I maintain that if you cannot do it all the time, then there is little point in offering Valentine’s gifts, sending cards and professing undying love on one day of the year. However, it is lovely opportunity to spoil someone with a little extra present in the period between Christmas and Easter, when the days are still slightly grey, damp and cold. I think a Valentine’s present should be for sharing, what better than something food related?
Chocolate has long been reputed to be an aphrodisiac and I cannot think of a better present than an appreciation of fine chocolate. Cocoa Runners offer gift boxes of fine bar chocolate or a 3 month subscription tasting course. It ticks all my boxes, lasts more than an evening, is something you can do together and is a something I’d love to receive. Read my full review.
If you are looking for a day out together doing something different, and want to learn some more about chocolate I recommend a Chocolate Ecstasy Tour with Jennifer Earle (one of the Cocoa Runners team) – a walking tour for a small group of some of London’s best chocolate shops. A range of tours is available – go hungry and prepared to eat a lot of chocolate. From £40 per person.
I love to receive flowers and I am especially charmed by this delightful edible bouquet from Tregothnan, with sage, bay, red chillies, rosemary, spicy pepperleaf. Pluck a bit off or enjoy your bouquet and then dry and eat it! We like that all ingredients are grown in Cornwall and produced as sustainably as possible. £34.95 inc delivery from Tregothnan.
I am charmed by the presentation of this huge box of chocolates from Thorntons. A thoughtfully designed box, just so much more interesting than the box standard heart, delightful silhouettes are entwined with romantic scrolls, once you remove the label there is no visible branding so it is a true keepsake box. Inside is a selection of 48 chocolates from the Thorntons Continental range. I remember eating Thorntons chocolates as a child and the fact that many of the flavours have remained the same is a nostalgic trip for my taste buds. I especially like the selection of pralines; the Diplomat with its roasted almonds and hazelnuts, Hazelnut slice and the Alpini. The cappuccino has a nicely bitter coffee mousse within a white chocolate shell.
I do find the chocolates quite sweet, and they are very easy to eat which can result in consuming a few more than you meant to in one go. At just over 40p per chocolate these are good value and perfect for sharing. Even considering our preference for dark chocolate (Thorntons do not currently have a dark chocolate Valentine’s selection), I would recommend these. (Bonus points to Thorntons for delivering using packaging that was all paper based and thus recyclable.)
Simple, but sweet are this bunch of milk chocolate red roses from Sainsbury’s, put them in a vase for a week or so and then eat. Lovely! £3 a bunch.
Vorrei is an online Italian delicatessen selling all manner of sweet and other food stuffs. Completely new to us were dates stuffed with Calabrian chilli creme and covered with dark chocolate, delicious. Crunchy chocolate shell, a sweet soft date then just as you thought you were safe a hefty kick of sweet chilli. Really lovely and rather addictive.
Chilli Pepper Cream filled Dates £6.23 / 200g (about 10 pieces)
Also from Vorelli was a box of Amorosi – figs stuffed with caramelised almonds and black cherries then covered with milk chocolate – these have been made by the Colavolpe family in Calabria who have been growing fig and making a range of sweets for over 100 years. Simply lovely.
Moving on from the sweet treats I would love to be sent another pair of these delightful heart shaped cheeses from Godminster, both handmade from organic milk and sent packaged in an attractive brown card box. The Cheddar (200g) is sweetly flavoured and the brie soft and creamy (150g). The company also has a lovely heart shaped beech wood cheese board.
I remember first having Grasmere Gingerbread on a family holiday to the Lake District years ago. First made by Sarah Nelson in the 1850s from her cottage in Grasmere where the gingerbread is still sold from. The biscuits are short, crumbly and are unlike any other ginger bread (or biscuit) you would have before. Delicious. 6 heart shaped biscuits in a keepsake box are £12 personalised items are also available for order.
Many thanks to brands featured for samples. Unless otherwise stated all images are my own.