March 1, 2024

Updated Jan. 18, 2024 3:59 p.m. PT

Written by 
David Watsky

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David Watsky Senior Editor / Home and Kitchen

David lives in Brooklyn where he’s spent more than a decade covering all things edible, including meal kit services, food subscriptions, kitchen tools and cooking tips. Since earning a BA in English from Northeastern in Boston, he’s toiled in nearly every aspect of the food business, including as a line cook in Rhode Island where he once made a steak sandwich for Lamar Odom. Right now, he’s likely somewhere stress-testing a blender or researching the best way to make bacon. Anything with sesame is his all-time favorite food this week.

Expertise Kitchen tools, appliances, food science, subscriptions and meal kits.

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Sq. Feet of Lab Space

$23 at Amazon

tea

A nighttime tea that’s big on flavor

Evening in Missoula Tea


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$12 at Amazon

chocolate bar

A better bar

Vosges Dark Chocolate and Caramel


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$9 at Sugarfina

champs-bears

Made with Dom Pérignon, excuse me

Champagne Gummy Bears


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$7 at Amazon

screen-shot-2022-01-21-at-4-17-57-pm.png

Wait, what does that one say?!

Risque Conversation Hearts


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$11 at Walmart

tin of margarita salt next to cocktail and pepper

For the margarita lover you love

Jalapeño Citrus Salt


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$17 at Wine

wine-rose

Play hide the wine in a dozen roses

Cote des Roses Rosé


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$15 at Amazon

bees-knees-salted-honey-amazon

Sticky and sweet, just like you

Bushwick Kitchen Bee’s Knees Honey


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$14 at Etsy

herb bags on window

A cute place to cultivate herbs

Indoor Herb Planters


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$24 at Lodge

A cast-iron pan with food in it

A classic that every chef should have

Lodge Cast-Iron Skillet


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$18 at Amazon

loose-tea-ceramic-single-serve-cup-chowhound

For a loose-leaf moment

Tea Forté Kati Tea System


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$13 at Amazon

pizza-socks-chowhound

Cozy foot gloves for a pizza freak

Pepperoni Pizza Socks


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As CNET’s resident food fiend, surely I’m partial but I do think food and kitchen gifts make the best ones. No shade to fresh flowers or a shiny smartwatch — great for telling you when it’s time to eat again — but food gifts are superior in nearly every way. 

This story is part of Gift Guide, our year-round collection of the best gift ideas.

Food is both soulful and practical. I mean, everybody’s got to eat. And while not everything on this list is edible (I threw some tools in there), the ones that are don’t take up any permanent space, which is perfect if you suspect your Valentine is flush with “stuff” or running low on closet space. 

Now that you see it my way, finding the right food gift for Valentine’s Day is all that’s left. I’ve included my favorite calming tea, a few addictive spice mixes and chocolate truffles so good, they’ll make you melt. 

All of these eats and drinks clock in at under $25 too. That said, there’s nothing cheap about ’em.

Best Valentine’s Day food gifts under $25

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This sampling of Nuts.com snacks has 11 of its offerings including a power mix, granola, cacao goji energy squares, almond salted caramel bitty bars and more.

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Read more: Best Snack Box Subscriptions for 2024

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A relaxing blend of herbal teas including chamomile, rosehips, raspberry leaf, lemongrass and clove. 

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Chocolate on Valentine’s Day? Groundbreaking, I know. But if you’re going to give it, give the good stuff. I’m partial to creamy truffles and La Maison Du Chocolat takes the craft very seriously. These handmade truffles aren’t overly sweet, which I prefer but dense with rich chocolate flavor. A two-pack is $10 or you can spring for a 13-piece box for $45.

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“Umami” jokes aside, these two spice mixes will take your ramen or rice bowl to a very tasty place. 

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If you’re going the chocolate route, do better than the drugstore swill.

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Sugarfina has the market nearly cornered when it comes to adorable sweets. As a bonus, they all taste great and the confectioner features some unusual flavors. For Valentine’s Day, nab a box of these charming Champagne-flavored gummies. The price might seem steep for candy but that’s because they’re made with actual Dom Perignon Champagne, flavored with Brut and rosé.

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Wagyu is rich, fatty and completely delicious. You can nab a 6-ounce chuckeye for under $22.

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If normal convo hearts candy seems a little tame and a tad boring, try a box of the adult version to get some giggles — and maybe more.

I’m far too dignified to list these saucy saying out loud, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t just order a few boxes. 

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This spicy, citrusy salt is excellent around the rim of a margarita but it’ll liven up chicken and fish, too. Pair it with a special bottle of tequila and offer to mix your Valentine the classic cocktail. 

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Rosé is already an easy Valentine’s Day win, but this Cote des Roses with a rose-shaped bottle bottom takes things a step further. The wine itself is from Languedoc in the South of France with “notes of raspberry and peony.” Best of all, the bottle takes on the appearance of a rose. Sneak one upside down nestled into a dozen roses for a charming presentation.

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rose-hidden

Can you spot the wine bottles in this bouquet?

Cotes de Roses

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This salty-sweet treat also happens to be a cheeky way to let them know you think they’re the best. They can drizzle this honey on everything from fried chicken to cake, but if they’re more of a spicy little number, there’s also a Bees Knees hot honey with habanero peppers.

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Smart gardens may get faster results, but in terms of style, they don’t have anything on these teeny tiny burlap bags for growing herbs on your windowsill. 

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If your Valentine likes the occasional steak or burger but hasn’t tapped into the wonder of cast iron yet, this is a perfect chance to alter the course of their cooking forever. Cast iron is the optimal indoor cooking material for most meats, as it gets screaming hot and holds heat for magazine-cover-worthy sear marks.

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For the tea lover in your life who also appreciates minimalism, this ceramic cup comes with a lid and single-serving metal infuser insert, so they can brew in the same mug they drink from. It’s available in several solid colors as well as patterns, to suit anybody’s style. And the double-walled design keeps their tea hot and their hands comfortably warm (not scalded).

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This set of boutique lollipops (flavors include lavender lemongrass, vanilla hibiscus, Champagne and roses and strawberry basil) is already sweet enough, but don’t toss those sticks in the trash. Pot them in soil and they’ll sprout into various plants, from herbs to baby blue eyes blooms. Does this count as buying flowers?

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Does it seem a little cheesy to give someone pizza socks for Valentine’s Day? We think not, especially for someone with a healthy sense of humor — and love of pepperoni, of course. (A whole pizza made of socks is even more incredible, but $1 over the $25 limit.) You can also get sushi socks, if that doesn’t seem too… fishy.

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