Delicious Valentine’s Day Gifts to Buy That Aren’t Chocolate Boxes

A pickle bouquet, cherry blossom tea, and heart-shaped pretzels are all romantic options.

valentine valentines day gifts food drink tea chocolate omsom pickles
Image by Chineme Elobuike for Thrillist
Image by Chineme Elobuike for Thrillist

The problem with boxes of chocolates is that they never have enough of the actual chocolates you want. Sure, the caramels enrobed in dark chocolate are great, but you only receive two pieces of those and then have to wade your way through a white chocolate monstrosity or something with an orange filling that tastes like battery acid. Valentine’s Day should make you cringe with how much you love your partner and friends and family, not how gross the chocolates you received taste.

Because of this, we suggest buying food and drink-related gifts that aren’t mysterious boxes of chocolates. Some people enjoy savory over sweet, others might like their chocolates reinterpreted in a new and tastier way. Whatever the case, here are some excellent and swoon-worthy Valentine’s Day gifts to give this year.

For the fourth year in a row, Grillo’s Pickles is selling a pickle bouquet kit for you to assemble for your beloved. This is for all the pickle guys and gals and enbies out there who wouldn’t be excited about flowers but would definitely appreciate some briny spears. The kit comes with skewers, a Grillo’s bucket vase, some plastic floral fillers, and assembly instructions. You can spice it up with mozzarella balls, salami roses, and other pickled goodies to really take it to the next level.

Perhaps it’s not as aesthetically pleasing as an impeccably decorated box of chocolate-covered strawberries, but it’ll be just as—if not more—delicious. This pudding features roasted strawberries, large chunks of chocolate cake, and a ribbon of chocolate fudge icing all suspended in a vanilla pudding base. It is impossible to eat just one bite. Magnolia Bakery’s chocolate-covered strawberry pudding is available all of February, but February 11 is the last day you can order online to ensure delivery by Valentine’s Day.

Spice things up with Omsom’s Heat Lover’s Set, which features a collection of the brand's well-loved starters to help your valentine make larb, mala salad, spicy bulgogi, and pad kra pow. This gift even comes with a bonus: the prospect of spending time together cooking and a really great meal that will make you forget about the stress of making reservations for Valentine’s Day. This box includes 13 starters in total—which is enough to make 26 meals. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Nothing will warm your valentine’s heart up more than this collection of love-themed teas from David’s Tea. This set comes in a cute red box adorned with hearts and includes five blends of loose leaf teas like pink velvet cake, cherry blossom, and cinnamon rooibos. Also, it’s still February, which means it’s chilly out. Every time they go to make a cup of tea, they’ll think of you.

Heart-shaped pizzas are a bit of an obvious choice these days, but what about a heart-shaped pretzel? Bring the ball park home with heart shaped twists from the Milwaukee Pretzel Company, which ships nationwide. You can opt for just the pretzel—which weighs in at a whole pound—or get a gift set complete with nacho cheese and Nutella dipping cups.

This vinegar hails from Italy and pairs the sharp flavor of balsamic with the richness of chocolate for a product that goes great with fresh fruit or in a salad riddled with berries. It’s a more inventive—and versatile—take on chocolate that the food enthusiast in your life will definitely appreciate.

Sugarwish is a good option if you don’t know your Valentine as well as you’d like. What’s their go-to candy? Do they prefer coffee or tea? It doesn’t matter, because this option allows the receiver to choose their favorites—whether it be candy, popcorn, snacks, or even dog treats for a canine valentine. It’s more thoughtful than a gift card and the recipient will get exactly what they want.

For the last minute gift you can pick up at any Target, opt for the hot chocolate bombs created by in-house brand Favorite Day. You can get the strawberry-flavored rosettes that come in a pack of three and taste just like Nesquik strawberry milk, or the the heart-shaped raspberry-flavored bomb. Both are filled with mini marshmallows and adorable confetti hearts that spill out when melted.

Attempting the hot ones lineup might be an actually fun stay-at-home Valentine’s Day idea (although be careful around your eyes, and one another, if you’re eating through chicken wings and your hands get covered in the sauce). This set comes with the 10 hot sauces featured in season 17 of First We Feast’s hit interview show with flavors ranging from mild and sweet to volcanic magma in a bottle. It’s a spicy and daring gift, but may just win out over a boring box of chocolates.

Spread the Valentine’s Day love this year with some jam (sorry). This cute gift set provides advent calendar vibes but instead of crusty chocolates, behind each hidden compartment is a mini jar of either apricot, cherry, fig, grape, honey, orange marmalade, raspberry, strawberry, or wild blueberry jam. This will make breakfast and English muffins exciting all throughout February.

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Kat Thompson is a senior staff writer of food & drink at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @katthompsonn.