Bruins defenseman Ian Moran is a breakfast guy. He can prepare an omelet that would make even the toughest short order cook at Bickford's smile, and his three children are convinced that their dad mixes the world's best pancakes. But impressing preschool kids with pancakes and grilled cheese sandwiches is easy; concocting a romantic Valentine's Day dessert for your wife is another matter entirely.

Which explains why the 33-year-old faux-hawked hockey player has donned an apron and is standing in the kitchen of Finale with a whisk in his hand. Finale executive pastry chef Nicole Coady, the woman who creates edible works of art such as chocolate euphoria and tiramisu mousse cake, has come up with a simple fondue recipe (see below) that Moran can make for his wife, Britta, for Valentine's Day. Under Coady's watchful eye, it takes Moran less than 10 minutes to prepare the fondue, and the results are flawless.

Just a minute. A hockey player wearing a perfectly cut pair of jeans, whisking like a pro, and talking about hair care products in between bites of chocolate-dipped blackberries?

''Yeah," Moran confesses. ''I'm definitely a metrosexual."

Moran isn't timid about his metrosexual status. Not only that, he appears to be converting other Bruins to the metrosexual lifestyle. Fellow team members have flocked to Moran's hair stylist (Scott at SportsClub/LA's Salon Fontana) after seeing his handiwork on Moran's crown. It's even progressed to the next step, with hockey players borrowing Moran's hair products.

''Everybody's always using my product in the locker room because I've got the best stuff," says Moran as he unties his apron. ''We've got a really good bunch of guys. As long as they take care of their hair."

Once he finishes assessing the fashion sensibility of the National Hockey League (''The Swedes are definitely the sharpest dressers," he offers), the next step of the evening is to find a Valentine's gift for his wife. After presenting her with the lavish fondue spread, he plans to give her a bottle of perfume. He's confirmed that her scent can be found at C.O. Bigelow, so he pulls on his totally hipster G-Star Raw Denim jacket (''It was a gift from my wife," he says), and the contingent of metrosexual hockey player, reporter, photographer, and public-relations chick begins the short walk to Copley Place.

On the way there, it becomes evident that Moran is walking with a slight limp, and he confirms that he's been off the ice since knee surgery in November. He has been training rigorously with much improvement and is planning to skate the next day. If successful, he says he'll credit the magical healing powers of chocolate fondue with the miraculous recovery.

Despite the limp, all appears to be going smoothly until he reaches the first floor of Copley Place. Suddenly, his eyes lock onto a well-dressed 20-something talking on his cellphone. outside of Hugo Boss.

''I'll bet he's on the team we're playing tomorrow night," Moran says, starring down the competition with Clint Eastwood grit. ''He looks Canadian."

A minute later, another well-dressed, seemingly Canadian hockey player emerges from Hugo Boss. This one also sports a faux-hawk not entirely unlike the one on Moran's head. If the look on Moran's face could be translated into English, it would be saying, ''Oh, no you didn't." Thankfully there are no hockey sticks present, because with these hostile glances, teeth would no doubt be flying down the halls of Copley and spilling into Armani Exchange and Louis Vuitton.

Canadians averted, Moran finds the multitiered perfume counter at C.O. Bigelow his next challenge. He doesn't remember the name of the perfume his wife wears but is hoping to recognize it based on the shape of the bottle. Unfortunately, none of the bottles is looking familiar. He then resorts to sniffing. With the seriousness of a well-trained Saint Bernard locating survivors in an avalanche, he inhales fragrances sprayed onto tiny strips of white paper. After nearly 20 minutes of hard-core perfume inhalation, he admits defeat, reaches for his cellphone, and calls his wife. There goes the big Valentine's surprise.

''Well, at least the fondue will still be a surprise," he says at the cash register with his fragrant purchases. ''At least until she reads this."

Christopher Muther can be reached at muther@globe.com.

Nicole Coady's Chocolate Fondue

Serves 4

1 pound Valrhona Guanaja chocolate (available at Whole Foods)

4 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Chop chocolate into small pieces.

Pour heavy cream into a stock pot, and over medium heat warm the cream and whisk in sugar.

Continue heating until cream reaches a boil. Remove just-boiled cream from heat (watch carefully while boiling to avoid burning), and add chopped chocolate, stirring vigorously until the chocolate is melted and looks smooth and shiny.

Pour into a fondue pot, and serve with strawberries, mango, blackberries, raspberries, bananas, and pieces of pound cake, cut into shapes with cookie cutters.

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