As we all know, the fastest way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach – so this Valentine’s Day, whether you’re celebrating with a long-term partner or hoping to win the heart of a new love, you can’t go too wrong with some edible romantic classics.
The question of which foods have aphrodisiacal properties has been hotly debated throughout history, with many different mythological associations blurring the line between true romance-makers and attractive imposters. However, the nutritional content of some foods are undeniably useful for that loved-up feeling – let’s have a quick look at which ones!
They’re red, sweet and kind of shaped like hearts, so they certainly look the part on Valentine’s Day. Legend says that splitting a double strawberry with your partner will bring true love; but scientists know that the antioxidants and phytochemicals within the fruit reduce joint inflammation, which can cause feelings of youthfulness and vigour.
Most connotations between avocados and romanticism are purely down to its shape, although both the Aztecs and Louis XIV firmly believed in their aphrodisiac properties. All we can say for sure is that with Vitamin E boosts the immune system and makes skin look younger, and luckily avocados are full of this health and beauty-inducing fruit.
Great lovers Montezuma and Casanova were both said to drink vast quantities of cocoa in order to keep up their romantic activities. Whether this is true is up for debate, but what is true is that chocolate is rich in phenethylamine- which imitates the stimulant we feel when falling in love – and tryptophan, which produces serotonin, making us feel happy. If your love likes chocolate, it will certainly work either way!
Although it isn’t tied directly to a rise in libido, coffee has some properties which can help in the love department. The caffeine boosts heart rate and increases blood flow for a “flushed feeling”, while the alkaloids are said to help maintain stamina. Coffee also gives us a rush of dopamine, a neurotransmitter which is connected to the pleasure centres of the brain.
Recipe: Chocolate Cookie Dough Truffles
These truffles, combined with a glass of your Valentine’s favourite wine, ought to keep them happy!
- 113g butter at room temperature
- 150g light brown sugar
- 2 tbsps milk
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 160g plain flour
- 66g mini chocolate chips
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 200g melted chocolate
- Firstly, cream the butter and sugar together on a low whisk settting and then speed up for one minute until you have a light-coloured mixture.
- Add in the vanilla essence, milk and cinnamon and then mix thoroughly.
- Add the flour to the mix gradually, mixing in as you go, and then add the chocolate chips.
- Put the mixture to cool in the fridge for ten minutes.
- Once toughened slightly, use your hands or a spoon to take pieces of the cookie dough and roll them into small balls.
- Put the balls in a Tupperware container and in the freezer for thirty minutes to an hour to firm up.
- Melt the chocolate, either in the microwave (gently) or by placing in a glass bowl over simmering water, not allowing any of the water to get in contact with the chocolate.
- Cover the dough balls in chocolate and then transfer back to the freezer for an hour or so, until the chocolate sets and hardens.
- Sprinkle some salt on top for a more complex flavour.
If your partner is less of a chocolate fanatic and more of a romantic meat-eater, you could also try out these incredible-looking bacon roses! You will need a muffin tin, toothpicks, bacon and some fake flowers with stems.
Recipe: Bacon Roses
- Thaw the bacon, and then tightly roll them up, starting with the wide end
- Skewer the bacon roll through the sides in an X shape, centring the roll
- Use the toothpicks to rest the rolls on the edges of the muffin indents without touching metal to meat
- Bake for around 35-40 minutes at 350°F, 180°C or Gas Mark 4
- Once cooked, blot the bacon rolls with kitchen paper to remove excess grease
- Remove the flower heads from the stems and use the leftover stem middle to skewer the centre of the roses
And there you go! A savoury twist on a Valentine’s classic.
“For you I will clip
my heart into the pure shape
of a young emu –
the symbol of our nation,
proud and humble. (Watch the beak.)”
– Topiary Heart, Chris Mansell