Valentine's Day is just a couple of days away. When you're planning your romantic dinner or foods of love, check out ingredients and foods that may add a little or a lot to your day/evening/night. (the below list was compiled from the linked book.)
People have been using alcohol to stimulate the libido for centuries. But while a moderate amount of alcohol will reduce anxiety and release inhibitions one glass too many is more likely to put you asleep than put you in the mood.
For an aphrodisiacal treat use it as a dip for either artichokes or asparagus.
Antlers and horns are considered to be aphrodisiacs especially in Eastern Asia. Why? Because they resemble an erect penis. Antlers are ground up into a powder and sprinkled on food or into drinks.
The ancient Chinese considered this round thin skinned fruit (which originated in China) to be a symbol of a sensual nature. Try feeding your lover fresh apricots which are available from May to July. Look for fragrant fruits with a red blush that gives slightly to pressure.
The simple act of stripping an artichoke of its leaves, dipping them into butter and scrapping off the tender flesh with your teeth is a very sensual experience. Simply cut off the artichoke's thorny tips, snap off the tough leaves, slice off the stem and rub with lemon juice. Steam until tender, about 30-60 minutes. Try dipping artichokes into curried mayonnaise, lemon or herb butter or vinaigrette.
Perhaps the most erotic member of the vegetable kingdom. In nineteenth century France bridegrooms were required to eat several courses consisting of asparagus, asparagus and more asparagus because of its reputed powers to arouse. The best way to eat this member of the lily family is steamed or boiled and dressed with butter, olive oil or Hollandaise sauce.
If you need us to explain why this sweet, creamy, soft-fleshed fruit that's generally between 7 and 9 inches long is an aphrodisiac you need a lot more than our dictionary for amorous inspiration.
This flavorful herb is used in Voodoo love ceremonies in Haiti.
Meat works wonders on your libido and brain. After a high protein meal, your blood stream is flooded with the amino acid tyrosine. The chemicals made from tyrosine, dopamine and norepinephrine, trigger brain cells that enhance mental alertness and concentration.
If your libido is out to lunch you may be low on seratonin (a brain chemical that effects mood) and energy. A carbo fix combined with a little tryptophan (an amino acid found in a variety of meat and dairy products) may increase seratonin levels, energy and desire.
According to traditional Indian herbal medicine, a nightcap of powdered cardamom that has been boiled with milk and mixed with honey can help cure impotence and premature ejaculation.
This popular root vegetable, with its phallic shape and sweet flavor, was used to seduce lovers by Middle Eastern royalty.
Caviar is considered an aphrodisiac for several reasons. Eggs are a symbol of fertility. Caviar, like Aphrodite who was born from sea foam, comes from the sea. Caviar, like many aphrodisiacs, is a very precious food that is reserved for special occasions. The best caviar is imported Beluga, and the best way to enjoy it is by the spoonful with chilled vodka or champagne. Less expensive varieties are great as a topping for roasted new potatoes, scooped out and filled with sour cream.
Celery contains androsterone, a powerful male hormone that researchers believe is released through sweat and attracts females.
Bubbly is lovely and makes any time of the day or night special. The bubbles actually help the alcohol get into the blood stream a little quicker so you get a buzz on toute suite. You don't have to spend big bucks to enjoy a little bubbly.
Chocolate contains over 400 different chemicals including caffeine (see java) and phenylethylamine (PEA), a brain chemical that some scientists believe arouses the same feelings that we experience when we are in love. The Aztecs were the first chocoholics. They ground cocoa beans added spices and drank the bitter brew without sugar. Legend has it that Montezuma drank 50 cups of cocoa before entering his harem of several hundred women. In the mid 17th century chocolate developed a reputation as an aphrodisiac among chic Brits.
This dried bud of an evergreen tree is one of the world's oldest, dearest and most expensive spices. Cloves were probably first used by the Chinese around 200 B.C. The word clove comes from the Roman word for tack, clovis. They were believed to have medicinal powers and still have a reputation as a powerful love food. Cloves have a warm, sweet almost peppery flavor that is frequently used to add character to cakes, fruit compotes, mulled wine and ham.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize why these cool vegetables are considered to be an aphrodisiac.
If you can't get one maybe you need to eat more dates. In Iran dates are used to help people who's sex life is withering.
According to the Chicago Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, the smell of donuts combined with black licorice significantly increases penile blood flow.
All kinds of eggs, from chicken to fish eggs (caviar), have been thought of as fertility symbols and by extension aphrodisiacs.
The Greeks and Hindus considered fennel to be a potent sexual stimulant. A Hindu formula for sexual vigor includes: fennel juice, honey, ghee (clarified butter), sugar and licorice. In the Mediterranean fennel soup is thought to increase sexual desire.
One of the sexiest fruits on the planet. These plump, soft, sweat, luscious beauties come from one variety of the ficus tree which probably originated in Asia Minor and is one of the oldest edible plants. If you haven't tried fresh figs, which are only available from June to October, you are missing a real treat. Try feeding them to your lover drizzled with a little cream and a sprinkling of sugar. Or, serve figs with sliced melon or pears and prosciutto as an appetizer.
Aphrodite, the goddess of love was born from sea foam, so in general any type of seafood is considered to be an aphrodisiac. The high phosphorus and iodine content of seafood may actually have a beneficial effect on sexual potency.
This rich, sensual, expensive food (the liver of over-stuffed ducks) was a favorite of the famed lover Casanova.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, French soldiers stationed in North Africa got sever cases of priapism (prolonged, painful erection) from eating frogs legs that had eaten meloid beetles which contain Spanish Fly.
A perfectly ripe piece of fruit shared with your lover is a true romantic moment.
This pungent member of the lily family has been used to treat a wide variety of illnesses from the common cold to heart disease. Garlic has been used as an aphrodisiac by the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Japanese.
This pungent root has been used for centuries, both internally and externally, throughout Asia and India as a powerful aphrodisiac. To combat impotence Indian herbalists recommend eating a mixture of ginger juice, honey and half-boiled eggs. In Europe, young maidens baked and ate ginger bread men believing the ritual would bring them a husband.
Ginkgo has been known to increase blood flow throughout the body, especially in the brain. It may also increase penile blood flow resulting in better erections.
The party animal of the vegetable kingdom, grapes have been eaten by mankind since Neolithic times and have probably been cultivated almost as long. Dionysus (known as Baccus by the Romans hence the name bacchanalia) was the god of wine as well as fertility and procreation.
One of the ultimate love foods, honey is sweet and spreadable and perfect for dipping or spreading. The word honeymoon derives from the ancient custom that for the first lunar month after marriage a newly married couple would drink mead (honey wine). Some cultures spread a little honey on the palms of the bride and groom and have them lick it off each other to ensure a sweet life together. The Egyptians offered honey to the God of fertility, Min.
Cherries Jubilee. Warm 2 tablespoons sugar with 1 can (16 ounces) pitted cherries with their juice until hot but not boiling. Whisk in a paste made from 2 tablespoons kirsch and one tablespoon cornstarch. Heat until hot, not boiling. Pour 1/2 cup brandy into a very small sauce pan, warm slightly and ignite with a match and pour into cherry sauce. Spoon sauce over vanilla ice cream and enjoy.
Fatigue can really squash romance. A quick jolt of java can perk you up and put you in the mood for amour. Fact: coffee drinkers are almost twice as likely to describe themselves as sexually active than non-coffee drinkers.
This unusual and sensual citrus fruit is eaten skin and all and is an excellent food to pitch into your lover's mouth. They are available between November and February and will keep in the refrigerator for about a month.
Rack of lamb for two is one of life's most romantic foods.
Several liqueurs have developed a reputation as aphrodisiacs including Chartreuse (especially the green variety) and Benedictine (both developed by monks) and Creme de Damiana (a Mexican liqueur).
This is a very sexy food to eat. You rip the flesh apart with your hands and dip in butter.
High cholesterol levels are one of the leading causes of penile erectile dysfunction. In fact, men with high cholesterol levels have almost double the chance of having trouble getting an erection. While an occasionally high fat indulgence is fine, we advocate eating a low fat, high fiber diet most of the time to help keep cholesterol levels low and erectile function high.
M & M
This exotic, sensual fruit has a moist flesh resembling peach, papaya and apricot. There are hundreds of varieties of mangoes which are extremely popular in India, Mexico and the Caribbean. Fresh mangoes are available from May to September. Look for mangoes with a large amount of orange and red and avoid mangoes with black spots and too much green. Ripe mangoes are messy, juicy and luscious.
This fragrant spice has been prized by Arabs, Greeks, Hindus and Romans as an aphrodisiac. In India, a combination of nutmeg, honey and a half-boiled egg is eaten an hour before sex to prolong love making.
Whether you prefer walnuts, almonds or macadamias, nuts have had a reputation as aphrodisiacs for centuries. During harvest festivals in Rome, maidens passed out bowls of nuts as symbols of fertility.
Onions, a common ingredient in almost all cuisines, have been used for thousands of years as an aphrodisiac. Onions are recommended in both ancient Hindu and Arabic texts on the art of making love. In France, newlyweds were served onion soup the day after their wedding to restore sexual vigor, and Egyptian priests abstained from onions because of their lusty reputation.
One of the world's classic love foods. Legend has it that Casanova ate 50 raw oysters every morning in the bath tub using a beautiful woman's breasts as a plate. Oysters are very high in zinc. Research has found that a low sperm count is connected to low zinc levels.
Native to China, peaches have long been associated with ripe sexuality by the Chinese. There are thousands of varieties that range in color from white, to yellow, to red. Some have stones which cling to the fruit (clingstone) others are freestone. Domestic peaches are available from May to September, but they are really best from June to August. The best peaches have a wonderful aroma and give in to slight pressure. Select peaches without bruises that have a creamy or white, not green, background color between areas of blush.
According to The Perfumed Garden (an ancient Arabic love manual), ground pepper mixed with cardamom or lavender, galanga, musk, honey and ginger is a potent topical aphrodisiac for men. In India pepper corns are crushed with almonds, mixed with milk and consumed as an aphrodisiac.
These nuts (actually seeds of the pine tree) have been used as an aphrodisiac throughout the Mediterranean and the East. The Roman poet, Ovid, included pine nuts in his list of aphrodisiacs. The Perfumed Garden, (an ancient Arabic love manual), contains many references to pine nuts including this prescription to restore a man's sexual vigor: "A glass of thick honey, plus 20 almonds and 100 pine nuts repeated for three nights."
This deep red fruit is recommended in the Karma Sutra (an Indian love making manual) as an erotic aid.
Due to its color, fragrance and many seeds, the quince was dedicated to Aphrodite (the Greek Goddess of love) and Venus (the Roman Goddess of love). Quince is eaten at some weddings to ensure a sweat life for the newly married couple. Some say quince was the fruit that tempted Eve.
Rice is a symbol of fertility and a staple food in Asia. In some cultures if a man and woman eat out of the same rice bowl it is a declaration of their engagement. Rice is thrown at wedding ceremonies for good luck and many children.
Roses are by far the most popular flower given to lovers. Roses have been used for centuries in love potions and the petals are edible. (Just make sure those you eat are grown without chemicals.) Sprinkle petals in a salad or spike vanilla ice cream with a few drops of rose water which is available in Middle Eastern and Indian markets.
This expensive spice has been reputed to work like a sex hormone and make erogenous zones even more sensitive. Saffron is made from the dried stigmas of a type of crocus. About 225,000 stigmas are needed to make one pound of saffron. (Each crocus has about 3 stigmas which must be picked by hand.) Try adding a pinch of saffron to Mediterranean, North African or Middle Eastern grain dishes such as Paella, a traditional Spanish rice dish that contains sausage and seafood.
Japanese rice wine or sake is frequently drunk as part of Japanese wedding ceremonies. In the orient rice is a symbol of fertility.
A ripe strawberry is another perfect love food, both innocent and sexy. Try dipping them in chocolate, sour cream and brown sugar or whipped cream. Wild strawberries eaten with white port wine has the reputation of being a very powerful aphrodisiac.
Sweet potatoes are reputed to expand your ability to give and receive love. In late 16th century Europe sweet potato tarts were recommended to increase sexual desire.
This spirit made from cactus has been used for centuries to promote sexual desire.
Known as love-apples by the French, the humble tomato may have been the real culprit that got Adam and Eve kicked out of Eden. Fresh, ripe tomatoes, locally grown and eaten in season are a very seductive food. Try them with a little fresh mozzarella cheese and some basil. Tomatoes are rich in the phytochemical lycopene which can help prevent prostate cancer.
The fragrant musty smell of this precious, rare fungus contains chemicals that are similar to the sex hormones in the male pig. (Ok everyone, make your male pig jokes here.) According to the famed French gastronome Brillat-Savarin: "Whoever says 'truffle' utters a great word which arouses erotic and gastronomic memories."
Iranians use this vegetable to rekindle a dwindling sex life.
Unagi, or raw sea eel, is a popular Japanese aphrodisiac. In America, it's a popular item on sushi menus. Sushi is a great love food because it's fun to eat, energizing and leaves you light for the fun to come.
The word vanilla comes from the Spanish word vanilla which is similar to the Spanish vaina which means vagina. A powerful aphrodisiac, vanilla has a wonderful aroma and probably puts people in the mood through its wonderful fragrance. Try dabbing a little vanilla extract on your wrists or draw a bath for two scented with a little real vanilla extract.
In Rome, walnuts were thrown at newlyweds instead of rice and they were used in ancient fertility ceremonies. Walnuts have also been used in Italy and France to intensify desire.
This flower of the vanilla orchid was named for the youngest daughter of a South American fertility goddess who transformed herself into a plant that would bring pleasure and happiness. (see vanilla)
Also known as Mate, Paraguay tea and South American holly, this hormone-like stimulant is used to increase libido, testosterone levels and blood flow to the penis. Don't look for it on grocery store shelves. It is sold as a dietary supplement.
Zinc is linked to both fertility, sexual desire and potency. Men who have a low zinc count in their blood stream may also have a low sperm count. Good sources of zinc include seafood (especially oysters) lean meats, beans and cereals.
The phallic shape says it all
From Food As Foreplay Recipes for Romance, Love and Lust