Valentine’s Day is less than a week away, but no need to panic if you haven’t made dinner reservations or don’t have the perfect gift already wrapped in hand-printed paper. Here are 10 gifts that will have your food-loving lover eating out of the palm of your hand.
Chocolate, the good stuff
Sure it’s a cliché, but it doesn’t have to be. Leave the cheap, tasteless, mass-produced bars behind and move up to artisan chocolates from the tempting truffle case at Golden Fig. Chose treats from the likes of Minnesota’s St. Croix Chocolate Company, Mademoiselle Miel, and B.T. McElrath as well as Kohler Chocolates and Indulgence Chocolatiers, both from Wisconsin. Buy two or 20; priced at under $3 each, they’re an affordable luxury. Golden Fig, 790 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-602-0144.
Breakfast in bed
Since Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, treat your better half to a leisurely breakfast in bed. Heart-shaped waffles are a little bit hokey but also endearing. Stir up the batter yourself or buy a mix (we won’t tell). Breakfast has never been sweeter.
CucinaPro heart shaped waffle maker, $39.95, Crate & Barrel, Galleria, Edina, 952-920-2300.
Bring some bling to the kitchen or perhaps the boudoir with a glitzy, golden, heart adorned apron. What – if anything – you wear underneath is up to you.
Heart of Gold apron, $26.95, Paper Source, Uptown – 3048 Hennepin Ave., 612-377-0700; Edina — 4954 France Ave. S., 612-259-1000.
Wine, bargain version
Yes, you can enjoy a decent bottle of wine even if you’re on a budget. Gretchen Skedsvold, co-owner of Henry & Son recommends Beauregard Bourgueil from the store’s 12 under $12 selection. It’s 100% Cabernet Franc “with lots of body but also some sexy floral notes,” she says.
Henry & Son, 811 Glenwood Ave., Minneapolis, 612-200-9517.
If you’re really looking to impress your date, Skedsvold suggests Francis Boulard Les Murgiers, a Blanc de Noir champagne made by a father/daughter wine making team. Blanc de noirs are her favorite champagnes because “they’re typically fuller, rounder, and more savory than Blanc de Blancs.” At $43.99, it’s a commitment, but you’re not afraid of commitment are you?
Cook up some romance
Spend an evening in somebody else’s kitchen — no cleaning! — cooking up some tantalizing new recipes. Cooks of Crocus Hill offers Cozy Up with Cupid classes on Valentine’s Day weekend, where you’ll get handsy with everything from appetizers to dessert. And never fear – if the Valentine’s classes are full, they also have Date Night classes for future fun. Cozy Up with Cupid classes are $95 per person. More information at cooksofcrocushill.com.
Oysters on the half shell
You know what they say about oysters. Put that theory to the test by bringing home a dozen oysters from Coastal Seafoods and let the sensuous slurping begin. If it's not too busy, the helpful staff at Coastal will give you tips on shucking. Just don’t stab yourself with the oyster knife — gushing blood can really ruin the mood. Oysters cost about $1.50 each, call for availability.
Coastal Seafoods, 2330 Minnehaha Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-724-7425; 74 S. Snelling, St. Paul, 651-698-4888.
Oysters on the half shell, the easy way
If you’re afraid of the scenario described above, save yourself the shucking and enjoy your oysters at a restaurant. For one of the best oyster deals in town, head to the Lowry, where you can get three for $5 at happy hour, which happens twice a day (4 p.m. – 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – 2 a.m.). No reservation necessary. The Lowry, 2112 Hennepin Ave. S., 612-341-2112.
Chai Love You
Nothing says I love you like a perfect cup of chai. Except maybe diamonds. Or a trip to Paris. But if your relationship and your bank account haven’t progressed to that level, warm things up with a mug that proclaims your love and wrap it up with a bottle of locally produced Gray Duck Chai, made with organic, fair trade tea, organic spices and fresh ginger to show you really care. I Love You mug $12.95 from Bibelot, see website for locations; find Gray Duck Chai at Bibelot as well as local co-ops and grocery stores.
An Old Fashioned valentine
Warm your cockles with an Old Fashioned made with local ingredients. Start with 11 Wells Rye and top it off with Egbert’s Cocktail Cherries, small batch brandied cherries made with Dashfire bitters from Lee Egbert, one of the partners behind 11 Wells. Rye ($31.99) and cherries ($14.99) are available at liquor stores, including France 44 in Edina.
Bonus gift idea:
Edible underwear. Need we say more?