8 subtly romantic things to do this Valentine’s Day, no soppiness required

So it’s almost Valentine’s Day. While marking the occasion may not be at the top of everyone’s list, there are still plenty of low key ways to celebrate romance this weekend. Those allergic to grand gestures can find comfort (nay, inspiration) in the simple pleasures listed below, no soppiness required.

Do something fancy, but not too fancy
Champagne and oysters at any other locale may seem over the top to Valentine’s Day grinches, but at your local beach, it’s perfectly charming. Pop a bottle of bubs and grab a dozen deep-fried oysters from the nearest chippie to be enjoyed by the water’s edge. Why not go a step further and add a jar of caviar to the mix?

Wander wistfully through the countryside
As we’ve learnt from watching countless period romances, a long stroll where nothing really happens is the key to building sexual tension. Take your pick from our favourite local walks, historical garb optional.

Show a rare glimpse of your nurturing side
No, not with a fur baby or an actual human child. We’re talking about a plant, you fool. Peruse your local nursery and pick out a pot plant to care for.

Add a picnic for instant romance
For some reason, eating anywhere but inside the expensive Auckland walls you pay for is key to creating an ‘I made an effort’ atmosphere. Unfurl a blanket in the park or backyard, crack a bevvy and voila, the mood is set. May we suggest skipping the supermarket salami and going for something more refined, like one of Cazador’s excellent hampers — who can resist the likes of duck parfait, game terrine and heritage pork coppa?

Chocolate-dipped strawberries, but make it wholesome
Change gears and make it a family affair by taking the kids to a pick-your-own berry farm, like Sweet Red, Zaberri or Bells Berries. Once home, pair your freshly picked score with any ambrosial delights that tickle your fancy — melted chocolate, yoghurt and caramel sauce are all tasty bets.

Enjoy the silence at long last
If your epitome of romance looks a lot like sitting quietly in the dark for an hour and a half, you’re in luck. Aotea Square is hosting an evening screening of Marilyn Monroe classic Some Like It Hot, while Academy Cinemas is showing Wong Kar Wai’s masterpiece In The Mood For Love as its Valentine’s Day flick.

When in doubt, eat in bed
Some say cliché, we say who cares. Breakfast in bed is an unfussy token of love that not only tastes delicious but means the rest of the day can go back to your regular programming — if you so wish. We recommend this sensational breakfast sandwich, these crumpets or arguably the fluffiest pancakes ever.

If all else fails, wheel out the cute animals
Gazing into each other’s eyes may not be your cup of tea, but what about those of a rhino or lion? Auckland Zoo is holding a special Valentine’s Day lunch, including a three-course set menu, a glass of Mumm Champagne and entry to the zoo.

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