It’s easy to fall in love with a vegan.
Their compassion for animals combined with their love for the environment makes it possible to look past the fact that their Instagram bio is “plant-based hunni”.
But every year on February 14, romantic expectations are high and the pressure is even higher.
Planning an impressive Valentine’s Day celebration for someone whose diet and lifestyle differs from yours can be a learning curve.
To help Straight readers navigate the trials and tribulations of celebrating a cruelty-free Valentine’s Day, we teamed up with Karine Charbonneau (a.k.a. the Vegan Cupid).
Charbonneau works as a matchmaker and helps her vegan clients meet prospective mates with similar values and beliefs.
Together we created a list of Valentine’s Day ideas that will knock your significant other’s (wool-free) socks off.
Make them a delectable dinner
No Valentine’s Day is complete without dinner.
But since your partner is vegan, you’ll have to skip on the four-cheese pizza and be a little more creative.
Meat and cheese alternatives have come a long way, so build your kindhearted lovebird a plant-based charcuterie board for them to peck at as you cook. All of the delicious fixings required can be found at any Vegan Supply location.
For the main course, if you even make it to that (wink, wink), try your hand at Italian or Mexican food. Both cuisines can still be enjoyed without their dairy and meat elements. Plant-based food blogger Dana Schultz (a.k.a. the Minimalist Baker) has pages upon pages of no-fail recipes on her website for those lacking inspiration.
If you’re grappling with the thought of cooking lentil barbacoa, whip up something simple that can be slathered in ketchup—vegans love ketchup.
In the case that you really don’t know your way around a kitchen, take them somewhere with lots of plant-based options.
“Most vegans don’t want to eat at a restaurant where all they can order is a salad,” says Charbonneau, “so don’t take them to a steakhouse.”
Take them for some plant-based pampering
Nail salons and spas often use products that aren’t considered vegan. This means that they are tested on animals or contain ingredients that are derived from animals or insects.
But that doesn’t mean that your sweetheart has to miss out on a good ol’ pamper.
Plan an activity they will enjoy
“Steer clear of zoos and aquariums,” says Charbonneau, “or places where there are dead animals hung on the walls.”
Believe it or not, there are some restaurants and bars in Vancouver that think a dead moose’s head is striking wall décor.
Instead of watching your vegan shed tears as they sit beside said moose head, take them ice skating at an indoor or outdoor rink. “There’s something so romantic about getting all bundled up and going skating with your lover,” says Charbonneau.
If you prefer to avoid adrenaline-inducing activities, stay inside and watch a movie.
The sexiest phrase you can say to a vegan is “I want to watch an animal documentary with you.”
Charbonneau also suggests visiting a museum at night or planning your own DIY chocolate-tasting tour to shops with dark chocolate options.
Spoil them with thoughtful, cruelty-free gifts
There is nothing that your vegan partner wants more for a Valentine’s gift than a Costco-sized container of nutritional yeast. Okay, just kidding but “nooch” is always great accompaniment to the main present.
Other suitable gift ideas include:
- Dark chocolate
- Vegan makeup and skincare products
- Sustainable clothing articles made from organic cotton or linen
- Ethically made jewellery
- Flowers or a potted plant
If you refuse to give into the materialistic aspect of Valentine’s Day, commit to a future date spent volunteering with them at an animal shelter or cleaning a beach. This is an excellent way to get some quality time with your sweetie pie, help the environment, and give back to the community.