Looking for some ways to spice up date night from the comfort of your own home? There’s no need to get dressed up and go out for expensive meals every time you want to treat your partner to a date night. Instead, try one of these fun and tasty at-home date night options that’ll keep things much more private and cozier (but won’t skimp on tastiness).
Charcuterie Board Night
One of my personal favorite ways to spend a delicious evening in, creating a charcuterie board, is far and away the most low-maintenance option on this list. The prep and shopping time is a bit more demanding, but there is no cook time and almost no clean-up time. A win-win in my book.
What to cook: You can make your charcuterie board as large or simple as you’d like, as well as tailoring it to your preferences. An ideal charcuterie board has a variety of textures and flavors. For a full board, think about including: a soft cheese (brie or goat cheese work well), one or more hard cheeses (sharp cheddar, fontina, asiago, and so on), and a cured meat or two (salami, prosciutto, or pepperoni are good choices), plus other accoutrements that you prefer.
These extras can include: honey or jam, crackers, fresh artisan bread, olives, bruschetta, grapes, apples, pears, nuts, pickled veggies, figs, dipping oil or balsamic vinegar, dried fruit, artichokes, and so on.
Drink pairings: Wine is always a great choice with a cheese board, but don’t shy away from a high-end cider or beer either.
A more time-intensive, but very fun and sexy food date, making an evening of fondue can be a wonderful treat every so often. It helps to have a fondue pot, but a double boiler can also do the trick. The best way to do a fondue night is to choose three courses to enjoy over the course of a long, luxurious evening. But if you want to skip some of the work, you could always eat a simpler meal and then delight in homemade chocolate fondue for dessert.
What to cook: Start with a delicious cheese fondue (often featuring swiss, gruyere, and other rich melty cheeses, plus wine) with bread, fruit, potatoes, and other small bites to dip. Then try a main course fondue like a coq au vin or decadent broth, in which you cook small pieces of steak, chicken, fish, or vegetables. Finally, end with a dessert fondue of your choice; classic chocolate, white chocolate champagne, or even butterscotch can all be delicious, and pair well with fruit, pretzels, pound cake, and other decadent dippers.
This is a splurge night at its finest. Make a list of all the snacks and appetizer type foods you and your partner crave but never have, and then pick a few to make. The catch is that you should try to make grown-up or gourmet versions of your favorite snack foods. But don’t worry; this should still be a pajamas-on, watching old movies, casual kind of at-home date night.
What to cook: The possibilities are almost endless. If you love dips, try chorizo queso fundido, fancy clam dip, or caramelized onion and prosciutto dip. Fond of greasy bar food? Switch them up with pork belly sliders, chili lime mozzarella sticks, vegetable tempura, or a host of other delicious picks. The only limit here is your imagination.
Drink pairings: Nicer versions of cheap drinks would be key here. Try a new beer or cider, make a classier vodka cranberry or gin and tonic. Keep it fresh and light if you can, to make up for the potentially heavy food you’ll be splurging on.
Annie Burdick is a writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon, but transplanted from the Midwest. She also works as a community inclusion specialist for adults with disabilities. Previously she's edited and written for magazines, websites, books, and small businesses, on an absurdly wide range of topics. She spends the rest of her time reading, eating good food, and finding new adventures in the Pacific Northwest.