- Who gives a fig? Well, you do, if you believe that Cleopatra's favorite food is one of the sexiest foods you can enjoy on Valentine's Day. They have been represented throughout literature and art as a sexual food for obvious reasons, and long associated with fertility. They were especially prized by the Greeks, who believed they were "more precious than gold." Again, they're not that seasonal in February, but a more erotic food is hard to find. Maybe Baked Figs with Cinnamon and Honey (honey is also believed to be an aphrodisiac by some; it's a great source of boron, which has been proven to stimulate estrogen production in women and testosterone production in men). Or try Figs and Prosciutto for a sultry first course.
- One of the classic aphrodisiac foods is the oyster. Casanova was believed to slurp down 50 oysters in a day to support his famous libido. And in fact oysters contain a lot of zinc, which is linked to sperm and testosterone production, so there's actual research to support oysters' claim to fame. And like most shellfish they contain plenty of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. You can't go wrong with classic raw oysters with mignonette sauce or Oysters Rockefeller or try something a little bit different, such as Oysters with Lime Vinaigrette.
- It doesn't take much to convince us that chocolate is a feel-good food. There are actually chemicals in chocolate (the darker the chocolate, the more potent) called theobromine, a stimulating alkaloid similar to caffeine. Chocolate also helps the brain produce feel-good serotonin, a hormone connected to our feelings of well-being and happiness. But go for the dark stuff, which contains quite a hefty dose of antioxidants, which of course protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals. You shouldn't have any trouble choosing from recipes such as Dark Chocolate Sorbet, Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake, Cherry-Almond-Chocolate Clusters (there are those almonds again!) and good old Chocolate Brownies.
And toast your loved one with a glass of red wine, also believed to promote heart health when consumed in moderation. Cheers!