15 Romantic Valentine’s Day Gifts That Aren’t Stale Chocolates

15 Romantic Valentine’s Day Gifts That Aren’t Stale Chocolates

Because you can do better than the rock-hard chocolate sampler on the Walgreens end cap.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Heart-Shaped Pizza
Image: California Pizza Kitchen

Last Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend brought me a giant plastic bag full of popcorn from our favorite movie theater, which was still shuttered due to the pandemic. It rocked. I can’t imagine anything more romantic than sitting side-by-side on the couch, downing handfuls of primo popcorn. That is to say: edible Valentine’s gifts have come a long way since the days of rock-hard assorted chocolates. This year, skip the nougat and treat your sweetie to something with a little more oomph.

Advertisement

2 / 16

A pickle bouquet to awaken the passion

A pickle bouquet to awaken the passion

Image for article titled 15 Romantic Valentine’s Day Gifts That Aren’t Stale Chocolates
Photo: Grillo’s

Roses wilt and tulips droop, but pickles are forever. Well, not forever—but you’ll certainly get more utility out of a pickle bouquet than a bunch of wimpy flowers. Allow The Takeout to recommend Grillo’s make-your-own pickle bouquet kit, available for $20. Each kit includes a coupon for a free jar of Grillo’s pickles, along with 15 wooden pickle skewers, a card and card holder, tissue paper and filler, and a custom Valentine’s Day jar label. All kits can be purchased on Grillos.com.

Advertisement

3 / 16

Fancy chocolate for fancy people

Fancy chocolate for fancy people

Pile of different kinds of chocolate
Photo: Monika Skolimowska/picture alliance (Getty Images)

Let’s be clear: There’s certainly nothing wrong with a classic heart-shaped box of chocolates. This year, Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, and Crunch are all offering heart boxes through most major grocery stores. Ferrero Valentine’s Day Boxes are also always a hit. But the chocolate industry is notoriously evil, which is why we recommend pivoting to direct trade chocolate this year. Not only is direct trade chocolate more ethically sourced, it’s also, in many cases, very fancy to look at. Take Askinosie Chocolate’s signature Valentine’s Chocolate Tasting Kit, which includes everything you need to host your own chocolate tasting date, including tasting notes and a flavor wheel.

GoodSam is a similar operation offering what the brand calls “the first chocolate bar to combine regenerative farm practices, sugar-free, Non-GMO, Vegan, and Direct Trade.” GoodSam’s “One of Everything” package includes three chocolate bars, a bag of chocolate chips, and bags of candy-coated peanuts, almonds, and cashews.

Advertisement

4 / 16

Say “I love you” with caffeine

Say “I love you” with caffeine

Coffee beans
Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto (Getty Images)

What’s more romantic than a daily caffeinated reminder of your love? Coffee subscriptions are exactly what they sound like: weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly deliveries of the coffee bean of your choice, shipped right to your door. Plenty of smaller coffee operations offer monthly bean deliveries nationwide, and you can typically customize your subscription, whether you’d like to schedule a one-time delivery, a monthly delivery, or even a weekly delivery.

Advertisement

5 / 16

Those three little words: “Have a sandwich”

Those three little words: “Have a sandwich”

King's Hawaiian Sandwichgrams on Goldbelly [image provided]
Image: King’s Hawaiian

Sure, chocolate-covered strawberries are romantic, but there’s nothing sexier than supplying your loved one with a square meal. From February 1-28, King’s Hawaiian is partnering with three famous sandwich makers nationwide—Alidoro in New York City, Bunk Sandwiches in Portland, and Factor’s Famous Deli in Los Angeles—to create Sandwich Grams that you can order on Goldbelly and send to your loved one. What makes them special? Messages like the ones you typically see on candy hearts (“UR SWEET,” “BE MINE,” “LOVE YOU”) will be stamped right onto the sandwich bread, reminding your sweetie that they will forever remain your lil’ ham and Swiss.

Advertisement

6 / 16

NYC’s finest sweets for your sweetheart

NYC’s finest sweets for your sweetheart

Image for article titled 15 Romantic Valentine’s Day Gifts That Aren’t Stale Chocolates
Photo: Magnolia Bakery

With recent advancements in food transport technology (read: tons of dry ice), you can get iconic foods shipped from anywhere right to your door. Send your Valentine a Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding Variety Pack if you really want to go all out. Magnolia is also offering a shippable Valentine’s Day menu that includes Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pudding and Chocolate Covered Strawberry Brownie Bites. Decadence, baby! Decadence!

Advertisement

7 / 16

Lobster for your lobster

Lobster for your lobster

Lobster bouquet surrounded by rose petals
Photo: Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative

Dazzle your lover by arranging frozen seafood in a stunning bouquet. This year, the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative is bringing back its popular Maine Lobster Tail Bouquet just in time for V-Day. Each kit features what the Collaborative calls “The Sweetest Lobster on Earth,” with half a dozen 4-oz. lobster tails and an order of clam chowder for two. Plus, you can style your bouquet with skewers, festive wax paper, a burlap wrap, and an original Maine Lobster Valentine tag, all included with your $89.00 order.

Advertisement

8 / 16

Heart-shaped Hardee’s biscuits

Heart-shaped Hardee’s biscuits

Heart-shaped biscuits on wooden platter
Photo: Hardee’s

What could be more romantic than the aroma of a Hardee’s biscuit? The fast food brand is celebrating the season of L.U.V. throughout Valentine’s Day weekend with a perfectly starchy promo: all of Hardee’s biscuit menu items will come with a heart-shaped biscuit throughout Valentine’s Day weekend. The brand’s signature heart-shaped biscuits will be available during breakfast hours at participating Hardee’s locations nationwide, as well as Carl’s Jr. locations in Oklahoma. It’s not a Valentine’s Day gift, per se—then again, breakfast in bed may be the greatest gift of all.

Advertisement

9 / 16

The way to a Chicagoan’s heart

The way to a Chicagoan’s heart

Image for article titled 15 Romantic Valentine’s Day Gifts That Aren’t Stale Chocolates
Photo: Dark Matter Coffee x Jägermeister, The Original Rainbow Cone

If you can’t tell from our extensive hot dog coverage and general obsession with the Midwest, The Takeout is based in Chicago—and mighty proud of it. Thus, we’d like to recommend two very niche gifts for the Chicagoan, ex-Chicagoan, or future Chicagoan in your life:

  • Pictured left, Chicago-based Dark Matter Coffee has partnered with Jägermeister (not Chicago-based, but still very delicious) for two novelty products just in time for Valentine’s Day: cold brew coffee beans made with a blend of the classic liqueur, coffee, and a hint of chocolate, and a collaboration chocolate bar. Both products are non-alcoholic and available for purchase in Dark Matter Chicago stores, as well as at DarkMatterCoffee.com.
  • Pictured right, Illinois classic Rainbow Cone is now offering Valentine’s Day cakes available for pick-up at any of their three locations: Chicago–Beverly, Lombard and Darien. All Valentine’s Day cakes cost $49.99 and must be ordered 24 hours in advance. These aren’t shippable, but if you’re in the area, a Rainbow Cone cake sounds like the perfect way to surprise a ride-or-die Chicagoan.
Advertisement

10 / 16

Ice cream to warm the chilliest heart

Ice cream to warm the chilliest heart

Image for article titled 15 Romantic Valentine’s Day Gifts That Aren’t Stale Chocolates
Photo: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Ice cream is a sweet surprise for long-term couples, but it’s also a low-commitment gift idea if you’re still feeling out the relationship. It says “thinking of you,” but it’s also whimsical enough to avoid any hint of Swimfan-style obsessive sentiments. Fortunately, there’s still time to ship your dearest a gigantic box filled with sugary delights. For example, Jeni’s is currently offering specially curated Valentine’s Day packages. They ship for $13 flat, and you can choose from six pints or nine pints in lovey-dovey flavors like Brambleberry Crisp, Gooey Butter Cake, and Wildberry Lavender.

Advertisement

11 / 16

Woo a sexy single with kringle

Woo a sexy single with kringle

heart-shaped kringle pastry
Photo: O&H Bakery

Looking for the way into a Midwesterner’s corn-fed heart? Quit mingling and get... kringling. The many-layered pastry known as kringle is rich, buttery, and deeply, deeply Midwestern. If you’re not sure where to start, O&H Danish Bakery is currently shipping out a special Valentine’s treat collection from its headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin. The collection includes a heart-shaped cherry kringle alongside a scrumptious set of hand-dipped petit four conversation hearts.

Advertisement

12 / 16

A heart-shaped pizza pie? That’s amore

A heart-shaped pizza pie? That’s amore

Image for article titled 15 Romantic Valentine’s Day Gifts That Aren’t Stale Chocolates
Photo: California Pizza Kitchen

What’s more romantic than a Princess Diaries–style M&M’s apology pizza? A heart-shaped pizza, of course. If you’d like to dazzle your crush with a heart-shaped pile of cheese, sauce, and dough, look no further than the following retailers. (Note that not all of these pies are available for carry-out or delivery. Date night?)

  • California Pizza Kitchen is bringing back its heart-shaped thin crust pizzas, available nationwide (for dine-in only) starting February 9 through February 14.
  • Papa Johns is back with a heart-shaped thin-crust pizza that includes one topping of your choice. (You can add additional toppings at the regular menu price.) They’re available at $11.99 apiece through February 14.
  • Papa Murphy’s is back with its signature “HeartBaker” (boo) pizza this year, available in either cheese or pepperoni. You can also order chocolate chip cookie dough on the side.
  • Pizza Hut is offering heart-shaped pizzas for $11.99 through February 14 at participating locations (delivery, carryout, pick-up, or dine-in). For $16.99, you can tack on an Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie or Triple Chocolate Brownie.
Advertisement

13 / 16

Nuggets of love

Nuggets of love

Image for article titled 15 Romantic Valentine’s Day Gifts That Aren’t Stale Chocolates
Graphic: Tyson

Chicken nuggets are a perfect food. With that in mind, treat the apple of your eye to a big ol’ sack of Tyson’s Nuggets of Love. They’re now available for a limited time at select retailers nationwide.

We must also report that Tyson is giving away a limited-edition Sauce Stylus (Sauce... Stylus) that works like a pen as part of its V-Day promotion. The brand writes: “Simply fill the Sauce Stylus with a favorite dipping sauce and start scribing.” We’re not convinced that these could possibly work, although it’s fun to dream about scrawling “NICE ASS” across your partner’s nuggets. Unfortunately, we’ll never find out—the Sauce Stylus was only available via a now-concluded Instagram giveaway. The nuggets are still on store shelves, though.

Advertisement

14 / 16

Anoint your sweetheart’s bar cart

Anoint your sweetheart’s bar cart

Image for article titled 15 Romantic Valentine’s Day Gifts That Aren’t Stale Chocolates
Photo: Aperol

If your Valentine isn’t a wine person, you can still treat them to a bit o’ booze. Sites like ReserveBar are full of pre-assembled cocktail kits—like this sunset-colored, joy-sparking, Valentine-approved Aperol Spritz kit. This kit is also a splendid way to treat yourself if you’d rather forgo Valentine’s Day sentiments and kick it solo.

Advertisement

15 / 16

Craft a handmade bacon bouquet

Craft a handmade bacon bouquet

Image for article titled 15 Romantic Valentine’s Day Gifts That Aren’t Stale Chocolates
Photo: Smithfield

Handmade Valentine’s Day cards are out, and handmade bacon roses are in. If you’re comfortable getting crafty, allow us to recommend the bacon lover’s take on the classic rose bouquet. This crispy creation features a dozen roses made of bacon; while it’s not something you can order pre-assembled, the bouquet seems surprisingly easy to put together. You’ll just need to follow step-by-step instructions, available here courtesy of Smithfield.

Advertisement

16 / 16