Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and many couples will be spending the evening out in a romantic candlelight dinner. However, ideas for Valentines’ Day are often lacking. So here are the ten most aphrodisiac ingredients, plus a set of quick recipes for the lovers’ feast:
Love is no fun without a little tussle every now and then, so it needs to be spicy, stimulating and rich in surprises… just like chilli pepper! The most famous of natural aphrodisiacs, it is perfect in combination with chocolate, in pralines or else in cakes or extra-dark pies.
It’s hard to believe, but garlic is one of the most efficient natural aphrodisiacs in the world, since it contains allicin, a substance which increases blood flow. Why not satisfy your partner’s hunger with spaghetti, garlic, oil and chilli pepper? You can let the garlic rest in milk first, to remove some of its unpleasant smell.
The Aztec king Montezuma used to drink a foamy chocolate brew before going to see one of his wives. In combination with chilli pepper, in fact, cacao is the ideal to warm up an evening, thanks to its mix of substances, including endorphin, serotonin and caffeine. Why not dip strawberries into chocolate to make a tasty and sensual dessert?
Oysters served raw, with a lemon sauce or a dish of pasta with oysters and arugula: these are among the quickest recipes you can make for Valentine’s Day, making use of the full potential of this mollusc, the true king of aphrodisiac ingredients, frequently consumed by Casanova.
Not everyone knows it, but one of the aphrodisiac foods is asparagus, rich in vitamin E, which stimulates male hormones: still today, an ancient tradition in Bassano del Grappa holds that asparagus is a basic ingredient for wedding lunches or dinners, since it is believed to be auspicious for newly wed couples. Asparagus can be eaten as a side course, or else in a sauce combined with mussels, another aphrodisiac food, on an ideal Valentine’s Day spaghetti course.
Shrimps, lobsters, shellfish of every kind are the perfect allies for a love dinner. Shrimps can be served shelled, bathed in pink grapefruit juice and left in the refrigerator for half an hour. Those who love raw food can make a crudité, or a pink sauce cocktail.
They say that King Louis XV of France was a great admirer of avocado pears – their properties provide the body with great energy but do not leave a feeling of heaviness. Avocado pears go well with a shrimp tartar, or placed in a famous guacamole sauce or else spread on slices of grilled bread together with cheese.
Zeus used to lie in a bed of saffron during his amorous rendezvous. The simplest way to use it is in a classical “risotto alla milanese”, however it goes well with desserts too, such as the typical Tuscan “zuccotto allo zafferano”: just dip a piece of sponge cake in sugar and fortified wine, and fill it with chocolate melted in a bain-marie, whipped cream with saffron and chocolate flakes, building a typical zuccotto shape, which you must then let rest in the refrigerator.
Very much in use in the Orient due to its stimulant properties, ginger may be used to flavour first courses or fish, or else for an innovative drink, ginger wine: boil 100 grams of peeled ginger in a pot with one litre of water, add 250 grams of sugar, then a spoonful of beer yeast, and let it settle.
Almonds, with their capacity for nourishment and their shape which through the centuries has always meant fertility and the female womb, are truly versatile: you can toast them in the oven, use them in flakes on salad or pastries, or make chicken morsels covered with flour and cooked with ginger, soy and sautéd with onion and tomato.
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