Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Last minute Valentine's Day gift ideas

This month love is all around... or so they say. I'm not in the over-enthusiastic camp but not in the Valentine-bashers' community either. I appreciate little gifts and gestures all year round, but for some unfathomable reason my heart goes aflutter at the sight of a Valentine's card or a simple note in the morning on the big day.
Does it make me a hopeless romantic? It probably does.
I am partial to chocolate and will never say No to a box of chocolate, be it my favourite Belgian chocolates or a nice new All You Need is Love box from Thorntons (which I hasten to say I bought as a treat for myself, as I couldn't resist the chocolate batons with funny names like Totally Nuts and Fruity Nutcase).

If chocolates and flowers are too unimaginative and too old-fashioned to your taste, how about a quirky gift like a bunch of pink mushrooms as a statement of affection?

When I opened an email newsletter from Espresso Mushroom Company, I totally fell in love with this unique gift - Hot Pinks Kitchen Garden- which is as pretty as any bouquet of flowers. This amazing growing kit comes with green credentials, as it uses upcycled coffee grounds collected from the local cafes. Beautiful exotic coral mushrooms are a perfect gift for any foodie. Very tempted to order one for myself, I bet my kitchen would look more cheerful.

Photo courtesy of Espresso Mushroom company

I'm a tea lover, and love exploring new flavours. If your partner enjoys floral teas, All Things Nice from Bluebird Tea Co might be just the right gift for them. This blend of white tea with rose buds, cinnamon, liquorice and lemongrass  is very delicate, floral, aromatic and delicious. It is naturally sweet, a perfect tea for Valentine's day.

A beautiful heirloom cannot be beaten. I am a big fan of Sophie Bruen Ceramics. Her glorious pieces are inspired by wonders of the natural world. This stunning bowl with colourful moths will surely be much loved and cherished for years to come.

Photo courtesy of Sophie Bruen

Back to foodie gifts, L'Epicurien Rose Petal Confit looks splendid. This delicate jelly made of fresh rose petals could work wonderfully with soft ripe cheeses like brie or camembert, and I would imagine tastes heavenly in a hot croissant (breakfast in bed anyone?!). Or mixed with ricotta to fill in freshly baked choux pastries.

Photo courtesy of Sous Chef

I've seen Dell' Ugo Devilish Chocolate Fiorelli in Waitrose. As a foodie blogger, I am in two minds about it. On one hand, I am very curious to try it, on the other, I think it sounds plain wrong. As a novelty foodie gift for Valentine's Day it might be funky, and it will definitely develop an interesting talking point. I'm probably showing my age, but might it be one of the props for recreating a scene from "Nine 1/2 Weeks"? Was't Mickey Rourke gorgeous in his heyday?

Back from dreams of young Mickey Rourke to reality. If romancing your sweetheart with desserts doesn't rock your boat, spice it up with Wild Rose el Hanout spice mix from Forage Fine Foods. It is a brilliant blend of spices with rose petals, I have used it and recommend highly. It is believed to be an aphrodisiac (cannot say I noticed my passion levels grow higher but it definitely a spice mix to fall in love with).

You might have seen a variety of heart-shaped cheeses in the shops nowadays. Just the other day I saw some super-cute mini-Neufchatel cheese hearts. I got one big heart-shaped brie to make a starter of brie in shortcrust pastry on Valentine's day, always a big hit in our house. Abel & Cole has a selection of heart-shaped cheeses as well including a Godminster Heart Shaped Cheddar which is a lovely crumbly vintage cheddar with a personality.

And even if you don't care for Valentine's Day, just treat yourself!


  1. Thanks for sharing some great ideas! Happy Valentine's Day!