For some of us there is nothing more cringe than sitting in an overcrowded restaurant on Valentine’s Day, scanning a dodgy set menu, whilst surrounded by amorous lovers shovelling greasy asparagus stems into their mouths seductively.
Homebodies with a love of romance fear not. For I have lovingly compiled a handy guide revealing how to have the best romantic night in with your favourite person this February 14th, free from the canoodling masses and week-old lobster.
For cheese lovers
This artisan smoked food company was established in 2015 by fine food guru Ross Mitchell. Nestled away in a quaint smokehouse in a corner of Crystal Palace, he uses traditional methods to smoke and cure a plethora of premium quality meat, cheese and fish to make even the most hardened tastebuds submit to temptation. Although found weekly at Crystal Palace Food Market, the company also home deliver a variety of exciting gourmet products, hampers and food boxes to London foodies in the know.
We’re obsessed with their almost otherworldly Artisan Cheese Selection Box (£24.95) – packed with a variety of both smoked and non smoked cheeses to make a cheese-lovers Valentine’s night extra special. The box contains a Lincolnshire Poacher – a flavoursome cheddar-like cheese, the Shropshire Blue – a creamy stilton style cheese with a vibrant orange colour, The Twice Smoked Cave-Aged Cheddar, The classically French Brie de Meaux and the punchy yet nutty Spanish Manchego.
I can’t think of anything better than a night in with a sexy suitor and a pleasing plethora of cheese in front of a roaring log fire, hidden away from the oyster slurping masses.
For fans of bubbles and oysters
Sip and Shuck with Deliveroo
This Valentine’s Day, why not stay at home, slip into something seductive and gorge on a luxury seafood platter whilst nursing delicate glasses of chilled rosé Cava. To celebrate the most romantic day of the year, renowned sparkling wine brand Freixenet has teamed up with Islington restaurant Galley to launch the ‘Sip and Shuck’ delivery service. Lucky lovers can relax in the comfort of their own home and receive an exciting delivery consisting of a seafood platter on ice, lemon and ginger cheesecake and bottle of Freixenet’s premium Cordon Rosado.
For £60, you can feast on restaurant quality food without having to deal with the faff of leaving your cozy house – or that fleecy onesie if you’re that way inclined (no judgement). Galley’s obscenely romantic sharing platter includes an array of seasonally inspired and ethically sourced seafood – from tiger prawns and mussels to a whole crab served in the shell. There’s even a selection of freshly caught oysters to get you both in the mood for nocturnal shenanigans.
The Spaniards recommend rosé Cava as the perfect pairing for seafood, and its easy to understand why. Freixenet’s Cordon Rosado boasts fresh summer berry flavours, without being overly sweet, and its slightly acidic nature perfectly balances out the natural saltiness of the oysters, mussels and crab.
The limited-edition offer will be available to pre-order on Deliveroo. The service will be available from 5pm on 14th February. Users will simply need to select the Freixenet Valentine’s Platter on the Galley London menu and will be able to place their order up 24 hours in advance, whilst stocks last.
For passionate carnivores with gourmet tastes
field & flower Chateaubriand meat box
“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” goes the famous (slightly sexist) saying. At 7 Star Life, we believe the way to any male, female or gender fluid person’s heart is indeed through their tummies, so we are wildly enamoured with the meat boxes by field & flower. The quaint story behind this artisan food brand involves a farmer and a food lover meeting at agricultural college before setting up their meaty company a few years later on James Flower’s family farm in the heart of the Gordano Valley in Somerset. Since then, field & flower work with some of the best independent Somerset farmers and fishermen who share their animal welfare and sustainability values, so you can rest assured that all produce is of optimum quality. Step away from that value pack of factory farmed minced meat from Tesco.
To impress the living bejesus of of your “bae” this Valentine’s Day you can make a Pinterest-worthy, grass-fed, free range Beef Wellington by ordering their Chateaubriand (£36.98) and following their easy-to-follow recipe here.
After doing the same last week, I can assure you that this is truly the best tasting Chateaubriand I have tasted out of a restaurant. All who tried my meaty creation, wrapped in its golden pastry glory showered me in compliments, resulting in a slightly big, somewhat smug head. Hey, you have to love yourself before you can love another right?
For a romantic, DIY cocktail making night in
Gin and vodka courtesy of Chase Distillery
Forget fighting through a mass of drunken bankers freshly released from the office to get to the bar on Valentine’s Day. Why not stay at home and make your own romance-themed cocktails with your beloved using the finest quality spirits? Family-owned Chase Distillery delivers a range of flavoured vodkas and gin right to your door and lists Valentine’s Day cocktail recipes on its website to ignite your creative boozy side. This family-run company is housed in a converted hop-kiln barn nestled amongst 400 acres of Herefordshire farmland.
With vast potato fields and idyllic apple orchards, it’s in this scenic farm where they convert these crops into their award-winning single-estate vodka and fragrant gin – interestingly made from vodka. The intricate artisanal distillation process adopts traditional methods hailing from the 1900’s and uses a bespoke copper batch pot and Europe’s tallest rectification tower to master the spirit making process from seed to bottle.
Their Valentine’s Day friendly Williams Pink Grapefruit Gin comes in a snazzy pink bottle and has been infused with juniper buds and berries for a dry, fresh finish. Wild botanicals have also been added, including cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, almond, coriander, cardamom, cloves, liquorice and lemon for a robust, heady flavour.
As much as I adored their zesty grapefruit gin, I was also slightly enamoured with the Chase Vodka, which was silky smooth, perfect for cocktail making and amazingly left me with no hangover. Well some do say potatoes are one of your five a day…