They say the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. But I’ve found that works both ways.

For your love this Valentine’s Day put together food gifts of Alabama-made products, such as the award-winning soft goat cheese that Belle Chevre has made in Elkmont since 1986.

Or take a couples’ cooking class for a date night or as part of a weekend getaway. Resort hotels and private instructors around the Yellowhammer State will teach how to make everything from Southern classics to food from Italy, Spain, and around the world. A few also offer wine classes. The Epicurean Experience, set for March in Auburn, is a weekend-long immersion.

Here are some ideas for food-related Valentine’s gifts from Alabama that go beyond the usual. But don’t delay. Classes and events fill up quickly. A Valentine’s cheese tasting at The Son of a Butcher in Birmingham sold out by late January.


Culinary and Beverage Academy (Point Clear)

The Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa offers classes in both cooking and cocktails. The Culinary Academy ($30), held on Saturdays, includes two-hour cooking and sampling sessions. The monthly Beverage Academy ($30), held on Fridays, is an hour-long cocktail demo and sampling. Each confers diplomas. Book by telephone (251-928-9201) or online.

Habitat Cooking School (Mountain Brook)

Held inside a classroom with cooking facilities at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Mountain Brook Village, upcoming sessions (book here) feature tapas, Southern cooking, international street food, knife skills, and grilling tips. The Grand Bohemian also offers wine-blending classes where participants taste varietals and make their own custom blend to be bottled with a personal label. Most cooking and wine-blending classes are $149 each.

Epicurean Experience (Auburn)

Set for March 22-24, it’s a weekend-long deep dive into food, wine, and cocktail-making at Auburn University’s Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center. The itinerary includes cooking demonstrations by 1856 restaurant guest chef Jeremiah Langhorne (The Dabney in Washington D.C.), wine classes and tastings with the center’s master sommelier, Thomas Price, a reception on the rooftop of the center’s Laurel Hotel and Spa, and a nine-course tasting dinner.


Cooking with Culture (Hoover)

She’s a gregarious Italian-born real estate agent. He’s a gregarious Italian-American restauranteur (Vecchia Pizzeria y Mercato, Moss Rock Tacos and Tequila, both in Hoover). Together Giuliana Russo-Skinner and Benard Tamburello make food fun at Saturday-morning hands-on classes and Thursday-evening wine and dine chef demos and tastings. Post-Valentine’s hands-on cooking classes include Neapolitan pizza and homemade lasagna. Upcoming wine and dine gatherings are Not your Nonna’s meatballs, Bolognese pasta, and Carbonara. Sign up here.

The Boot Pizzeria (Huntsville)

Recent classes include how-tos for making duck ragu pappardelle, vegan dishes, and Venetian small bites (cicchetti). Keep up with the schedule on The Boot Cooking Class page on Facebook.


Belle Chevre Goat Cheese (Elkmont)

The Greek Kiss Valentine’s Day Box ($35) starts with two 4-ounce rounds of Greek Kiss, Belle Chevre’s spreadable fresh goat cheese that is wrapped in a brined grape leaf (it won a silver award at the 2022-2023 World Cheese championship). Single-serve jars of spicy pomegranate jalapeno compote and a 7-ounce package of gourmet graham crackers round out the set. The tang of the goat cheese, sweet-spicy compote, and pie spices in the graham crackers is a deliciously complex combination to end a romantic dinner for two at home. Order online.

Alabama Goods (Homewood, Huntsville)

The two brick-and-mortar stores are chock-full of Alabama-made food products from sauces to mixes, preserved goods, and savory snacks. Valentine’s themed gift boxes, available for shipping, include Divine Desserts, Hot Stuff snacks and condiments, and packages like Sent with Love combining sweet and savory treats from Alabama.