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Sexy and Sensuous Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

by Mark Thompson
EDGE Style & Travel Editor
Monday Jan 31, 2011
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Remember how when you were a kid and you made Valentine’s cards for everyone in your class - and an extra special one for the pretty boy with the blond forelock who’d flunked the year before and now he was in your class? You were going to be his best friend, starting with the prettiest Valentine’s card in your entire hand-made collection.

Well, you’re all grown up now and that boy is probably watching the Super Bowl with a meatball hoagie - but there are plenty of other deserving friends and family in your life who need a little visit from Cupid. It’s not easy for everyone on Valentine’s Day. There are a lot of Miss Lonelyhearts out there - and Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show them some love. Free from the burden of creation myths, Valentine’s Day is about nothing so much as Eros and Amour.

Look around and celebrate those who put the amorous and erotic in your life - and make them love you a little more with any of these sensuous (and sensual...) gifts.

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Montenisa Rosè

Pink champagne and Valentine’s - it’s a no-brainer. They belong together - like you and your boo.

First produced in 2006 in a village whose origins date back to 1158, Montenisa Rosè is from the Franciacorta area, highly regarded for its rich, fertile soil loaded with minerals. Granted the first and only Italian Brut D.O.C.G. appellation (reserved for the highest level of Italian wines) in 1995, the Franciacorta wines undergo a second natural fermentation in the bottles.

The resultant Montenisa Rosè is rosy pink in color, with a creamy foam and lingering perlage (which is a fancy word for "tiny bubbles," those little pinpricks of pleasure that cross the tip of your tongue with every sip of bubbly). Made of 100% Pinot nero grapes, the Montenisa Rosè releases vibrant aromas cloaked in 12.5% alcohol, which is just enough to loosen the tongue and sharpen the wit. Because, after all, doesn’t everything look better through a flute of rose-colored champagne?

You’re going to need two bottles of this one - and maybe a third, just in case you both get lucky, because as Balzac said, "Great love affairs start with Champagne..."

PRICE: $26 - 35 / 750 ml.
LINK: Montenisa Rosè

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Jacques Torres Chocolates / William Dean Chocolates

Chocolates and roses and Valentine’s go together like that threesome you knew in college: always together, always in bed, always beaming. And let’s face it, you give your boo some chocolate and some roses, it’s almost inevitable that Cupid’s going to make sure you get some.

The thing is, when you’re giving chocolate, you’re giving a taste of yourself. The chocolate you give reflects back on you - so step it up and make sure you’re giving good chocolate. Heaven knows there’s an abundance of boutique chocolate out there these days, so pick up something worthy of your reflection. Consider chocolate aficionados Jacques Torres and William Dean.

Better known as "Mr Chocolate" (check out his domain name), Jacques Torres was a pioneer in Williamsburg, causing Manhattanites to flock over the river for his Jacques Torres Spicy Hot Chocolate. The star chocolatier’s current flavors include grand cru, Earl Grey, pineapple pastis, Bin 27 port, golden espresso, ginger - and on and on with enough imaginative appellation to make you salivate in your sleep.

Founded in 2007, William Dean Chocolates is named in honor of the founder’s father and grandfather. Everything at William Dean is made by hand in their Largo, Florida shop, in small batches without preservatives. If you haven’t yet seen William Dean chocolates, you’re in for a surreal surprise. The decorative chocolates appear in a wide range of evocative flavors such as lavender, key lime, bananas foster, crème brulee, grapefruit & tarragon, hot chocolate marshmallow, port with fig and plum, PB & J.

As for us, we’re partial to William Dean’s Mexican mango, an award-winning bon bon of milk chocolate ganache infused with fresh lime juice and a layer of mango pate de fruit with a green chile infused sea salt. Try repeating that - or better yet, hand a boxful to your Valentine right before you roll into bed.

PRICE: $13.00 / 5-piece assortment / Wiliam Dean
$19.20 / 25-piece assortment / Jacques Torres
LINK: William Dean Chocolates
Jacques Torres Chocolates

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MensUnderwearStore : Underwear of the Month

Chocolates, check. Roses, check. Underwear? It’s the new Valentine’s trio: chocolates, roses - and underwear. Can we say Victoria’s Secret? Those straight men know how to get some - so should you.

If you’re not the Victoria’s Secret sort (and who are we to sit in judgement?), then you might try out MensUnderwearStore, which has their own Underwear of the Month club. Who needs Cookie of the Month club, when you could be receiving briefs that enhance your package (rather than packing on the pounds with cookies).

For example, the December/January Underwear of the Month at MensUnderwearStore was the All Star No Show brief from 2(x)ist. Made of 57% cotton, 37% modal, and 6% Spandex, these briefs not only showcase your wares, but they’re also delicious to wear - and equally nice to remove.

PRICE: $14.00 / pair
LINK: MensUnderwearStore

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Jurlique: Rose Hand Cream / Love Balm

A rose is a rose is a rose, wrote Miss Gertrude Stein - who knew how to hold on to a partner for life. But who needs a bouquet of roses when you can, instead, offer your Valentine a tube of Jurlique’s Rose Hand Cream.

Ever since 1985, Jurlique founders, Dr. Jurgen Klein and his wife, have farmed a small corner of south Australia, cultivating more than 35 herbs and flowers for their all natural skincare line. The 153-acre Jurlique farm uses no pesticides or herbicides in order to maintain a completely biodynamic organic business.

Fragranced with calendula, viola - and yes, rose, Jurlique’s Rose Hand Cream deeply moisturizes and protects the hands of the one you love.

Give this to your sweetest Valentine, along with Jurlique’s Love Balm. Because who could resist a product called Love Balm? A moisturizing salve scented with tangerine oil, Jurlique’s Love Balm protects dry and chapped skin, thanks to a beeswax base and oils of olive, soybean, and safflower.

Packaged in a sweet little pot (perfect for the pocket or the manbag) Jurlique’s Love Balm is meant for lips, fingers, elbows - and any other body part that needs a little extra tender loving care. Gertrude Stein would know how to use it.

PRICE: $25.00 / 1.4 oz (40 ml) / Rose Hand Cream $15.00 / Love Balm
LINK: Jurlique

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(Valentine’s Day Gift Guide continues on next page: Stoli, Parker, Nu Skin, and Ooh la la Candy...)



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