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Five ways to celebrate a socially distanced Valentine’s Day

The opportunity to enjoy a candlelit dinner in a small, intimate restaurant may be on pause, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate a special occasion in a unique and romantic way. This Valentine’s Day, we’ve got five safe and creative ideas to treat your sweetie to a picturesque pandemic holiday. It’s time to think outside of the heart-shaped box. 

Whether you’re down with dairy or choosin’ chocolate, a fondue night at home can make for one  memorable experience. Cheese shops in your area are the perfect place to get the goods, like the fondue kit offered by The French Kitchen in Colorado Springs, which includes a mix of three gourmet cheeses, wine, and bread (local pickup and delivery only). Olsson’s Fine Foods in New Jersey ships their kit, featuring two of their favorite cheeses to make their signature fondue.

For a sweet treat, Graham’s Chocolate in Illinois has everything you need ready to ship, including the fondue pot and housemade marshmallows, for dark chocolate dippin’. Vegans or persons with allergies will want to check out SoChatti in Indianapolis. Their shippable tasting flight of three single origin dark chocolates is dairy free, soy free, gluten free, nut free, vegan, kosher pareve, and halal. Pick up a warmer with your order and enjoy fondue on-demand! 

Want something a little closer to home? Take your fondue search to Yelp! 

Are you ready to wine and dine your Valentine? Then an in-home vino tasting might be just what you need this V-Day. And this year, wineries all across North America are making it easy for you to enjoy their wines safely at home. Matthiasson Wines in Napa Valley ships a six-bottle tasting pack, while Aperture Cellars of Healdsburg ships sets of two-to-four bottles. Sip & Share Wines in Indianapolis offers guided virtual SipSperiences for private groups with either four or seven tastings included.

Or, plan your own itinerary by contacting one of your favorite wine shops and asking them for recommendations. Pair it with some cheese and charcuterie, like the offerings from Lolita’s Wine Market in Saint Petersburg (who packs your tastings in a pizza box for easy picnicking), and you have the makings for one special evening. 

Indulge your sweetie’s sweet tooth by planning a dessert buffet! Fill your table with locally sourced treats near you like the gold leaf adorned “Versailles” tart from Rendez Vous French Bakery and Cafe in Corona del Mar, an astounding milkshake topped with waffles from Sablon Chocolate Lounge in Dallas, or sky high cream pies from Honeypie Cafe in Milwaukee. 

Perhaps chocolate treats are more your speed? Then pick up some decadent hot chocolate (like the “Angelina Hot Chocolate from Paris” shipped from Ann Arbor’s Zingermans?) and set up a hot chocolate bar with lucious whipped cream, fluffy marshmallows, meringues, and candy from your favorite local bakery or candy shop. Or, up your chocolate box game with a set of bons from Detroit’s Bon Bon Bon. Partnered with Detroit chef Jon Kung of Kung Food, their V-Day collection includes the sweet (“S&M” filled with strawberries and mascarpone) and the spicy (“Chill Hottie” made with chili oil, caramel, and cola ganache) and everything in between. Search for your local sugary splurge on Yelp to create your own spread.

While many spas and salons are open across North America, you may want something a bit more intimate to celebrate. So why not plan your own DIY spa night? Visit a local apothecary to pick up bath salts, skin care, and aromatherapy to help spoil your sweetie. At Helen + Hildegard Herbal Apothecary in Toronto, you can find massage oils, heirloom flower salt soaks, and clay masks (offering store pickup and shipping through Canada) or splurge on 24k gold face masks, fancy French perfumes, luscious shaving creams, and more at Merz Apothecary in Chicago. 

Just add candles, rose petals, and a smooth jazz soundtrack and let the pampering begin. 

It’s never been easier to host a movie night at home and it’s even easier these days to zhuzh it up and create a truly remarkable cinematic experience. Throw out the microwave popcorn and find a theatre offering carryout concessions near you. Add in some to-go cocktails and dinner and you’re ready to screen a classic. Really want to go all out? Find an AV store near you to buy or rent projectors, screens, sound equipment and more. 

Prefer a big screen? Then take a look at Yelp’s list of the top drive-in theaters across the US and enjoy a socially distanced flick like they did in the old days. Or, contact a local cinema (like Studio 35 Cinema & Drafthouse in Columbus or the Alamo Drafthouses) and rent out your own screening room for a private IRL movie experience. 

Want more inspiration? Check out Yelp’s lineup of events that are sure to leave you feeling the love. From February 1-12 learn how to bake sweet treats, craft romantic cocktails, make DIY bath bombs and more! Treat a loved one, or better yet… treat yo’self!