Some people will go to restaurants for intimate, distant dinners. Many of us will stay at home and celebrate our relationships (or friends, or roommates) the best we can.
You can make your day special by thinking about your favorite foods, and then taking it up a notch. Spend more on high-end ingredients than you normally would and treat yourself to something that you wouldn't cook at home.
You can bring a gourmet steak dinner home if that is your ideal Valentine's Day meal. Porter Road Meats, a Nashville, Tennessee company, offers hand-cut, dry-aged, humanely sourced meats. You might try the teres major or a few perfect rib-eyes. The founders of the company are passionate about using whole animals and minimizing waste.
Or, lobster! McLoons Lobster Shop in Maine offers a Valentine's Day Package for Two that includes clam soup, two lobster rolls, and a blueberry bread pudding with a heart shape. This is a perfect meal for lobster lovers and takes only 10 minutes to prepare.
Maybe you are looking for a fun and exciting sushi meal. Blue Ribbon Sushi is based in NYC and will send you a DIY dinner set with fresh fish, sushi rice and seaweed. You can also add caviar, lobster and crispy rice cakes.
.... is a type of caviar. There are many types of caviar, from the expensive to the budget-friendly. It can be served on blini, or small toasts with a dollop creme fraiche and sour cream. You can also add it to a simple pasta or scrambled egg dish. Fulton Fish Market will ship directly to your location. There are many options, from wild salmon roe starting at $20 per jar up to Osetra (a lot)
Cheese is the way to many people's hearts. Stinky, creamy, crumbly, delicate, funky cheese. Many of them have a crush on the Cowgirl creamy cheeses in the North Bay of California. Warning: Their triple creme organic Mt. Tam could become a routine.
Another option is to have a flashy Valentine's Day breakfast. You can elevate your eggs by adding a few slices of crisp, upscale bacon like the Peter Luger’s Steakhousein Brooklyn. They serve strips of their caramelized bacon for an appetizer -- it's a treat! Bill E's Bacon is a thick-cut slice of bacon from Fairhope in Alabama that can rival mass-market brands.
A premium bottle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar might be a top-of-the line cooking ingredient.
Let's not forget butter. Butter is butter. While supermarket butters can be used for baking and everyday cooking, it is not recommended to use them in your daily cooking. However, cultured butters or butters made in Europe are a great way to make a difference.
Banner Butter is available in both salted and unsalted from Atlanta. It also has Smoked Sea Salt and Roasted Garlic. Basil, Parsley, and Dark Chocolate for Valentine's Day. Minerva Dairy is a family-owned creamery that has been around for over 120 years. It offers flavor options like Lemon Poppy Seed or Everything Bagel. These butters sound like a lot of fun, don't you think?
Chili crunch is a popular condiment for Asian food. It can be used in stir fries or other dishes, and it is also a popular topping for ice cream. Yes!). You can treat yourself or your Valentine with a new jar. Popular brands include Momofuku and Fly By Jing.
Shoyu sauces, Japanese-style soy sauces, are gaining popularity. Mikuni wild Harvest Shoyu sauce is available in beautiful bottles and interesting flavor (notice the smoked or cherry blossom varieties).
Even the most humble ingredients can be improved. Bean lovers will be happy to know that California-based Rancho Gordo's heirloom bean is creamier than other dried beans.
A good pasta dish is a reasonable luxury. Even a few extra dollars can make all the difference. Filotea eggs pasta is handmade in traditional methods in the Marche region in Italy. Tagliatelle or fettucine? Or spaghetti with cuttlefish Ink? You're on your way to creating something truly special.
You and your Valentine's Day companions may be glued to the TV, watching a romantic comedy. This Valentine's Day, you can elevate your popcorn experience. Stone Hollow Popcorn can be purchased by the jar, or in gift boxes. You have the option of choosing from heirloom varieties such as Lady Finger, Blue, and Red.
We can't talk Valentine's Day without mentioning chocolate. There are many options. You could treat your loved ones to fancy chocolates, such as the classic, handcrafted mice with almond ears and toasted almonds from L.A. Burdick or the Colorful Love Box from andSons chocolatiers. It's a stunning array that is almost too beautiful to eat (but you'll get used to it).
Midunu Chocolates were made in Ghana. The gem-like confections honor African chocolate-making tradition. You can get a four-piece chocolate tasting kit with a flavor wheel, tasting sheets and other goodies.
You can also get creative and start baking. Choose a chocolate that will raise your brownies/cakes/cookies/tarts up a level: brands like Ghirardelli, Guittard,Valrhona, and Endangered Species.
A new pan might be the perfect treat for a regular cook. Smithey creates cast-iron and carbon steel pans that are so stunning you may want to keep them off the stove. The round roaster looks like a small sculpture and the mini skillets, which are adorable and perfect for making warm dips and brownies for two, are just as charming.
It's better to stay home for Valentine's Day than ever!