I have to admit it, I struggle a bit when it comes to gifting and Valentine’s Day.
Sure, my wife loves chocolate and flowers, but that just seems so predictable, and the price gouging, especially on flowers, in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day is egregious.
I would honestly skip giving gifts on Valentine’s Day entirely, but I’m pretty sure my wife feels differently.
I am not alone in my conundrum. Just take a gander at some Valentine’s Day statistics courtesy of cardhub.com.
Valentine’s Day 2016 by the numbers:
▪ People are expect to spend $19.7 billion this year for Valentine’s Day.
▪ The average person will spend $146.84.
▪ Fifty-three percent of woman say they would break up with their significant other if they got nothing for Valentine’s Day.
▪ As many as 14 million proposals are made on Valentine’s Day.
The percentage of women who’d break up if they didn’t get a Valentine’s Day gift particularly caught my eye. I’m sure my wife doesn’t fall into this category, but why take any chances, right?
So, armed with numbers and motivated by fear, I tried to think outside the chocolate and flower box and look for some unique, tasty and local gifts for the love in your life.
First, some thoughts for the women out there. In general, I think men are tougher to buy for than women. Most guys I know wouldn’t really be thrilled with a box of chocolates or a bouquet of roses. But, bouquets of meat? Now, that’s something I could get behind.
That’s exactly what Stuart Aldridge at The Broadway Butcher is offering. Aldridge got my attention with this Facebook post.
Speck and Prosciutto are two of my favorite things to eat on the planet, and Aldridge and his crew have put them in an attractive Valentine’s Day package.
“So my target audience is really anyone who enjoys cured meats,” he said. “Male. Female. It doesn't matter. I just figured that it’s a different alternative to regular roses that just die in a few days and really serve no actual purpose. This way you get to enjoy the present both visually and by eating it.”
Staying on the meat theme, I’ve become a fan of the beef, poultry and sausage products of Kenny Barham and Barham Family Farms. I’ve gotten to know Barham from his stall at the Liberty Farmer’s Market. The two of us teamed up for a Farm to Table dinner out at the family farm in Kearney last fall.
Barham does things the right way. He uses no chemicals or hormones in his pasture-raised beef, chicken and pork. Barham’s website boasts that “You won’t believe your taste buds when you try our beef, dry-aged for 14 days!”
Barham’s steaks are amazing. I would gladly receive them as a Valentine’s Day gift or any of the other 364 days of the year. You can buy Barham’s products directly from their farm at 16600 N.E. 128 St., Kearney. You can also find a selection at The Sundry in the Crossroads.
Last, but certainly not least, we need something to help wash down the steaks and speck courtesy of Boozy Botanicals.
Boozy Botanicals is a collection of simple syrups infused with herbs, spices and florals. Former corporate attorney Cheryl Watt came up with the idea and the recipes, which she says are perfect for that someone special.
Watt calls it “mixology made easy,” and says her Boozy Botanicals can be used as cocktail mixers and also in tea, lemonade, coffee and sparkling water.
But, since I’m all about the booze, here’s Watt’s perfect Valentine’s Day cocktail creation.
White Chocolate Rose Martini
2 ounces of S.D. Strong Distilling Vodka
1 ounce of Shatto Milk Company Half / Half
1 ounce River Market Rose
2 ounces Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously for 30 seconds, strain into a chilled martini glass and top with chocolate shavings
It’s velvety, and a sweet treat for yourself or that special someone. I also really like Champagne, so the Boozy Champagne Cocktail sounded good too.
You fill champagne flute with 4 to 5 ounces champagne. Slowly pour 1 ounce of your favorite Boozy Botanicals Simple Syrup into the flute, stir if desired.
You can find Boozy Botanicals at Urban Provisions General Store at 26th and Guinotte and at the Tea Drops downtown and in Westport.
I hope this gets your Valentine’s Day gift giving juices flowing. And, if it doesn’t, there’s always boxes of chocolate and flower bouquets waiting for you at the supermarket.
Dave Eckert was producer and host of “Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert,” which aired on PBS-TV and Wealth TV for 12 seasons.