For the Knife Enthusiast
The Heirloom Version of Our Vegetable Knife
This is a limited edition, premium run of our tried-and-true Milk Street Nakiri: It’s light, thin and sharp—the blade is 2 inches deep with a squared-off tip. It’s made from a high-end Japanese steel specially treated with a nonstick hammered surface—so foods slide right off—with a gorgeously grained cocobolo wood handle. And it comes with a custom saya, or knife guard, to keep your blade keen and protect it in storage. It’s worthy of being passed on to the next generation, but until then, your valentine can use it to precisely slice and dice onions, cut carrots into perfect coins or reduce chard into feathery ribbons.
A Professional-Grade Japanese Knife
Traditionally used in professional kitchens, this small but mighty Usuba knife is fashioned with a tall, thin blade that’s slightly curved for rocking and made in Japan from layered VG-10 Damascus steel. Resembling a “mini cleaver,” it’s great for chopping and dicing mirepoix, smashing garlic and ginger, thinly slicing vegetables or thick steaks and chiffonading bundles of herbs. Another collector-worthy pick.
Gorgeous Italian Knife Storage
Italian design firm Artelegno uses sustainably sourced wood to make these beautiful, individually crafted knife blocks. Hidden, built-in magnets firmly hold blades in place without making them difficult to remove, and the open design gives each block a contemporary, sculptural look. If your date spends time selecting knives with special design details and finishes like I do, they'll love that they can see their etched and hammered blade finishes between panels instead of hiding them in a drawer—and they'll appreciate that the open design accommodates shapes and sizes from multiple brands, instead of being stuck with a custom block for a single knife line.
For the Partner Who Likes Learning in the Kitchen
Give the gift of kitchen skills and reap the benefits (and delicious home cooking) all year long. I can’t recommend the Milk Street Cooking School’s livestream classes and small group workshops (and now our returning in-person classes!) highly enough. The lineup of classes taught by Milk Street faculty and guest chefs this spring has something for every interest.
Don’t want to commit to a prescheduled class? Give a class your loved one can take on their own schedule. I recommend this pre-recorded one on Chocolate with Paul Young; it would make a great Valentine’s Day date, too, and the truffle torte recipe is wildly good. If you need more variety, go for a cookbook, like our newly released “Simple” (not a bad idea for the partner that needs a hint about their cooking skills).
If you go the experiential gift route, you can do more than just email a class confirmation. Gifting a pasta class? Print out your class confirmation and tuck it in between a set of these whimsical, hand-painted pasta bowls.
For the Wine and Cocktail Aficionado
A French Wine Opener and a Bottle of Vino
Pair the Durand Vintage Wine Opener with a bottle of wine—especially if it’s from a year or vineyard that means something to you as a couple. The Durand comes in two pieces, cleverly designed to remove fragile or compromised corks from older wines (though you can use them for any bottle, as Chris Kimball does) without breaking them.
A Genius Cocktail Shaker and a Cocktail Class
I love giving the Elevated Craft Double-Walled Hybrid Cocktail Shaker as a gift. Adam Craft, founder of the company that makes it, thought of everything: The shaker holds up to 750 milliliters while still staying easy to grip and shake, and it doesn’t leak or stick to your hands when filled with cold liquid. There’s even a built-in measuring cup. If your partner likes shaking up cocktails for two or for a crowd, this is the gift for them. I particularly like the sleek Gunmental color.
And go ahead and make a night of it, with the Milk Street Cooking School’s upcoming class, “Every Cocktail Has a Twist,” where you’ll learn riffs on beloved cocktail classics. Take the class on Feb. 13 and then practice what you learn on Valentine’s Day.
You’ll need some coupes for those cocktails (or a glass of bubbly). I suggest our Vintage Champagne Coupes, which are collected in estate sales and markets around the French countryside before being sold in sets of two. Each pair has unique etching or cut glass designs, for an added element of surprise and charm.
For Date Night at Home
If you want to have date night at home instead of venturing out on the town, try these:
A Florentine Pizza Stone with Insurance
Start with a pizza stone from an Italian maker famous for their wood-fired pizza ovens. Thanks to its refractory material with a high ratio of alumina, this pizza stone will heat up quickly and produce a crisp crust with every use. Its porous, very thin surface helps produce steam—moving moisture away from the pie, ensuring it doesn’t reabsorb into the crust—while also preventing burning. If you’ve been burned by pies sliding off of peels before, the “pizza backsplash” prevents your pie from sliding off the stone while maneuvering it in and out of the oven. It also comes beautifully wrapped in artisanal, traditional Florentine paper, so less work for you.
Korean BBQ from the Comfort of Home
Prefer protein? Inspired by the communal style of grilling thinly sliced meats, our Cast-Iron Stovetop Korean Barbecue brings the experience of Korean barbecue to your table. Simply place thinly sliced meat on the ridged, domed center—the juices will slide down into a reservoir, where vegetables pick up that flavor as they cook. The cast-iron construction means the grill heats evenly and retains that heat well even after it’s removed from the cooktop. It’s fun, it’s a little unexpected and the cast iron grill can be used for a lot, like heating up tortillas or grilling fish.
Handmade Pasta at Home
For uniform, perfectly filled ravioli—to me, the ultimate date food—every time, leave it to a ravioli tablet to do the heavy lifting. The Marcato Ravioli Tablet has a heavy base that won’t slip, deep wells for lots of filling, a precise cutting edge—all the useful traits of a good pasta press. Simply add your sheet of dough, lightly press it into the mold, add your filling and the second sheet, then use the included rolling pin to pop the ravioli cleanly out of their molds without tearing or sticking. This beautiful green tablet makes 10 2-square-inch ravioli at a time, so really, it’s the gift of time.
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