Hearts and vines

Although Valentine's Day is not a very Israeli holiday, it is being promoted here by all kinds of commercial interests. So if you're looking for some kind of excuse to surprise your partner with a romantic gift or dinner, you have one.

valbiz888 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
Next week we'll have a couple of occasions to celebrate with Tu B'Shvat, the Jewish tree-planting festival on Monday, followed by Valentine's Day on Tuesday. Although Valentine's Day is not a very Israeli holiday given its Christian roots, it is being promoted here by all kinds of commercial interests. So if you're looking for some kind of excuse to surprise your partner with a romantic gift or dinner, you have one. The Candyland stores sell heart-shaped chocolates wrapped in red foil in a cute mug decorated with hearts, or on a heart-shaped plate. The mug with chocolates is NIS 39 and the plate is NIS 89. The Roladin bakeries make heart-shaped little chocolate cakes, enough for a treat for two, decorated with a white chocolate heart and strawberry-flavored macaroons. The price for this heart, sitting in a gift box with filled with little meringues, is NIS 39.90. If you want to bake a cake yourself, you can get heart-shaped silicone cake forms at the Domo cook stores for NIS 79. The pink cake form can be folded up for easy storage. At the Coffee Bean stores, you can get a Tropical Lust latte, based on black tea with tropical fruit flavor, French vanilla, and hot milk. The price for this drink is NIS 16-18, depending on the size. If you want to celebrate at home and order in salads from Tal Bagels for NIS 150 or more, you will get a free bottle of red or white wine. For a real splurge, you can also have a chef cook for you at home. One of the chefs from Showchef can cook a five-course dinner for you, without you having to leave your dining room. For information, go to the website www.showchef.co.il. For a permanent romantic atmosphere in your kitchen, you can buy an Amcor Art decorated refrigerator such as a pink refrigerator with red lips and the words "I love you" or a picture of Cupid with a little poem. The refrigerator is NIS 8,450, or NIS 9,490 for a side-by-side model. When you get tired of the picture, you can change the front panel. Pampering gift packages can be found ready-made or ready-to-assemble in the soap and candle stores such as Laline, Sabon Shel Pa'am, or Nerot BeShenkin. At the Laline stores, heart-shaped soaps or bath minerals that dissolve in water are NIS 17. "Sexy" massage and bath oil is NIS 59, and a supposedly tasty gel called Inside Out, with the taste and fragrance of strawberry-vanilla, is NIS 69 (if you buy two, you will receive the third for free). At Sabon Shel Pa'am, a ceramic incense stick holder is NIS 32, and decorative wax pearls in different colors and fragrances that can be put in glasses and burnt as candles are NIS 30 for 100 gr. Beautiful gift boxes to wrap up your gifts are NIS 18-24 in this store. At Nerot BeShenkin, heart-shaped soaps are NIS 15, vanilla or cherry-scented heart-shaped candles are NIS 29-39, "sexy" massage oil is NIS 58, and here too you can find strawberry or vanilla sensual oil that can be rubbed in and licked off, sold at NIS 68 for 75 ml. SuperPharm sells a special edition of Life Spa shower gel and body milk, with the scent of tropical fruit. The gel is NIS 5 if you buy two other Life products, and the body milk is NIS 7. To make sure your hair smells delicious, too, try the Herbal Essence shampoo and conditioner. especially for Valentine's Day, a package of shampoo and conditioner is sold at NIS 27. Beautiful and romantic greeting cards, heart shaped gift boxes, or boxes with incense sticks and holders and candles by Palphot can be found in stationery stores, book stores and gift stores. To say it with flowers, Zer4U has a Valentine's Day flower arrangement with pink lilies, decorative branches, and a big heart made out of marshmallows for NIS 200, or an orchid in a flower pot decorated with marshmallows for NIS 169. Arrangements must be ordered in advance. For a romantic night out, you will need the right make-up, such as sexy deep-red lipstick. Avon sells Kiss & Love lipstick, which is heart-shaped and decorated with hearts. The lipstick comes in five different shades and is now on sale for NIS 35 (call 03-6485316 to find out where to purchase). Dior's Addict Plastic Gloss make the lips look full and sexy and is available at the SuperPharm stores for NIS 138. If you want some sexy lingerie for Valentine night, Fix has some sets of red-and-black panties decorated with hearts, lips, or the word "love," available in the H&O, the Mashbir Le'tsarhan, and other lingerie stores. A set of three sexy panties (string or bikini) is sold for NIS 29.90 at Renuar, while WomenOnly sells lingerie for women with bigger cup sizes. Prices for bras vary from NIS 120 to NIS 400, and prices for panties, also sexy strings with tiger-print, if you like, vary from NIS 29 to NIS 179. For Tu B'Shvat you can, of course, just go to any nursery and buy some pots and plants, but if you prefer to have your kids decorate their pots first, you can find kits in toy stores and stationery stores that contain pots, decorations and paints. At Toys 'R' Us, you can get a Clay Pot Creations set, containing five pots, stencils for different decorations, sand, and glue for NIS 40. Yetsira art kits has a set to make five decorated pots with glitters, paint, and stickers, sold for NIS 49.90, or a Garden Fantasy set of three white pots, a dish and watering can and special paints to decorate them, sold for NIS 69 at Kfar HaSha'ashuyim, for example. If you buy a two-liter bottle of Prigat fresh juice, you will receive a pot with a daffodil bulb and dirt for free. This deal is valid at most bigger supermarkets until the end of February. At Ace, different gardening tools such as little shovels and rakes are sold at a special price this month, starting at NIS 12, while miniature olive trees are NIS 20 until the end of the month. Zer4U sells miniature olive trees in a pot decorated with dried fruits for NIS 100 (you will have to order in advance). At the Roladin bakeries, you can get a very original flower in a pot with edible dirt - a flower pot filled with yummy chocolate fudge cake, decorated with silk flowers and a mushroom-shaped meringue.This creation is NIS 29.90. Bakeries also have special cakes with dried fruit for the occasion. Bonjour, for example, has a nice cake with ricotta cheese-vanilla and strawberry jam filling (NIS 24.90), and muffins cake with dried fruit (NIS 18). English Cake, meanwhile, has dried fruit pies filled with dates, figs, plums and nuts with a caramel topping. Prices for their cakes vary from NIS 24 to NIS 60. Finally, supermarkets now have special deals on dried fruit. At Mega, for example, certain dried fruits are sold at NIS 14 for two packages, or NIS 19 for three packages. New this year at Mega and Super Center are dried strawberries, selling at NIS 10 for 200 gr.