Love is on the Plate
with Suzanne Klein
February 12, 2014
Skipping the overpriced Valentine’s Day restaurant menus this year and cooking for a loved one on February 14 allows you to put a little love on the plate. For centuries, food has been tied to romance, so we’ve put together a collection of ingredients and Savory Spice Shop recipes that can add a little “spice” to your love life.
10 Aphrodisiac Ingredients & Recipes to Spice Up Your Valentine’s Day Meal
1. Avocado: It is said that both the Mayan and Aztec civilizations ate avocado to enhance desirability. The perception of the avocado as a sensuous, forbidden fruit was so pervasive that in the 1920s the U.S. launched an advertising campaign to deny that the avocado had aphrodisiac properties, with hopes that consumers would start buying the fruit without shame. The avocado happens to contain high amounts of vitamin E, protein, and potassium, all of which are said to help increase energy levels. Try Gazpacho Salad with Avocado Dressing for a Valentine's Day boost.
2. Bananas: Maybe it’s the shape of the banana that makes the fruit fall into this lustful list. Or maybe it's that bananas contain an enzyme that is said to trigger testosterone production. They are also high in potassium and vitamin B to promote energy. Try Grilled Spiced Sugar Bananas with Spiced Nuts for a sweet finish to your sweetheart dinner.
3. Chocolate: Chocolate and Valentine’s Day go hand-in-hand. According to ancient Aztecs, chocolate enhanced sexual prowess. And why do we reach for chocolate when we’re feeling down? It contains dopamine and seratonin, which trigger feelings of pleasure in the brain. Forget the tired heart-shaped chocolate box and impress your love with homemade Herbes de Provence Truffles.
4. Chile Peppers: Chiles are a stimulating food that increase your heart rate and dilate your blood vessels, making you sweat and bringing color to your cheeks. They also release good mood-enhancing endorphins. For those who love a culinary thrill, try whipping up some of our Ghost Curry Hot Mess.
5. Garlic: It’s strange to think that the same aromatic that keeps vampires away is also known to ignite desire. Ancient Tibetan monks weren’t allowed to enter a monastery if they had been eating garlic because it was said to stir up passion. Garlic is known to increase circulation and promote blood flow. We love the sweetness of the fermented black garlic. Featured in our Peach Chile Chicken with Black Garlic, it's bound to fire up your passion.
6. Ginger: The Kama Sutra, an ancient Indian Hindu text on sexual behavior, mentions ginger as an aphrodisiac. We love ginger for its stimulating aroma, unique flavor and the heat it generates by increasing the body’s circulation. Try garnishing your Valentine’s Day meal with sweet and spicy Cranberry-Ginger Relish.
7. Honey: Ever wonder where the term “honeymoon” came from? A month’s supply of mead, a fermented alcoholic beverage made from honey, was traditionally given to a bride and groom on their wedding night. This elixir was thought to help get the couple in the mood and sweeten the marriage. Honey also contains chemicals that regulate hormone production and boost energy levels. You don’t have to be married to enjoy our Brown Sugar & Spice Honey Ham Glaze.
8. Saffron: Cleopatra was said to bathe in saffron-infused water before meeting her lovers. The sweet and floral fragrance of saffron is supposed to heighten the senses. And the crocus flower that saffron comes from contains chemicals that may be both relaxing and mood boosting. Our Salted Saffron Tinted Coconut Ice Cream dessert is a sure-fire mood enhancer.
9. Strawberries: Wild strawberries are said to have sprouted when the heart-shaped tears of the Goddess Aphrodite fell to ground after her mortal lover died. No need to spill tears over this folklore. Instead, whip up a Strawberry-Basil “Mojito” to celebrate the season of love.
10. Watermelon: Some science journals claim that watermelon may increase libido, even calling it nature’s Viagra®. Lycopene, the compound that gives watermelon its rosy color, is said to be good for heart health. Dress up this delicious fruit for Valentine’s Day with our recipe for Grilled Watermelon “Caprese” Wedges.
Whatever your Valentine's Day plans, we hope they are filled with a plenty of love and a whole lot of good eating.
Happy Valentine's Day!