Making a story is pretty much like a cuisine. Writers are the chefs that creates it. To create a great story, one must have good quality ingredients and knows how to mix them up so that they complement each other and make a good meal.
There are people and critiques that loves to discuss the ingredients that are being used. Some wants to discuss about the main ingredient (plot). Some would like to discuss if the food is unique or not. Others would like to discuss if the other ingredients used are fitting and complementing each other. People judge from the way the writer cooked his story.
Romance is simply the “spice” of every story.
Sure, a dish can do without any spice. But for other people, a meal without any spices will pretty much taste bland. Spice is what makes a dish’s taste more richer for people, and others simply want to talk about it. To comment about the “spices” used, doesn’t mean that you are not eating the whole meal. That’s improbable. You can only talk about the spices if you tasted the whole meal.
And if people are wondering why “romance” is important for readers and fans, it is because the said “spices” have the power to change the entire taste of a meal for the better … or worse.