Updated: Aug 13, 2020
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and whether you like to keep it casual with dinner and wine at home or go all out, we have a dozen South Asian businesses that can make it the perfect day for your family.
Romantic Night In:
Valentine’s Day is on a Friday—the perfect day to enjoy a drawn-out romantic dinner filled with lots of wine and nowhere to be in the morning. Fridays aren’t, however, conducive to a lot of prep time for said meal. Enter Gobble, an affordable meal delivery service, to help you whip up meals in 15 minutes. If you do have time to cook a Valentine’s Day meal from scratch, bring some South Asian flair by using seasonings, marinades or hot sauces from Kitchen Guerilla; the site also features recipes for everything from salads to veggie wraps to steaks using their products. Whether you order in or cook, pair dinner with a wine from Narmada Winery, founded by Pandit and Sudha Patil, who arrived to the U.S. East Coast from Mumbai 40 years ago and opened Narmada upon their retirement.
The unofficial holiday to celebrate your girlfriends is generally held Feb. 13, but why not celebrate all weekend with your friends? If you’re exchanging gifts, a subscription to fashion rental startup Armoire is perfect for busy professional friends. If you’re planning to stay in with your friends and binge romcoms (my personal favorite: the Mindy Kaling-produced Four Weddings and a Funeral on Hulu), liven it up with mithai or paan-flavored truffles from Trufills and beautiful macarons from Woops!
Go Big or Stay Home:
If Valentine’s Day is a big deal to you—and why not use it as an excuse to go all out?—start by sending your sweetheart a gorgeous bespoke custom floral arrangement from Venus et Fleur and top it off with an earring, necklace, ring or bracelet from LA-based Amarilo (bonus—they're an all-female company so they know a thing or two about what women want) or NY-based Aaryah.
If you want to celebrate with your kids before the romantic dinner or romcom binge and your kids are anything like mine, sugar is the way to their hearts. To put a South Asian twist on the goodies they’ll consume, whip up a breakfast of some dirty chai cinnamon rolls, acai shrikhand fruit bowls or kesar badam panna cotta from former MasterChef contestant Hetal Vasavada of Milk & Cardamom. With dinner, serve up some rasmalai or gulab jamun from Canada’s Nanak Foods (available at select Costcos in the U.S.) or sneak in chocolate bars with fun flavors like Saffron Milk from Madhu Chocolate.
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Avani Nadkarni is a former journalist who currently works in tech PR and is forever navigating the tricky balance of trying to raise her child in the U.S. while teaching him about his Indian and Sri Lankan roots.