The non-traditional Almost Vegetarian Valentine’s Day gifts

We started this three-part series looking at chocolate Valentine’s Day gifts for the almost vegetarian. Then we looked at Valentine’s Day gifts for the almost vegetarian to enjoy in bed.

And today? Well, today we are looking at less traditional Valentine’s Day gifts for us less traditional almost vegetarian types.

Cheese away your hunger
I love the idea of a midnight snack, sprawled on the couch, lit only by the soft glow of wonderful candles, and taking to time to catch up with each other as we leisurely indulge in some gorgeous cheeses.

If that sounds good to you, then I can help with the cheese and the candles.

Set the mood
There is a nice selection of organic candles to be had (thank you, Google). But if you want a recommendation, you might want to try the wonderfully named Something Wicked Candles.

These candles are made from toxin-free soy wax with natural hemp wicks. And they come in scents such as Lola (Black Currant) and Tululah (Blackberry, Basil, Nectarine) and come with their own box of matches.

I've got the Bonita (Coconut Lime) candle and it smells good enough to eat.

Cheese please
Okay. Now where do you get good cheese? One place I like is iGourmet for their amazing assortment. Not sure where to start? Here are some I think would be good:
- The luscious Shelburne Farms Aged Farmhouse Cheddar from Vermont
- A rich Cashel Blue which is wonderful melted on a baguette and served with a salad (and it makes salad suddenly seem so elegant)
- A Dutch Beemster with Mustard (I’m inordinately fond of mustard, so this works well for me)
- The Mediterranean Mahon
- Capra Honey Goat which is a lovely, almost sweet chevre

Of course, if you also need crackers and olive and other goodies to go with your cheese, you can find that here, too. Making iGourmet a handy site to know about.

One stop shopping
But what if you don’t have the time or patience to shop for cheeses one at a time? I’d go with a basket, such as the Artisanal Ultimate Cheese Basket from 1-800- (yes, they do more than just) flowers.

This is nice. Not only because it comes in a wonderful linen-lined, willow basket (which we couldn’t have around anyway because Sophie would chew on it — she is teething now), but because it has a nice selection of cheeses as well as a red onion marmalade and crackers. So what cheeses? Well, you’ve got everything from an Italian Prima Caciotta which is rubbed with a tomato and olive paste to give it a wonderfully earthy flavor to a sweet French Ossau Iraty which smells like hazelnuts to Purple Haze which is a creamy goat's milk cheese from California flavored with wild fennel pollen and lavender.

The best gift of all
Now, you know I'm a bit of an animal suck. So perhaps the nicest gift I can think to give is a gift to the Humane Society. It seems like an awfully good way to share the love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!