January is over, and you know what that means: the dark, cold days of February are upon us. Luckily, there is one bright spot during the shortest month of the year: Valentine’s Day. Sure, some people proclaim that it’s a Hallmark holiday, and others love to hate on the celebration of romance, but it can be a great day — if you do it right. So, whether you’re already part of a cozy twosome, or you’re looking to win points with your crush, check out our top five tips for a romantic, animal-free holiday date.
1. Set The Mood
Step one for a romantic night: create the right atmosphere. And nothing says sexy like lots of flickering candles. Not only do they create a cozy environment, but the soft light is universally flattering, which is key if you hope your evening ends with your clothes on the floor. Check out the naughty selections from A Scent of Scandal, whose vegan creations come in scents such as Morning Wood, Good in Bed and Get Lei’d. And while you’re at it, put on some sexy music, too. Anything from Beethoven to Britney can work, as long as it gets you in the mood.
2. Pop A Cork
Yucky fact: not all wine is vegan. While grapes are certainly animal-free, many commercial vineyards use gelatin or isinglass (aka fish bladders) to clarify the vino. But that doesn’t mean vegans have to be teetotalers. There are plenty of vegan wines on the market, if you know where to look. Whether you want a festive bubbly, a crispy white or a moody, dark red, The Organic Wine Company has got you covered. Not only do they offer of great selection of organic, vegan wine, some options are also biodynamic! So go ahead, get a little tipsy.
3. Serve Sensual Snacks
From light finger foods that won’t leave you feeling heavy (which could be important as the evening goes on) to rich, decadent dishes, there are hundreds of vegan menu options that entice the palate and tickle the senses. Why not try Creamy Kale Stuffed Mushrooms, Spinach Snackers, or Roasted Acorn Squash Risotto? Want something more traditional? Then you can’t go wrong with good old pasta; it’s classic for a reason. Vegan Tortellini or Tomato and Basil Pasta might be just the thing. Truly, all it takes to make a fantastic vegan feast is a little creativity and the internet. Just google “vegan recipes” and you’ll get more results than you can count.
Also don’t forget to browse our Top 10 Vegan Valentine’s Day Recipes!
And if you’re absolutely hopeless in the kitchen, don’t despair. Although a home cooked meal is certainly sexy, dining out is definitely an option. Vegan restaurants across the country are offering special holiday treats. Urban Food Crawl in L.A. is hosting vegan food tours, and NYC hot spots like Blossom, Candle 79 and Pure Food and Wine almost always serve a special holiday menu. If you don’t live in either of those cities, check with your local vegan restaurant; it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll be serving something special. One word of advice, no matter where you eat: if you plan on getting extra close to your honey, you might want to avoid garlic.
4. Dabble with Dessert
When it comes to sexy Valentine’s desserts, there’s really only one way to go: chocolate. Want something a little high-end and unconventional? Try vegan truffles. Allison’s Gourmet has a wide assortment of truffles, barks and patties that are beautifully crafted, and there are plenty of recipes out there if you want to try making your own. If you’re looking for more conventional, heart-shaped chocolates, we’ve got you covered with those as well. The Lagusta’s Luscious vegan “My Heart is Yours bonbon-filled chocolate heart” was made for the holiday, and Farm Sanctuary’s organic Chocolate Hearts not only taste delicious, but help benefit animals as well.
Down and dirty a little more your style? Then go for vegan chocolate fondue. Spread out some dippers (strawberries, bananas, nuts and pretzels are all good options), feed your sweetie, and lick the chocolate off each other’s hands — and possibly other parts.
5. Get Your Groove On
Hopefully, if you followed all of our tips above, your night will end on a naked note (at least, if that’s what you’re going for). And as the Boy Scouts say, it’s always best to be prepared. So check out The Sensual Vegan — the website has everything you need to get down, from condoms to lubes and toys to books. No time to order online? Good Clean Love also has some vegan options, and you can purchase their products at Whole Foods and other retailers.
There you go: all the tips and tools you need for the best Valentine’s Day ever. So get to work planning that sexy date — after all, the big day is only two weeks away!
*Items shown in featured photos are not necessarily the vegan items described in this post.