Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day this year, The Watch has you covered. Treating your partner? Your friends? Yourself? We’ve curated a Halifax guide to Valentine’s day that’s guaranteed to help you out. Whether you’re looking for treats, activities or gift ideas, there’s definitely something on this list that will catch your attention.
Be Sweet Treat Box
Be Sweet Treat Box is a new home-based bakery started by Yang Hu, a Baking & Pastry Arts student. Hu said, “I’ve always wanted to start doing something by myself and my experience at NSCC made me feel more comfortable.”
For Valentine’s Day, she’s customized piñata cakes.
These piñata cakes might be the perfect Valentine’s treat. Are you in love? It comes in a heart shape. Single? It comes with a wooden mallet to smash it to pieces. With friends? There are plenty of goodies inside to go around.
A $26 basic piñata heart comes with a custom message, chocolate and candy hidden on the inside and a wooden mallet. Heart brownies, chocolate bombs, and fortune cookies can also be hidden within the piñata for an additional cost. Hu said customers can hide small surprises like gift cards within the piñata, as well as customize the colour and message on top of the cake.
Hu is currently taking orders via Instagram DMs.
Le French Fix
If you’re looking for a “tiny taste of Paris in the heart of Halifax”, Le French Fix should be your number one stop. Located downtown on Prince St, this patisserie is home to one of Halifax’s finest French chefs: Geoffroy Chevallier.
This Valentine’s Day, Le French Fix is offering a $35 gift package for two. Each package comes with 6 assorted macarons, one Gateau Amour made of chocolate and caramel pecan and two take-and-bake croissants. All packages will be ready for the morning of Feb 14. All you have to do is pre-order the package at the shop with the time you’d like to pick it up.
Words simply cannot describe the perfection of Le French Fix’s macarons. If you’re just dropping in for a quick treat, try to get there in the morning before all the goodies sell out!
Creamy Rainbow Bakery and Café
If you were waiting for a sign to visit The Creamy Rainbow Bakery and Café, this is it. Regardless of the time of the year, this bakery is filled to the brim with spectacular creations inspired by French and Asian styles. Whether you’re looking for something sweet or savoury, they’re guaranteed to satisfy your cravings.
For Valentine’s Day, the Creamy Rainbow is offering a $45 6-inch strawberry cake, adorned with fresh strawberries, sprinkles and Hershey kisses. You can also get 6 assorted heart-shaped macarons for $20.
Helen Zhao, the owner of the bakery, said the macarons “will be launched in the next few days”. Be sure to check their Instagram page for updates.
The Queen’s Gimlet at The Old Apothecary
Did you obsess over the Netflix series, The Queen’s Gambit, like the rest of us in 2020? If you did, you should definitely head down to The Old Apothecary bakery to play their Valentine’s Day game: “The Queen’s Gimlet”. This special offers the chance to play checkers with edible pieces. Plus, you’ll receive two Gimlets for you and whoever you bring with you. Although checkers isn’t quite chess like in the real TV show, there’s nothing better than playing with chocolate pieces.
To reserve a spot to play at the bakery, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d rather play at home, you can also order the game to-go. Watch your competitive side come out this Valentine’s Day, as you devour your opponent’s strategy.
As the bakery says, you can “have your checkers, and eat ‘em too”.
Skate at the Emera Oval Rink
There’s simply no better way to spend Valentine’s Day than skating at the Emera Oval. Before you go, skaters must register before arrival. Bookings are open up to 48 hours in advance of the desired skate time, so if you want to skate on Valentine’s Day, be sure to register on Feb. 12. You can book online here.
Equipment, such as skates and helmets, are available for rental, provided that you have a valid government photo ID on you. The facility’s website also reminds skaters that “non-medical masks are mandatory at all times, including on the ice surface”, so be sure to bring your masks!
Paint your own pottery at the Clay Cafe
The Clay Café is located on Quinpool Road and a quick 15-minute walk from the King’s campus. At this studio, you can paint your own pottery—and bring as many people as you like! No experience or appointments are necessary. Just drop in and choose from their vast selection of pieces, from mugs and teapots to plates and piggy banks. Prices range from $5-$45 and the cost of the piece includes the “paints, materials, studio time, glazing and firing”.
If you’d rather paint from the comfort of your home, the Clay Café also offers take-home kits for $5 on top of the price of the piece you select. These kits include 6-8 paints and a brush set.
Cheryl Quinlan, a staff member at the Quinpool location, said there’s no limit to how long you can keep the kits. “Just bring your finished pieces back whenever you’re ready to get it fired in the kiln.”
All dishware is food, microwave and dishwasher safe.
Art by Mak
Makenzie Branch is a 24-year-old Halifax-based artist with a passion for creating art. What started as making cards and paintings for her friends and family has turned into a full-blown business.
“Valentine’s cards have always been my favourite cards to make, even before starting Art by Mak,” Branch said. This year’s batch of cards is inspired by everything she loves—from favourite songs to words her friends pronounce strangely.
The cards cost $9 each or $30 for a pack of four. However, Branch wants to accommodate the student community and is open to negotiating a friendly student price. Branch welcomes people to approach her via Instagram Direct Messages.
“I’m here and happy to help you brighten your loved ones’ lives on any budget!” Branch said.
She offers free delivery in Halifax and orders must be placed by the end of the day on Feb.11 to ensure they arrive on time for Valentine’s day. “The sooner you place your orders, the better,” Branch said.
The Coastal Box
Kellie Shillington’s business, The Coastal Box, crafts elegant and simple gift boxes with products from small businesses across Canada, primarily located in Nova Scotia.
This year for Valentine’s Day, Shillington has created several specials. The $38 “Galentine’s Coastal Box” comes with a beautiful handmade scrunchie from Ripple and Tied, hand-painted salted caramel chocolates from Michelle Ashley’s Bakery and two pairs of studs from Jo&Lo Jewelry. The $50 “Mini Valentine’s Day Box” comes with salted caramel hand-painted truffles from Michelle Ashley’s Bakery, handmade earrings from Jo&Lo Jewelry and a sugar body scrub, scented with white grapefruit from TLSC.
Shillington said these boxes are available on her Etsy page but “people can also customize a box to get exactly what products they want”.
Sunday Light Candle Co.
Sunday Light Candle Co.’s candles are as beautiful as you can imagine. Made from pure soy wax and hand-poured in Dartmouth, the local business has a variety of candles that would make the perfect Valentine’s gift.
Kate Lee, one of the co-owners of Sunday Light Candle Co., said that if you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day themed candle, you should definitely check out Sleep Well and Day Peep.
“Sleep Well is very relaxing and romantic candle,” Lee said. Made with scents like lavender, eucalyptus and sage, the candle will burn for 50 hours of soothing freshness.
On the other hand, Day Peep is made to remind you of the coziest café. With scents like vanilla, hazelnut and cinnamon, Lee said the candle is the “perfect sweet scent to go with some Valentine’s chocolate”.
The business offers free delivery in Halifax and Dartmouth. You can shop online here.