The Food For Love
There is a longstanding debate between those
who say that certain foods contain aphrodisiacal properties
and those who say it’s just wishful thinking. The list
of foods that history has deemed as certain to get your motor
going ranges from nuts (no pun intended) to clams, oysters,
and even chiles. In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we
thought it might be fun to take a look at some of the obvious
and some of the more surprising foods thought to help out anyone
looking for a libido lift.
If we need to explain why this sweet, creamy, fleshy fruit
that’s generally between seven and nine inches long
is claimed to be an aphrodisiac, then you need a lot more
than this article for inspiration. Reserve a table at The
Westgate Hotel’s famous Le Fontainebleau and set your
lover’s heart on fire with some Bananas Foster. Bananas
are combined with rum, butter, and brown sugar and cooked
tableside before being served over creamy vanilla ice cream.
Ginger Root And Mustard
Both ancient Hindu and Chinese cultures thought highly
of ginger root’s medicinal qualities. Cooked, raw,
or crystallized, it is a stimulant to the circulatory
system. According to the
experts, anything that gets your blood going, especially for
men, as Martha likes to say, is “a good thing.” Mustard
and horseradish are also believed to stimulate the sexual glands
and increase desire. No wonder so many men choose a trip to
the sushi bar as a first date.
The Aztecs referred to chocolate as the “nourishment
of the gods.” It contains chemicals some researchers
say affect the brain, creating feelings of security and wellbeing.
Maybe it’s no accident that for centuries, men have been
giving women heart-shaped boxes of chocolate for Valentine’s
Day. At Chuao Chocolatier, master chocolatier Michael Antonorsi
has been combining chocolate with some pretty interesting flavors,
from bacon bits (for that sweet and salty thing) to filling
chocolates with green apples and Calvados Apple brandy. For
Valentine’s Day, Antonorsi has created Eros, a hand-decorated
pure chocolate heart box filled with truffles that have been
infused with Champagne ganache, appropriately named for the
Greek god of love and desire. Now that’s sneaky, combining
the properties of chocolate (security and well-being) with
the light-headed playfulness known to be brought on by a glass
The Greeks and Romans considered the highly prized truffle
to be an aphrodisiac. Often referred to as “black diamonds” since
they cost nearly $800 a pound, these fungi give off a musky
scent thought to resemble the smell of sex, and are said to
stimulate and sensitize the skin to touch. It has been said
that Napoleon, the Marquis de Sade, and Madame Pampadour all
ate them for their amatory powers.
Chef Logue at Vivace Restaurant
serves slivered black truffles over creamy Parmesan risotto,
Pascal Vignau flavors Savory’s
creamy macaroni and cheese with truffle oil, and Carl Schroeder
serves truffle mayonnaise with his French fries at Arterra.
I’ve heard chefs make great lovers; maybe it’s
the truffle-creamy combo they all seem to favor.
The Aztecs called the avocado tree “Ahuacuati,” which
translates as “testicle tree.” The ancients apparently
thought the fruit hanging in pairs on the tree resembled
male genitalia. Keeping that in mind, why anyone would think
slicing into an avocado and eating it is beyond comprehension.
Nevertheless, they discovered an exotic fruit with a sensuous
texture, thought to improve your skin, hair, and staying
power. Guacamole, anyone?
Figs And Strawberries
Again it’s the theory that anything that resembles
a sexual organ must promote sexual desire. The pretty,
sensuous, and heart-shaped appearance of a sliced fig or
strawberry is said to make men feel ultra masculine, especially
fed to them in bed by their lovers. For dessert, try dipping
strawberries in fresh cream or serve the figs with sliced
melon and procuitto as an appetizer.
If you’re having trouble getting one, you might try
eating more dates. In Iran, dates are supposedly fed to
love life is ailing.
Not quite sure if it’s the high price-tag or the
high protein content, but these fish eggs have been prized
lovers for centuries. A favorite amuse bouche of Casanova
himself, caviar is undisputedly thought of as one of the
foods in the world.
The Romans documented oysters as an aphrodisiac as early
the second century. The great Roman satirist Juvenal often
the amorous ways of women after drinking wine and eating
giant oysters. (An additional hypothesis is that the oyster
the female genitalia.)
A glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc and
a plate of fresh oysters at the romantic La Valencia
Hotel might be in order. If all
goes well, there’s always room service to replenish
your supply, and, of course, don’t forget the chocolates
delivered at turndown. — Terryl Gavre