2 Feb 2017

Gift Ideas

From a sleepover at a zoo to a games night you can both agree on, woo your favourite person with a couple’s experience this February 14th.

Whether you prefer to pull out all the stops or to pull the curtains and cuddle up, these romantic things to do on Valentine’s Day will make this year one to remember.

Animal magic

Ever wondered what goes on at your local zoo after dark? Chances are you’re about to find out. Bristol and London zoos and Paradise Wildlife Park are just a few of the menageries up and down the country currently offering sleepovers. Details vary, but at ZSL London Zoo you can catch forty winks in your own lodge near the lion enclosure, take after-hours tours at sunset, after dark and in the morning and get breakfast, dinner and two days of zoo access to boot.

Culture club

If you’re cinema buffs, La La Land is what Valentine’s Day has been missing for years: a romance that’s also critically acclaimed. But don’t take our word for it: it’s just won more Golden Globes than any film, ever.

Theatre lovers? For spectacle, see the jaw-dropping Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall in London or Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, or Aladdin The Musical at the West End’s Prince Edward Theatre. For dance with a difference, head to London’s Sadler’s Wells for FLA.CO.MEN’s fresh take on Flamenco. Prefer the classics? Take in the ballet with Cinderella at Birmingham Hippodrome, or opt for opera with Rigoletto at London Coliseum.

Roll with it

If the phrase ‘board games’ conjures up images of Monopoly¬-related strife, think again. A new breed of tabletop game sees you team up with your favourite person to win, or lose, against the game itself – so all the satisfaction is shared! We’ve play-tested them ourselves, and our favourites include Pandemic, Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, Mice and Mystics and Dead of Winter. Top tip: read through the rules before the big night, but don’t get bogged down in them – you won’t get them all right on your first play-through but you can pick the details up later. When it comes to board games, the best way to learn is by doing!

Twinkle, twinkle

There are 12 designated International Dark Sky Reserves in the world – and we’ve got five of them right here in our own backyard. Pack your tent, your telescope and your constellation map and head out to Brecon Beacons, Exmoor, Northumberland, South Downs or Snowdonia National Parks for some truly stellar stargazing. Bonus points for supplying flasks of soup or hot chocolate and a blanket for you both to cuddle up under…

Run away together

Paris and Venice are obvious choices for your romantic Valentine’s Day holiday – and they’re no less wonderful for it – but have you considered somewhere a little more unusual? February is good northern lights season in both Iceland and Norway, so why not wrap up warm, be awe-inspired by the aurora borealis and then head back to your log cabin and hot tub and get cosy? Alternatively, really sweep your other half off their feet with a luxury Caribbean getaway among the swaying cocoa trees on Saint Lucia – we’re talking about Boucan, our cocoa cuisine hotel on our working cocoa plantation.

Fun with food

Never made your own chocolate bar right from the bean? Let us show you how at our Bean-to-Bar experiences in Cambridge, Leeds and London. What about trying cocoa sans the sugar – as a savoury spice or even burger dressing? Visit our cocoa cuisine restaurants, Roast+Conch in Leeds or Rabot 1745 in London, and taste it in refreshing new ways.

Alternatively, bring the cocoa cuisine home and cook up a storm for your better half with our cookbook, A New Way of Cooking with Chocolate – think Rump Steak Burger with Cocoa Beer-Braised Onions, Cocoa and Herb-Crusted Fillet of Pork and White Chocolate Blueberry Cheesecake. Or, keep it low-key with a Valentine’s Day chocolate tasting in your living room: our Rare & Vintage collection uses some of the best cocoa on the planet, with tasting notes from butterscotch to single malt whisky – and even a bar made from buffalo milk!

Perfect presents
Going out or staying in, you’ll still need a Valentine’s Day gift for your sweetheart. Whether it’s a showstopping heart-shaped box of chocolates or a cute love note with five chocolate hearts, we can help you show them how you feel…

Planning to try one of our ideas? Tweet @HotelChocolat and tell us all about your romantic Valentine’s Day!