How do you have a romantic date when we all have to stay at home? Fear not - we've got the lowdown on fine dining, gifts and experiences to ensure Valentine's Day in lockdown can still be special, thanks to Oxfordshire's wonderful independent businesses!
Are you finding your lockdown takeaway habit has become a bit predictable? Oxfordshire's restaurants and caterers are pulling out all the stops to help you dine in in style, so that your lockdown date can still feel memorable.
Gravy and Custard: As part of their Delivered Suppers range, Gravy and Custard offer a decadent 3 course meal ready to be heated and plated, so you can recreate the restaurant experience at home. They offer free delivery within 15 miles of Watlington, and they have kids' portions available too so you can let the little ones in on the gourmet fun! Order by 10th Feb.
Dido's Fine Food: If you opt for a romantic three-course meal from Oxford-based Dido's Fine Food, you can add to the sense of occasion as they've teamed up with other local businesses to incorporate flowers, champagne and even luxury table decorations into the offer. Order by 10th Feb for delivery on 13th or 14th.
215: Experience haute cuisine from AA rosette-winning 215 with their special Stay In & Eat Out menu; 3 mouth-watering courses with the option to add paired wines, cheese, truffles and a range of cocktails. Order by 10th Feb.
Pompette: The lockdown equivalent of a Parisian mini-break: impress your paramour with a French feast from Pompette At Home's romantic three-course set menu. The meals will be available to collect from the Summertown restaurant on Thurs, Fri or Sat afternoons, but don't miss out - the order deadline is 6th Feb.
The White Hart, Wytham: Learn some of the secrets of the White Hart's renowned culinary wizardry, since their Valentine's menu arrives pre-prepared with heating and assembly instructions and step-by-step videos. Choose 2 or 3 courses, with a glass of prosecco, amuse bouche and homemade truffles all included. Order by 9th Feb.
The Mole Inn, Toot Baldon: Set the mood with The Mole's Valentine's Box which contains everything you need to create a delicious 3-course extravaganza - all the dishes are designed 'to share' to heighten the sense of intimacy. They advise ordering at least 2 days in advance, for click&collect from the pub.
Gatineau: The French patisserie are focusing on a different part of the day for their romantic meal, offering a blowout Breakfast In Bed, complete with pastries, Champagne, strawberries, sourdough and more. They'll be delivering on the 13th so that you don't have to answer your door too early on the day itself! Order by 10th Feb.
Roll With Me Sushi: Feast your eyes on a colourful sushi platter replete with a tempting range of handmade rolls and complemented by gyoza, edamame beans and other favourites. Free delivery to Kidlington and Yarnton, or collection available. Order by 12th Feb.
Caminito: Spice things up with some Argentinian cuisine with Caminito's empanadas. They've got a limited-edition Valentine's special: adorably heart-shaped and stuffed with strawberries and Nutella, to follow their classic savoury parcels. Order at least 3 working days in advance.
Gifts - Keep it classic
The traditional Valentine's gestures of flowers and chocolates are all still possible during lockdown, though with the current demand on the postal services we recommend looking into these sooner rather than later!
Finish with a flourish - add a homemade card from Stone Pine Design or Cards For Good Causes, or write a beautiful note on some Scriptum stationery, or check out Broad Canvas' website for all the arts supplies you could need to make your own card. The WI's Denman College have some fun craft workshops online if you're looking to learn new techniques for crafting cards, coming up on 6th, 9th and 11th Feb. You could even say how you feel with a personalised helium balloon from Gold Flamingo Events - order by the 10th Feb.
Other gifts and experiences
Working on a creative project together is a great way to bond and make memories - and thanks to Zoom, Skype et al, you can share experiences with your significant other even if you're locked down separately. In normal times, Brush Party bring their 'sip and paint' events to pubs around Oxfordshire, and for lockdown they're offering the experience at home instead. So if you're looking for something a bit different, you can spend the evening of the 14th learning to paint Lovebirds.
If you've been getting into baking recently, why not 'prove' your love by learning to make sourdough together? East Oxford-based Hannah Bironzo, aka The Gypsy Baker, provides everything you need to learn to make gorgeous bread from a lovingly nurtured starter. Workshops are priced per household, making this a perfect couples' activity, and a gift voucher to a future workshop will ensure your present lasts long past Valentine's day itself.
Ogglio recommend their olive oil as the perfect way to say 'oil always love you' - woo the foodie in your life with their prestigious organic fare, which you can even choose to have in a personalised bottle!
Another personalised gift to make your intended smile: Iggle and Co make personalised Mini-Me puppets - you can send in photos so they can capture you and your partner's likeness in felt! Order by 10th Feb.
With hotels and spas closed, you could set up a DIY pamper day for your loved one. Enhance the experience with some locally-produced handmade soaps and skincare goodies from Gaia Botanics.
Spread the love
You could make the day feel that bit more meaningful by passing on some good will to a local cause - lots of great charities have innovative, love-themed campaigns running at the moment. Helen and Douglas House are asking people to Show A Little Love - both to their wonderful hospice work and to a loved one - by dedicating a donation of any size. Oxfordshire Wildlife Rescue are running a Valentine's Quiz Night in aid of their new animal hospital, while Shipton Hub are asking local residents to put together pampering care packages to show NHS staff how loved and appreciated they are.