The Christmas decorations may still be rattling around in the front yard, but ready or not, here comes Valentine’s Day! For some it’s a reminder to celebrate those you love, for others, it’s a reminder that monogamy and romantic relationships are simply a social construct. Either way, you might find yourself shopping for a vegan this year. Or maybe you’re a vegan looking to keep your Valentine’s Day gifts aligned with your values. So here are some of my suggestions for a perfectly sweet vegan Valentine’s Day.
Chocolate is considered an aphrodisiac, so gifting a heart-shaped box of chocolates to someone you love (or like, or just wanna make out with) makes perfect sense. Vegans often find themselves left out of this category not only because so many chocolates contain milk, but also because cocoa farming has a dark secret – child labor and/or slavery. Of course vegans aren’t the only ones concerned with human exploitation, but we do tend to look into the ethics of our foods on a deeper level than others. For both of these reasons, and because they are simply exquisite, I can’t recommend Lagusta’s Luscious chocolates highly enough. Year after year they appear on lists of ethical chocolatiers,
Lagusta’s offers lots of options from the traditional box of bon bons, to giant, heart-shaped Tahini Meltaway (my favorite), to a life-sized chocolate skull for your Valentine to smash open and retrieve even more treats inside. You can also add non-edible gifts such as coffee mugs or tote bags to your order, plus shop a variety of Sweet Maresa’s baked goods to your order, which leads me to…
From NY, With Love
For me, the perfect Valentine’s Day treat is something that’s at once decadent, but petite. I want to indulge, but I don’t want to change into sweatpants or need a nap. Macarons are at the top of the list – light, chewy, sandwiched with jam, chocolate, or buttercream… and anyone who’s attempted to make them knows, a pain in the butt. These little “happy burgers” as Teno used to call them when he was little, are as beautiful to look at as they are delightful to eat. But, as the base is mostly egg whites, they’re often elusive to vegans. Sweet Maresa’s in NYC is a vegan bakery that specializes in these French confections (as well as delightful Italian cookies, and some of the best coffee cakes I’ve ever eaten.)
Yep, It’s Lingerie
You really need to know your Valentine well to determine whether or not lingerie is the right gift. And even then, choosing lingerie they’ll like is a gamble. But chances are, if your sweetie is vegan, they’re already a fan of Purrfect Pineapples. Vegan-owned, and definitely one of the pioneers of the handmade lingerie scene, Puurfect Pineapples pairs classic silhouettes with fun and unusual prints – everything from black lace with bats to cute little kittens. And it’s not all cutesy-cutesy, either, because you can also order lacy underthings embellished with inverted crosses if your Valentine has an evil streak.
All with the piece of mind that you won’t find any animal-derived materials such as silk or leather, and that the designer and seamstress herself has values similar to your own (or to your Valentine’s!)
Set The Mood
I know not everyone was blessed with a husband who loves to make candles, so you have to buy them. And in fact, even though Tony does love candle making he also still likes to buy them and receive them as gifts. I’m a big fan of Burke & Hare Co., who I first learned of when they did a Type O Negative collab candle with my friends at LastCraft. Not only do they make really complex seasonal scents in sleek, modern packaging, but they also make perfume oils and room sprays to make your whole vampire’s den smell lovely.
Take Another Little Pizza My Heart
Sweets, sweets, sweets but what if you’re like me and your vegan Valentine prefers savory? Hang onto your butts, because here comes heart-shaped vegan pizza! From my hometown Chicago, that just so happens to be made with Italian Seitan from the company I friggin’ work for, Upton’s Naturals. I present to you MyPi vegan pizzas that you can ship just about anywhere! These romantic pies are available with a huge variety of vegan-friendly toppings, and come in 2-packs and 4-packs.
Charcuterie You + Me
A few months ago I binge-watched Rome, a very horny period drama from the early 2000s. One detail I was totally obsessed with was that every time there was a social gathering, everyone lied around on plush sofas eating what was essentially charcuterie. Huge trays of bread, olives, cheese, cured meats, and olive oil would be brought out and everyone would just lounge around plucking various combinations of small bites and washing them down with wine.
Charcuterie is a great Valentine’s Day meal option because you can decorate your board with edible flowers, arrange the various fruits, nuts, non-dairy cheeses, and vegan meats in dazzling displays, and eat with your hands like a couple of sexy goblins. When I can’t find the specialty cheeses and meatless meats I’m looking for in my local stores, I turn to Vegan Essentials.
They have a charcuterie and pate section, but I also look at the slices and sausages section for my boards. They also offer tons of artisan cultured cheeses, including some from my friends at Cheeze & Thank You.
The Love Witch
First of all, if you have not seen The Love Witch, please make that your Valentine’s Day viewing. I was first gifted Witch Baby products by my friend Jessica, a practicing witch. I’ve been a fan and customer ever sense. 100% vegan, their soaps, scrubs, body butters and more are magically scented, and will fill your whole bathroom, if not home, with their luxurious fragrance. YOu can shop the Valentine’s Day collection, or go rogue and choose from their best-sellers. I personally am a repeat buyer of their Love body butter, a creamy blend of pink lady apples and rose that comes with a piece of rose quartz tucked inside.
Sealed With a Kiss
In this weird time where so many of us have been separated from our friends and family for months, or even years, a handwritten note means a lot. Yes, we can all keep in touch via email and social media, but there’s something delightful about getting a piece of mail. So whether you’re looking for a card to accompany a gift you’re giving in person, or you just want to send a note to someone you love… who happens to be vegan, my go-to card shop is Betty Turbo.
There are tons of fun original designs for everyone from dessert lovers to wrestling fans, but it’s the card with the nooch reference that really does it for me. There’s even an Anti-Valentine’s Day card if that’s your vibe.
The Way to a (Hu)man’s Heart
Christmas grosses me out because it’s one of our most flagrant displays of capitalism – so why don’t I feel the same about Valentine’s Day? I don’t know, maybe because there’s a little less pressure to go into crippling debt to participate. But also, it’s very acceptable to give a homemade gift for Valentine’s Day, because it’s personal and meaningful and romantic. Cooking a lovely dinner at home for your loved one is a super sweet idea – and COVID-friendly. I recommend Vegan Pasta e Ceci because it’s hearty, but not heavy, a little bit spicy, and I’m biased, but I think Italian food is the sexiest of all foods. Have you ever listened to the sound pasta makes when you stir it? I mean…
Made With Love
While we’re on the subject, you also don’t have to spend tons of cash on chocolates if it’s not in your budget, or if you’re in a time pinch. You can make a really impressive little box of handmade vegan truffles with some easy-to-source ingredients. Visit your local craft supply store for a heart-shaped box and some ribbon and you’re in business. If you’re more ambitious than that, pick up Lagusta Yearwood’s book Sweet + Salty and recreate her best-selling treats at home.
Babies and Dogs and Stuff
Valentine’s Day has a certain reputation, but in recent years people have started using it as an excuse to celebrate all sorts of platonic love. Galentine’s Day is typically celebrated on Feb. 13th, and is a way for groups of women to celebrate their love for one another. Treating your children or fur children to a treat is a nice way to include everyone, too. My dad always gave my sister and I chocolates on Valentine’s Day, and I looked forward to being included every year. (Therapy break – oh, have we discovered why I love this holiday that makes no sense for me to love?)
No Whey has lots of vegan Valentine’s Day treats, including the super kid-friendly tube of Chocolate No-Nos. Sjaack’s also makes a lot of kid-friendly, organic chocolate treats like their Bear Hug, a dark chocolate heart filled with vegan gummy bears.
My little floofs have sensitive stomachs, so I plan on making their Valentine’s this year so I can be sure to only use ingredients that agree with them. These Raspberry Peanut Butter Treats look perfect, and I think they’ll love them.
I hope I’ve helped you find the perfect gift for your vegan Valentine, or even a little something special for yourself. Be sure to tell me in the comments if you discovered something new here – or if you have a great vegan gift idea that I omitted!