Because nothing says ‘I love you’ like a whole cheese, a really enormous ham or a big pot of something fishy
Who exactly decided Valentine’s Day was an occasion for chocolate and chocolate only, we’re not sure (The Milk Tray man? Terry, he of the All Gold?) – but we’re calling for a revolt. Forget the same old feeble box of chocs and instead treat the special person in your life to a gift that a proper greedy person gourmand will truly appreciate.
Because the cornerstone of any good relationship is carbohydrates, woo your pizza-loving paramour with this serious bit of kit. Just watch their eyes light up as they imagine a montage of all the cosy nights you’ll spend kneading dough, playfully throwing flour at each other, admiring your perfectly crisp sourdough base and still finding each other attractive despite the mozzarella oozing in stringy globs down both your chins.
And if that never happens, they can always use it to press the generic bunch of flowers you’ll buy them next year.
What to write on the tag: "Because you're sizzling hot, with a truly perfect bottom. Also, it hurts if I drop you on my toe.”
£10 from ProCook
When Marilyn Monroe performed her famous routine in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, we believe what she really meant to sing was, “a shoulder of aged serrano ham presented on its very own stand is girl’s best friend” – but to be fair, "diamonds" does scan better.
And like a huge diamond, this is a gift that will be cooed over, stroked fondly and immediately shown off on Facebook. You can always bank on the getting the right answer when the question you pop is: "do you want the world’s poshest ham and cheese toastie?"
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
£44.70 from Jamonprivé
What to write on the tag: "To my charcuterie cutie, may our love be preserved for the ages. Hope you never give me the cold shoulder! No seriously, it's best stored at room temperature."
More fruitful than a plant and a particularly great gift if they’re someone you might like to breed with one day, a herb garden is about as non-committal a nurturing test as you can give. Except for maybe sea monkeys.
This pretty planter has room to produce a whole range of different herby seasonings, and it can be personalised too – so you could have "a bunch of flowers would be dead by now" inscribed on it as a reminder.
What to write on the tag: "May our love blossom and grow like a fragrant oregano, and not get that weird white mould on its leaves."
£9.99 from Primrose
You’re not the only one who needs to let off steam around the calendar’s schmaltziest holiday. Ceramic pie birds allow vapour to escape from your pie filling while it cooks, keeping the pastry crisp and preventing things turning into a soppy mess. And hey, it could do the same for your love life!
It’s better to buy them a pair rather than just one, for obvious romantic reasons. And multiple pies.
What to write on the tag: “From one lovebird to another! Hope things will be getting steamy later … (not because you’re full of hot air).”
£6.50 from Le Creuset
Truffles might be traditional Valentine’s fare, but who says they need to be made out of chocolate? More or less the foodie equivalent of a Rolex (if Rolexes could be dug up from the earth and grated sparingly over your risotto) these swanky fungi will never fail to excite a proper food-lover.
What to write on the tag: "Happy Valentine's Day, to my rare delicacy. I'm glad I snaffled you out of the mud before a pig did."
£37.50 from Truffle Hunter
We like our Valentines like we like our coffee – rich, smooth, and delivered helpfully to our door at regular intervals in a keep-fresh sachet.
If the object of your affection is the type who won’t get out of bed for less than a bucket of Kenyan roast French-press, a gift subscription to gourmet coffee service Kopi is sure to make them sit up and pay attention. Even more alertly than they did before.
What to write on the tag: "Full-bodied and full of beans, you've really got me buzzing! And occasionally you trigger an anxiety attack."
Subscriptions start at £24 from Kopi
Those dinky heart-shaped ramekin dishes are great, but do you know what's even better? Quality cookware that you'll actually use for the other 364 days of the year, too.
This beautiful dish from cookware gods Le Creuset will last for years and years, which has the bonus effect of meaning your Valentine can never break up with you – or risk feeling sad every time they eat a flaky pastry thereafter.
What to write on the tag: "Because you're a dish! How deep is my love? As deep as this pie."
£22 from Le Creuset
The literal definition of a gift that keeps on giving, Cake Nest will deliver a fresh slice of cake through your beloved’s letter box every month.
Imagine the joy of hearing a "thunk" on the doormat and rushing to discover it’s not another letter telling them they qualify for a special pewter-level credit card or a thoughtful "handwritten" letter from a prospective MP, but a lovingly-boxed slice of lemon drizzle! You’d be responsible for that joy.
What to write on the tag: "Because I'll love you next month, and the month after, and the month after ... I will love you for the next six months, minimum."
£39 from Cake Nest
One of the UK’s most distinctive cheeses, yarg is actually named after the cheesemaker’s surname (Gray) spelled backwards – not local Cornish pirate-speak. Arrrrr, tis a shame. But there’s nothing else disappointing about this nettle-wrapped beauty, which comes in round, heart-shaped, and (for the romantically-confident) wild garlic varieties.
Present it, accept their eternal gratitude, then just wait for the glorious moment a month / week later when you can whip out your greatest Anchorman impression. "You ate the whole wheel of cheese? How’d you do that? Heck, I'm not even mad. That's amazing."
What to write on the tag: "Never leaf me!" or “Ouy evol I!”, which is "I love you" backwards. Smooth.
£18.95 from Lynher Dairies
For tweed-suited scone fanciers and anyone who thinks love was better in Nancy Mitford books, Patum Peperium’s Gentleman’s Relish is pretty much the only condiment worth considering.
Give them this elegant porcelain pot of the iconic anchovy paste, and afterwards they can wash it out and use it to store trinkets. What larks.
What to write on the tag: "To a perfect gentleman… I relish spending time with you. It’s just a shame you smell of anchovies.”
£18.25 from Melbury & Appleton