Although there is very little scientific proof, I’d like to believe it’s true. Especially as there are so many examples of aphrodisiac nibbles throughout our history and across different cultures. Whether it’s the hot-under-the-collar chilli pepper or earthy truffles, I think you have to want them to work for them to have their true effect. And like any cooking, the more love you pour into it the more pleasure you get out.
Curry and Love
I bet you think that a curry is the most unsexy food to eat when trying to woo your lover - all that garlic, pungent onions and spices play havoc with your scented candled atmosphere. Well, I’m here to tell you that this is not the case – there are some great ingredients that could get you and your partner a little… saucy.
What makes food sexy?
The act of cooking is a passionate experience. The aromatics, the wine (!), the memories we associate with special meals and occasions… it all awakens of our senses. Even ingredients themselves have evocative shapes, like asparagus spears, avocados, or figs with their smooth velvety exterior.
But more than that, many of the usual suspects on the aphrodisiac list are full of minerals and nutrients that boost energy, general wellness, stamina - and that desire for love!
We know what asparagus tips look like and whether it’s that or the fact they’re filled with potassium, vitamin B6, thiamine and folic acid (which is important for the production of histamine which is necessary for both sexes to reach… y’know…!). This is what gives asparagus their aphrodisiac status but all I know for sure is that they taste great. I like to roast mine in the oven with chilli flakes and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Wowzer.
Samson apparently wooed Delilah with these aromatic nuts! What a cheap date. But it is thought that they arouse a real passion in the female of the species. Being full of magnesium and vitamin E they also help keep your stamina up. So what better then my Chicken Korma. It’s perfectly sensual with its soft, mellow flavours and its packed full of delicious almonds. Get stuck in!
These have been associated with male sexuality for many, many years and the Aztecs called this forbidden fruit 'Ahuacuati'(or ‘testicle tree’) as the fruit hangs from the tree in pairs and, well, you get the rest. Some Catholic priests found the fruit so obscene that they forbade people to eat it. Some even stopped young maidens from going out when they were being harvested! They missed out. This creamy fruit is high in calories but it’s loaded with good fat, omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid and potassium, which in my book is a good compromise. My Avocado Salsa makes a delicious dip and has a hit of chilli too.
It has to be dark because that contains the highest levels of incredible cocoa. Cocoa has antioxidant powers, it contains theobromine, which is a similar chemical to caffeine and after eating it we increase the amount of serotonin in our bodies, (the ‘feel-good’ chemical). This makes people happy and gives them that loving feeling. What’s even better is that you can combine chilli and chocolate to produce my sultry Chilli Chocolate Pot dessert to finish off your night. Or start it.
The truffle, apparently, releases a pheromone that no female (pig) can resist and the same pheromone is found in human male sweat. Amorous female sows are used to dig up these tubers with their snouts because the girls love that smell. I’m sure part of the sensuality of the truffle comes from the decadence of such an ingredient; it’s held in such high esteem in the culinary world and carries the same status of caviar and champagne. Just the word itself conjures up the expectation of exotic excitement.
My favourite – the chilli pepper is known for its heat but did you know that it also boosts your endorphin levels and produces high surges of energy too? There is a fine line between pain and pleasure and a little tingle of pain heightens the senses no end. The capsicum in chillies is what makes your mouth zing and your lips plump up after a spicy meal. This, combined with the heat, warms the body from the inside out, boosts your mood and gives you the frame of mind you need to be a lover. Whether you opt for a chilli infused cocktail or a hot and spicy Masala Prawn dish those cheeky chillies will do the business.
These contain Citulline, a chemical that relaxes blood vessels and without going into too much detail, it basically acts in the same way as a certain little blue pill. For greater effect, eat up the white area of the flesh close to the rind and, well, who knows where the night will take you!
In many cultures, figs have had an association with fertility. Everything about them from their sweet taste, gorgeous texture and the wonderful velvety deep purple skin when they’re ripe makes them look exotic and luscious. Did you know that figs work really well with spices too so try them with ginger, cinnamon or cardamom for extra flavour.
These are becoming ever more popular and in China they are called ‘happy berries’. Their aphrodisiac powers are regarded as something quite special. They’re supposed to work wonders for the man in your life and are delicious in both puddings or in a savoury dish.
There was a good reason why Casanova ate 50 raw oysters every day. It was the classic aphrodisiac, they look sexy, the whole eating experience is tactile and sensual and the wild flavours of the sea are astounding. On a chemical level, oysters are very high in zinc and that aids testosterone production and therefore increases the libido. The high level of omega 3 fatty acid aids also contribute to overall well-being. To heighten the experience, try your oysters with a splash of chilli and combine the salty ocean with the tingle of heat to make your mouth and your heart dance.
Did you know that these are the only fruit with the seeds on the outside? The myth goes that they are the heart-shaped tears that Aphrodite shed when her lover died. The shape, colour and taste all make them symbols of fertility and they are so versatile. Serve them up in a home-made Strawberry Lassi (and you can even add a shot of honey).
This is made from nectar that bees collect whilst fertilising flower after flower. This lovely sticky, sweet natural product is so full of good stuff its untrue. Its synonymous with falling in love and traditionally newly weds were given a month’s worth of honey wine or ‘mead’ to start them on their fruitful journey together (which is where ‘honeymoon’ comes from). If you love the sweet and spicy flavour combination then add a little honey to your Murgh Makhani to make it perfect for your romantic meal.
This is mentioned in the Karma Sutra as an aphrodisiac that gets the blood flowing. Ginger has a warming sensation that tingles the tongue, and you can zing up pretty much anything with this from hot drinks to salad dressings to roast meats.
This fruit is sacred in many cultures as a symbol of fertility. The seeds are like little gems, full of a sweet yet sharp juice. Revered in Indian cooking, the taste is sensational whether it’s a Chapli Kebab or a Pomegranate Yoghurt Raita.
Fresh and energising thanks to the menthol in the plant which gives a strong cooling sensation. It’s also thought to invigorate the body as well as the mind, and my favourite Fresh Mint Chutney will certainly do that.
The most prized, expensive spice in the world due to the labour intensive way it has to be hand harvested. Saffron is known to have mood-boosting properties as well as having deadly narcotic effects when it’s used in excess, which I think just adds to its mystique. Cleopatra was known to infuse her bath with the spice for its perfume and to heighten the sensation of pleasure. I use it in my Biryanis for much the same reasons.
Goes hand in hand with special occasions and when you’re wanting to impress that special someone. What a classic, bubbly, giddy and elegant drink. We all know that a little alcohol lowers inhibitions and helps provoke the desire, so sharing a glass will do you wonders and you can jazz it up with some mango, too to create this lovely Bellini
So there you have it, eating for love is about awakening the senses getting excited about food and sharing it with the one you love. And if we are what we eat then make the most of these lovelies and you could be in for a whole lot of fun.Back to Blog