Tis the season for romance, which if you ask us isn't a moment too soon. All this cold and snow and ice is making this winter an extra rough one, and nothing eases the spirit like quality time with someone you love. Before you start with the Valentine's Day hatin', we don't just mean a boyfriend/girlfriend, necessarily. This is a nice time to get snuggly with a pal, a sibling, or even a furry friend, and remind them how much they are loved. When you're not looking for big-deal gifts like jewelry or whatever, or you're headed to a Galentines Day party and want to bring a hostess gift, we always think things to eat and drink are the best bet. Don't know where to start? Well, we've found some delicious treats, accented with coffee of course, that make sweet V-Day gifts.
Badass Brooklyn-based chocolatiers Mast Brothers produce ridiculously good chocolates, made with the highest quality ingredients, and always sporting the most striking packaging. Their dark chocolate with coffee is made with Stumptown beans, naturally. In Philly, Mast Bros. products are available at Art in The Age, a rad boutique in Old City.
Wine or champagne may be the more traditional "romantic" drinks, but a foil topped large format bottle of beer is a modern way to go. A 750 ml is the perfect size for sharing, and a beer brewed with coffee is kinda sexy: dark, smooth, and strong. Speedway Stout, from California's AleSmith Brewing Company, also packs a boozy punch at 12%, and is brewed with pounds of coffee for an extra rich flavor. This stout is jet black in the glass, roasty and malty with pronounced notes of coffee and chocolate - pretty much the perfect pour for staying cozy on a frigid night. Bottles of Speedway Stout can be found at the Local 44 bottle shop in West Philly.
We're not totally sure why cheese is so romantical, but it's just one of those indisputable facts of life. A well composed cheese plate is like a poem made of food, so it's not the place to skimp out. Knock his/her/their socks (or pants?) off with Barely Buzzed, an incredible espresso and lavender rubbed cheese from Beehive Cheese Co. out of Utah. This creamy, nutty, full-bodied cheese is made from milk from Jersey Cows and exudes notes of caramel and butterscotch. Beehive Cheese Co. is run by two brothers-in-law, Pat Ford and Tim Welsh, whose passion for making cheese the old fashioned way, using only the cleanest ingredients possible, makes them a company after our own hearts. Their cheeses can be bought online, or at Dean & DeLuca for our New York friends.
So, whether you're with your lover or flying solo, find someone to share a treat with, give a hug to or spend a few hours hanging with, just enjoying one another's company. There's a reason V-Day comes in the darkest hour of winter - we all need a little extra warmth.