Love bites: These foods are guaranteed to turn you on
Valentine’s Day is days away and you’re thinking romantic meals, right? Candle-lit restaurant dinners are a bit passé. DIY, choosing ingredients with mood-enhancing properties and turning them into pleasure-inducing dishes. It’s so much sexier.
Perhaps it is the shape of this succulent veggie that made the Greeks mention it in their love poetry. The French, too, dined on several portions of asparagus on the day before the wedding and they know a thing or two about these matters. Now, of course, we know the vegetable contains Vitamin E which provides energy, sexual and otherwise, and aspartic acid which reduces fatigue.
To turn asparagus into a delicious appetizer, simply steam until just tender, plunge into ice cold water and serve drizzled with a light vinaigrette.
The Aztecs, the earliest eaters of avocadoes, said it came from the ‘testicle tree’. Not the prettiest description, we agree. But if you’ve seen the fruit on the tree, you’ll know why. Later research has revealed that avocadoes are packed with nutrients such as beta carotene, magnesium and vitamin E, all of which enhance sexual health. So, the Aztecs weren’t too far off the mark.
To serve avocado, begin by choosing a firm, ripe fruit. Unripe avocado is inedible. Mash it up, turn it into a guacamole or creamy dip and eat with tortilla chips or crudités. Avocado also makes a luscious dessert, blended till smooth with cream and sugar and served cold.
This is probably the most extravagant of aphrodisiacs. In history, Casanova, Rasputin and Dosteovsky are known to have had a taste for the stuff, eating expensive spoonfuls of it. These salty, pearly sturgeon roe that go ‘plop’ in the mouth are considered an aphrodisiac for a reason. They are a source of lean protein, providing sustained energy and also contain the amino acid I-arginine, which helps increase blood flow.
You could, as the Russians do, serve caviar on blinis topped with sour cream. Or, serve it simply, at room temperature and using a non-metallic spoon made out of bone, shell or mother-of-pearl. An ice cold shot of the best Russian vodka is the thing to drink with this. Be warned though; the price of caviar could bring your libido plunging down.
You may dismiss this as a boring salad vegetable, but celery has properties that make it earn the ‘aphrodisiac’ tag. In fact, the scent of celery stalks suggests the presence of androsterone, which is the primary male pheromone, serving to attract females.
Celery can be cooked in soups, alongside roasts and in stirfries. Serve it as a raw snack, with a cream cheese dip.
There is no drink that suggests romance the way Champagne does. Any sparkling wine won’t do. The real thing comes from the Champagne region in France and must be made according to time-honoured tradition. Champagne contains substances which make it an aphrodisiac. But it’s the style that makes it the drink for lovers. An elegant bottle, clad in green and gold, which must be teased open to explode in a burst of singing bubbles – you get the idea.
Serve champagne from an ice bucket in which it has been chilling and poured into tulip glasses. To take things a little further, add vanilla-infused brandy and a sugar cube into a glass and top with Champagne. The vanilla is a mood-enhancer, too.
Few things say ‘I love you’ as a box of chocolates does. It is one of the world’s oldest pleasures going back to the days of the Mayans. The Aztec ruler Montezuma is said to have consumed several cups of hot chocolate in a day. And he was a tireless lover, by all accounts. There has been lots of research into chocolate and it’s been found that it contains high levels of anti-oxidants. Also, eating chocolate is said to release natural opiates in the brain, accounting for the feel-good factor of tucking into a dark bar. Still, who needs an excuse to eat chocolate!
To give your romantic meal the perfect finale, serve a selection of dark chocolates with cognac or liqueur. Or, if you are up to it, serve fresh strawberries dipped in melted chocolate.
Many foods – from bananas to ginseng root — are considered aphrodisiacs because of their appearance. This could well be true of figs, which have been associated with sexuality in various ancient civilisations. In ancient Greece figs were symbols of love and fig season was celebrated with a virtual orgy. Figs are also intriguing; the fig leaf has always stood for modesty, while the seeds nestling in pink flesh are a asymbol of fertility.
Turn figs into a simple, sweet dessert by serving the fruit halved and drizzled with honey. Alternatively, stuff figs with goat’s cheese, grill and serve drizzled with honey for a sweet-salty appetizer.
There must be something to a not-so-pretty mollusc that made it to Casanova’s breakfast table in large numbers. The story of the legendary lover may be pure myth, but modern days scientists have managed to pinpoint specific amino acids that enhance libido in males. The appearance thing applies here, too, and if you look sharply at an open oyster you’ll get the point.
Oysters are best served raw and for that they must be utterly fresh. A squeeze of lemon and perhaps a dash of Tabasco is all it takes. The Thais, another sexy people, serve it as street food, out of the shell, with a fiery chilli sauce and fried shallot slivers.
In Greek mythology it is Aphrodite, goddess of love, who lends her name to ‘aphrodisiacs’, who planted the first pomegranate trees. Pomegranates with their deep red hue and many seeds are a symbol of fertility in several cultures. Recent research has pointed out that pomegranate juice can raise testosterone levels. And that is usually a good thing.
Combine pomegranate juice with tequila and lime juice for a sexy margarita. If the pomegranate fails to deliver, the tequila will certainly do it.
A bit of a cliché, we agree, but they are delicious. In ancient times, it is the deep red colour and the multitude of seeds that caused these berries to be linked to fertility. They do also contain significant amounts of potassium, folic acid and some iron, all of which supply energy and keep the passion going. Of course, you can feed each other strawberries out of a bowl. Or, drop one into a glass of Champagne for a heady feeling.
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