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. If you’re anything like us, February 14 is your favorite day of the year, which might explain why we’re always looking for fun and easy ways to make Valentine’s Day even more exciting. So, whether you’re already part of a cozy twosome or you’re looking to win points with your crush, check out these five tips for a romantic, animal-free holiday date.
1. Create the right atmosphere
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. Nothing gets us more in the mood than listening to vegan singer/songwriter Stevie Wonder and slow dancing to songs such as “Isn’t She Lovely” or “You Are the Sunshine of My Life.”
2. Pop the bottle
Whether you drink alcohol or not, we’re all on the hunt for that perfectly romantic bottle to share with our significant others. Rather than reaching for your usual weeknight vino, take the romance up a notch by choosing something special to set the mood, and then pop the cork. Luckily, there are plenty of vegan wines on the market—if you know where to look. Whether you want a festive bubbly or a crisp white, we can’t recommend Cupcake Vineyards’ prosecco enough. Crisp and refreshing, this beverage is the perfect combination of sweet and tangy with bubbles that seem to last forever. So go ahead, and get a little tipsy. Or, for some booze-free bubbles, try some sparkling cider.
3. Sexy snacks
From light finger foods that you can share (that won’t leave you feeling heavy) to rich, decadent dishes, there are countless vegan menu options that entice the palate and tickle all five senses. However, nothing says “romance” like Italian food, as Italians are passionate people, especially in terms of the food they prepare for their loved ones. You can’t go wrong with pasta, which is why a simple tomato and basil pasta might be the ultimate in vegan Valentine’s Day dishes. Need another reason to make pasta? You can re-enact the scene from Lady and the Tramp with your plus-one.
4. Dessert time
When it comes to sexy Valentine’s desserts, there is really only one way to go—chocolate! But what if you want something a little high-end and unconventional? Try making vegan maca truffles. Maca truffles are irresistible, and they might just make your partner feel the same about you. Containing two of the sexiest superfoods in existence (maca and cacao, both of which are known for their aphrodisiac qualities), these truffles pretty much guarantee after-dinner activities. If you’re looking for more conventional, heart-shaped chocolates, Lagusta’s Luscious vegan “My Heart is yours” chocolate bonbons are a super-sweet way to show your love. Down and dirty a little more your style? Opt for a vegan ganache. Spread some dippers (strawberries, bananas, nuts, and pretzels), feed your sweetie, and lick the chocolate off each other’s hands—and possibly other parts.
5. Seal the deal
Hopefully, if you followed all of the tips above, your night will end on a naked note (at least, if that’s what you are going for). That said, “sealing the deal” can be whatever you want it to be. In fact, a simple kiss could be the perfect way to end this sexy V-Day date.
Michelle Siriani is a plant-based chef and graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City and pastry chef at Peacefood Cafe.