You could treat your sweetheart to items from Gahanna’s Herbal Trail of love this Valentine’s Day, featuring items ranging from decadent fudge at The Chocolate Tree to an intoxicating potion of flavors like chocolate merlot and raspberry champagne from Koko’s Tea Salon & Bakery.
Gahanna’s Herbal Trail is designed to celebrate the city as the herb capital of Ohio, linking herbal offerings related to culinary, gardening, shopping, eco-learning and wellness points of interest.
The gardens along the trail might be dormant, but the shopping is blossoming with an array of Valentine’s Day gifts, said Patty Donahey Geiger, of PDG Communications.
Starting at the trailhead is the Ohio Herb Education Center, 110 Mill St. The gift shop features a variety of offerings, such as a scent called Herbal Surrender in a soy candle, as well as hand and body lotions. For those looking to taunt their taste buds, tea selections like hot cinnamon spice will be featured.
Two workshops are planned at the Ohio Herb Education Center: “Chocolate: Food of the Gods,” on Saturday, Feb. 9, providing the fascinating history of chocolate and herbs; and “Tonics for the Heart,” on Saturday, Feb. 16, when students will learn about herbs that support and nourish the heart.
Wendy Winkler, herb center volunteer and instructor, said Ovid, a Roman poet from ancient times who was known for his romantic verse, referred to herbs, and throughout the ages, they have been used to woo and attract lovers’ desires.
Winkler said periwinkle was believed to cause two people who ate the leaves together to fall in love, and a traditional love potion combined powdered periwinkle, houseleek and earthworms.
She said lavender’s scent has been used for centuries as an attractor, and lemon balm is supposed to keep a loved one from straying.
Koko’s Tea Salon & Bakery, 116 Mill St., has a menu of sweets made for love.
Owner and pastry chef Ava Misseldine said she goes “over the top” for Valentine’s Day, with such romantic flavors as chocolate merlot and raspberry champagne.
“The way to the heart is through the stomach,” Misseldine said.
In the week leading to Valentine’s Day, she will offer heart-shaped cookies, cake pops, hand-painted cupids on cupcakes and chocolate truffles.
“I’ll have hearts, cupids and bows on everything,” she said.
Jewels and More, 121 Mill St., Suite 122, sparkles with such gift ideas as a Pandora gift set, “Love of My Life” jewelry in a porcelain box or “Be My Valentine” heart-shaped earrings, necklace and ring. The shop also offers Pave heart charms in red, black or clear and Pandora Love Birds with two tiny silver birds cuddling over a heart.
Neighboring Honey Grove Botanicals, 121 Mill St., Suite 126, offers heart-shaped bath melts and Chocolate Fizzy Bath Kisses.
Owner Barb Drobnick said “make-and-take” bath teas are quite popular, as customers select their own botanicals to add to essential oils.
“Our herbal candles are our best-sellers,” she said.
The Wine Guy, 101 Mill St., Suite 105, will feature select wines and herb-accented cuisine for Valentine’s Day, along with a special service, according to general manager Dan Williams.
“We’ll be offering the opportunity to buy flowers for your sweetheart when you make your reservation,” he said. “We’ll take care of everything and have the flowers sent to the home, or they can be waiting here as a surprise with dinner.”
Around the corner at The Chocolate Tree, 81 Mill St., Suite 150, a featured item will be chocolate-covered strawberries and their signature fudge in a heart shape.
Employee Autum Hay said the sweet shop also offers a bouquet of love, with cake pops made to resemble roses.
At Zodiac, 69 Mill St., customers will experience a world of astrology and psychic phenomenon. In addition to Valentine’s-themed gifts, Zodiac’s St. Valentine’s Day celebration will feature spirit reader Nada Maibach, who will channel information about past life connections – the love-heart relationships.
Other featured stops on the Herbal Trail of love include Sher Bliss, 1394 Cherry Bottom Road. Owner and wine enthusiast Cheryl Sher is providing Bliss-in-a Bottle, wine dipped in chocolate. The Bellafina wines are dipped in either dark or white chocolate, studded with boysenberry-crunch candy. Sher also will have strawberry-champagne-infused fudge and other Valentine’s delights.
At Wyandotte Winery, 4640 Wyandotte Drive (off Cherry Bottom Road), guests could select from a variety of wines made on site. The winery also has a shop, a wine bar and a dining area.
Wine could be purchased before Valentine’s Day or reserved for the Valentine Wine and Food Pairing Dinner on Feb. 14, featuring a six-course meal.
For one-stop shopping, visit Gahanna Rees Flowers & Gifts, 249 Lincoln Circle, off Granville Street. Owner Mike Rees offers wine, flowers, crystal, porcelain and chocolates.
“We try to offer one-stop shopping for romance and can help you put it all together,” he said. “We even have Valentine’s balloons and cute Valentine’s plush bears. These aren’t just for young daughters because wives and girlfriends love them, too.”
For more information on the Herbal Trail, visit visitgahanna.com or call the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau at 614-418-9114 or 1-866-GAHANNA.