If you’re unattached and sick of pink hearts overtaking storefronts and marketing emails this month, let’s take the holiday back, shall we? This year, February 14th should herald an era (or at least a day) of treating yourself that rebrands V Day in your brain as a day that’s all about loving yourself.
Let’s start with a list of great gifts for one from the Milk Street Store. Don’t click away if you’re in a relationship—this gift guide applies not only to the single, but also to the happily coupled who want a little solo gift action on the side. Get yourself flowers, chocolate and bubbly, if you’re into that, then get to filling your cart.
The Garlickiest Chili Crisp
Crunchy and spicy, this Japanese chili crisp gets a punch of flavor from slivers of fried garlic and shallot, plus lots of crunch from peanuts. It’s zippy, spicy, garlicky and works on everything—some Milk Street employees even put it on ice cream. And it’s a perfect solo Valentine’s Day gift, because... you know.
A Portable One-Cup Coffee Press
A collapsible French press built for one cup of coffee at a time, the Palmpress is luxury and ingenuity in one unassuming little package. The durable plastic device looks like an oversized hockey puck, but unscrew the lid and it pops open to reveal a silicone funnel. Add coarsely ground coffee to the marked line, pour in water that is just shy of boiling, give a stir and wait 4 to 6 minutes before inverting the press over a mug and pressing to extract.
The flavor is bright and strong—just the way I like it. No fuss, no muss; it rinses clean, doesn’t need filters or pods or disassembly. Just you and a great cup of coffee.
A Class to Learn How to Make Custom Chocolate Bars
Give me a bar of chocolate, feed me for a day. Teach me how to make one—you know the rest. The first place I look for lifetime cooking skills is the Milk Street Cooking School. This one, guest-taught by chocolatier Valerie Gordon, will teach you how to temper chocolate two ways, then mold it into custom treats. The flavoring options are endless—flaky salt, nuts, coconut, toffee—really, this is giving yourself the gift of creativity. Valerie’s class is at 6 p.m. EST on Feb. 12; sign up here.
The Gift of Fresh Produce
We’re still months away from summer gardening, but the Veritable lets you grow herbs, baby vegetables and flowers indoors. The compact system is completely automated, including a watering and energy-efficient daylight cycle, and you’ll get it with four starter pods for parsley, basil, chives and thyme (your first harvest will be ready in just four weeks). It’s crushing every time I buy a clamshell of herbs for a single recipe and can’t figure out a use for the rest—the Veritable is peace of mind and a past-time rolled into one.
I love Colombian cast-iron expert Victoria’s cookware, including their Mini Cast-Iron Saucepan. It comes pre-seasoned without any synthetic chemicals, an advantage over mass-market options, and work on pretty much any heating surface—including induction and campfires. It’s adorable and practical; great for heating up sauce and soup, but also for single servings of queso and fondue.
Extra Special, Elevated Pantry Picks
This is the gift that goes beyond Valentine’s Day. Cooking for one is so much more fun when you have special ingredients you aren’t reserving for company. This little bottle of Naogen Crystallized Shoyu is so much more than freeze-dried soy sauce; the melt-in-your-mouth crystals add a little extra earthy dimension wherever you’d use a sprinkle of flaky salt.
Or splurge on Fat Gold; grown and harvested in some of the best groves in northern California, the olives in this limited-harvest, 2022 batch of oil tastes of fresh cream, dried flowers, walnut and ripe apple, for a fragrant, fruity, mellow blend with no pronounced pepperiness or spice. It’s delicious and an easy way to add some luxury to simple fried eggs or an olive oil cake (this is a fantastic olive oil for baking).
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