by Savannah Evanoff
If the way to someone’s heart is indeed through the stomach, then consider gifting food for Valentine’s Day.
Wine, chocolate and home-cooked foods will certainly sway the sweethearts in your life.
Below is an assortment of food-related Valentine’s Day gifts your Valentine will love.
There is nothing wrong with gifting a traditional box of sweets to your valentine.
After all, it’s a tradition for a reason.
Consider the Valentine’s Day Sweets Box from Harry & David. The box includes milk chocolate malt balls, gummy hearts, shortbread cookies and dark chocolate-covered graham crackers.
Harry & David claims it’s “guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth.” It’s hard to argue with that.
To purchase the Valentine’s Day Sweets Box or another sweet gift, visit Harry & David in the Silver Sands Premium Outlets, 10406 Emerald Coast Parkway W., Destin, or visit harryanddavid.com.
If your valentine is a man who does not enjoy sweets, try one of Man Crates’ Valentine’s Day gift boxes available at mancrates.com. The Exotic Meats Jerky Heart, featuring different jerky flavors, will send the message of love with a more savory flavor.
To purchase the Exotic Meats Jerky Heart, visit mancrates.com/jerkygrams/exotic-meats-jerky-heart/.
Rather than getting your valentine a gift they will devour in a week, consider gifting them with an event in which to look forward.
Tickets are on sale for the South Walton Beaches Wine and Food Festival. The festival is April 27-30 in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin.
The event will feature wine tastings, food tastings, live entertainment and the Destin Charity Wine Auction.
Tickets start at $35. To purchase tickets, visit sowalwine.com.
Wine is a practical Valentine’s Day present, because after your valentine opens it, you can share it during dinner.
Chautauqua Vineyards offers a variety of wine flavors that suit the Valentine’s Day theme and pair well with food.
Consider the Chautauqua Vineyards Blush, a sweet, festive wine made with a blend of Carlos white muscadine grapes and Noble red muscadine grapes. George Cowie, the winemaker, said the blush pairs well with fruit and cheese as well as light fare such as grilled fish or chicken seasoned with butter, lemon and herbs.
Another excellent holiday wine is the Chocolate Port, a specialty dessert wine unique to Chautauqua Vineyards. It begins with port, a sweet wine made from Noble Muscadine grapes that are fortified with brandy and then aged for years in small oak barrels, Cowie said. When it’s bottled, a blend of cacao beans from Madagascar is added to infuse the port with a dark chocolate flavor, he said.
This wine is best paired with bitter-sweet chocolates or alone to savor the “complex flavors,” Cowie said.
Chautauqua Vineyards wines are available at the winery and vineyard at 364 Hugh Adams Road in DeFuniak Springs or Emerald Coast Wine Cellars, 1708 Scenic Gulf Drive, Miramar Beach.
Wines are also available for online order at shop.chautauquawinery.com.
4. Homemade dessert
Get out your apron, because a homemade dessert for your valentine is thoughtful and cost-effective.
Consider preparing chocolate-covered strawberries, because it’s a simple and romantic dish. The recipe below is based on a recipe from Food Network.
• 1 cup chopped almonds
• 1 cup melting chocolate (I used Baker’s Dipping Chocolate available at Target.)
• 1 box of strawberries
• Wax paper
Rinse the strawberries.
Alternating melt the chocolate in 30-second increments in the microwave and stirring until the chocolate is smooth.
Place the almonds in a bowl. I recommend breaking them into smaller pieces in the blender.
Dip the strawberries partially in chocolate, and then dip them in the almonds.
Place the strawberries on wax paper, and let sit for 2 hours or until the chocolate hardens.
If you want to prepare something alongside your valentine, consider whipping up Red Velvet Milkshakes.
The recipe below is based on one from the Lil’ Luna blog at lilluna.com/red-velvet-milkshake/. I love this recipe because it makes enough for four milkshakes or, in my case, two giant and delicious milkshakes.
Please take note in the photo that I used Valentine’s Day sprinkles on the rim of my glass. I found the heart and arrow sprinkles at Target.
• 2 cups vanilla ice cream
• 4 tablespoons red velvet cake mix
• 1 1/2 cups milk
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoon hot fudge sauce, warmed
• whipped cream
Pour about 2 tablespoons of chocolate sauce in a bowl, and heat it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.
Place sprinkles on a plate. Dip the rims of your glasses into the warmed chocolate and then into the sprinkles.
In a blender, add the ice cream, cake mix, milk and extract.
Blend until smooth.
Pour into glasses, and top with whipped cream and additional sprinkles if desired.