It’s easy to be cynical about Valentine’s Day (and sometimes it’s more fun to be cynical about Valentine’s Day). But if you have someone to spend this hearts-and-flowers holiday with, it’s at least worth trying to make it fun. So let’s take a look at the traditional menu for the day, and give it something of a Nashville/Middle Tennessee twist. Here, I’ve collected some local options that I find a little more interesting than your by-the-checkout Kroger grabs:
A card from the grocery store says “I stopped for this and beer on the way home today, and you’re worth it.” A card from East Nashville paper goods shop PULP says you’re the type who appreciates shopping local and who’s down to make the effort to hunt down something unique, even when it’s as simple as a card. Their selection — located inside equally fun local shop Hey Rooster — ranges from cute to kitschy to funny to weird. You’ll find something that beams your Valentine.
Again, no on the old heart-shaped box. Nashville-bred gift subscription service Batch developed special Choc-a-lot collections for the cities they serve, and Nashville’s includes items from some highly lovable local confectioners, including artisan marshmallow makers Bang Candy Co. and chocolatier Chocolate/FX. ($55, available through Batch)
If you’re already in Franklin for dinner, you might move down to Gray’s on Main — their cocktails menu, developed by Nashville’s PourTaste, is something special. For Valentine’s Day, the Brandy Harlow seems particularly fitting: chocolate-infused cognac, dry curaçao, fernet, cream, espresso.
Rather do the after-dinner drinks back home? Can’t go wrong with a bottle of red, and if you haven’t tried local winery Arrington Vineyards' KB 612 reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, give it a go. AV keeps getting better, and if you like stout reds, you’ll like this one. (Plus it’s a good excuse to make plans to head to the vineyard for a tasting — a romantic outing, for sure.) ($49.99, via Arrington Vineyards)
The point of a Valentine’s gift should be to show the object of your affection that their happiness matters to you, and that you care enough to indulge in some sap to add to that happiness. Personally, I’m still a fan of a little subtlety, as opposed to the Jane-Seymour-open-heart-pendant approach. Nashville’s Freshie & Zero makes hand-hammered jewelry pieces that are thoughtful without being overwrought. This Love necklace is delicate and beautiful, and the symbolism is sweet (interconnected circles, no beginning, no end) without trying too hard. ($54, FreshieandZero.com)
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