As I am someone who both reviews and judges chocolate, my husband has decided to give up ever buying me any foodie treats unless I specify and pretty much buy it for him to give to me (a la Christmas). NOT romantic in the least. I should have bought myself a gift for the anniversary he missed too ;-) But I forgive him - after all, it was our 17th so easily forgotten, right?
If you've got a foodie other half (male or female) and are finding gifting difficult (as my husband claims it is for me), I've compiled a list which, should my husband ever find it, I'd like to be given myself. Not all of it mind you but something ;-) I've tried some (not all) of these things so I hope it helps you find something for the foodie in your life! Just use the clues in the descriptions and use your favourite search engine to find the right yumminess choice and someone tell my husband ;-)
Maison du Chocolat- I know that many of you - male and female - often leave things to the last possible minute and then panic. Well, you can just stop and go to the La Maison du Chocolat shop on Piccadilly and just pick up their Valentine's collection. All of them are a safe bet and as long as your foodie is a chocolate lover, this will be a big hit. Don't freestyle and start creating mixed boxes - go safe and go with the Valentine's collection - full stop (yes husband, I mean you). There are a range of sizes from £9 to £89
Partner not a chocolate lover? SCARY! Well, there is a cheese I found out about that is a heart-shaped cheese called Coeur de Neufchatel. It is apparently a French cow's milk cheese that was first made over 1,000 years ago as a gift for French girls to give English soldiers in Normandy. How amazingly sweet and unique! Never tried it but might have to now ;-) Similar to Camembert in texture and taste, it costs £5.50 from Paxton & Whitfield (and husband, I will share)
Paul A Young Sea Salt Caramels - Last year Paul created a giant dome of sea salt caramel gloriousness. Sadly you can't get those anymore *but* you can get a box of 4, 9, 16 or 25 individual chocolates and if you're adventurous you could mix some of the valentines flavours he's created in with the sea salt caramels (hint to husband - don't freestyle, just get the safe option). They are in stores only sadly, and only last 7 days (no trouble there ;-) ) I buy these all the time for myself *seal of approval* including at Christmas so my husband can gift me a box :-/
Charbonnel et Walker Truffle Kisses or Pink Champagne Truffles - As their biggest selling product, the pink champagne truffles from Charbonnel et Walker are a safe bet. Need a change from that? The truffle lips are 2 flavours inside (alternating ones) with a cute lip shape and slight differences in the shade of red/pink so you can tell which flavour you are scarfing. £20 for a sturdy box (but sweetheart, I've already had both boxes so maybe an apple..?)
Lucky's Fairy Tale Gourmet Snow White Apple - Now, I haven't tried these yet but they look absolutely amazing. I really enjoyed their funny Humpty Dumpty eggs with the filling safely sealed in between two chocolate layers that was shaped into a hollow egg, and these are the same only bigger! So husband, if you're reading this, they look quite yummy and I HAVEN'T TRIED IT YET. *hinthint* (husband: Envious Queen, Milk Chocolate please) £7.95
Hotel Chocolate 'Open Your Heart To Me' - what could be nicer than a milk chocolate heart box with actual filled chocolates inside from Hotel Chocolat? Oh husband, I would even share the chocolate heart with you! This seems like the perfect gift for any chocolate lover or foodie. Given you can eat the box as well as the chocolates inside it is irresistible and sharable ;-) What a treat! £26
Rococo Chocolate Love Letter - On the topic of chocolate hearts, if you're looking for something more artistic or perhaps smaller than the Hotel Chocolat offering, why not opt for Rococo's love letter in a chocolate heart. The staff will hand-calligraph your letter, fold it up and 'seal' it in a hollow chocolate heart for your love to find. So romantic, in shops only and only £9.50 (perfect to give me a gift of jewellery in husband dearest...) *hinthint*
William Curley Dessert Bar Gift Certificate - Oh husband! You know I go to this several times a year anyway so wouldn't it be a special sweet treat to gift me with a visit? You don't *have* to get me the one with the champagne although it would be a most glorious addition. The five course dessert bar is all made fresh on the day and if you sit at the bar, it is made in front of you (where I always sit ;-) ). I can often spend several hours chatting with a friend or the staff or the staff and a friend while enjoying the monthly changing menu. So you know husband, five gift certificates would be awfully nice too ;-) (I'm pushing my luck, aren't I readers?) £20, or £28 with champagne (per person) but Gift Certificates seem to be more expensive online
Not in London like my husband? Fear not because Toot Sweets in Shrewsbury has a 150 gram solid chocolate heart, made using delicious 70% Dark Amedei chocolate, with cinder toffee is encased in the middle of the heart. I loved their sea salt caramels in Marou chocolate at Easter so go buy stuff from here. Her prices are so low I swear she'll be out of business soon so buy it now - don't wait! The heart with honeycomb is only £8 (for Amedei! OMG!)
Paul Wayne Gregory Chocolate Teddy Bear - This is more for you, dear readers, than my husband as I already have one (on the seat beside the couch husband if you want to check...) ;-) but Paul Wayne Gregory is doing some amazing things with chocolate including this bear! The artwork is so beautiful you don't want to eat it but it's also delicious. If you're looking for the special someone in your life and need something that is really different but high quality, go for Paul Wayne Gregory. £9.45
Champagne is always a welcome gift and if you want it to taste the part as well as looking fab, go for Nicholas Feuillate Palmes d'Or 2002 which is not too dry and has honeyed fruit flavours. This is so drinkable you'll wonder where the bottle went. I'd happily buy this champagne for everyday if I could afford to, let alone a special occasion like Valentine's Day plus added bonus points it isn't from the supermarket (I'm looking at you husband...) £85
As you're probably aware, there's stuff all over the place as well. For example Harrods have roses that are white choc mousse with a hidden red fruit jelly on a brownie base (£4.95) as well as a heart-shaped cheesecake with a hidden cherry filling in the middle on a brownie base (£15.95) and if you'd like to push the boat out, the Champagne Bar in Harrods have a very special couple's menu for £100. That's for both of you so at £50 each it isn't a bad menu plus bottle of champers price but with my shellfish allergy and husband's dislike of anything spicy (read: with flavour) it wasn't quite right for us..
If you're outside London on foot shopping, Swanage and Winchester Chococo locations have delicate boxes made of chocolate (dark or milk) which are filled up with filled chocolates. This is besides the wicked cool robots and pirate booty they make in chocolate. Lavolio is for the Italian confection lover and the colours make it perfect for a Valentine's gift for a Chocolate lover. You can buy at them from La Bottega and Partridges or directly on the Lavolio website.
Now don't you dare say you don't know what to get your foodie special someone after I did all this work for you ;-) And husband, if my some miracle or act of god you are reading this, you have PLENTY to choose from so stop telling me I never give you any hints or ideas! >MWAH< Happy Hearts Day to you when it happens and hey - remember who saved your bacon... mmmmm... bacon....