Aphrodisiac dining: Recipes for romance

By Holly Brown

The origin and inspiration of Valentines Day can be traced as far back as the Middle Ages.  There are many stories and saints attributable to what we now celebrate as the Lovers Holiday. But it was Esther A. Howland, aka Mother of the Valentine, who first began selling mass-produced valentines cards in America in the 1840s. Thus began the mass commercialization of Valentines Day! It's the second highest card-sending day of the year (behind Christmas) with a billion cards sent annually. Celebrated around the world, it’s also the busiest day of the year for restaurants and the biggest “date night” of the year!

I always say, "Cooking is Love!" So it should come as no surprise that I advocate dining-in at home on Valentines Day! In years past, my husband and I have also enjoyed fun Valentines parties with friends that included red food, newlywed games, and dancing in the living room!  Whether you're sharing the love with friends this year, or planning an evening of romance with your sweetheart, we have red, hot, and romantic menus to kindle your desire.  We've even included ingredients that are well known for their aphrodisiac qualities.

As you probably know, an aphrodisiac is a food or drink that stimulates desire and causes excitement. Aphrodisiac foods provide arousing aromas, visual stimulation, increases in body temperature and energy, and they spark neurotransmitters that trigger feelings of love & desire.  Be sure you know your aphrodisiac ABCs when planning your Valentines Day Dinner. Include fresh and palate pleasing ingredients like asparagus, almonds, avocados, arugula, apples, basil, beets, champagne, chocolate, chilies, clams, cranberries, fennel, figs, garlic ginger, mint, mussels, oysters, pomegranate, raspberries, red wine, rosemary, saffron, salmon, shrimp, strawberries, tarragon, and tomatoes. Try our Red Hot Recipes for Romance and have a lovely and loving Valentines Day!

Cheers! 

Holly Brown, Publisher, Foodie, WebTV Host of www.TheBrownLounge.com

Aphrodisiac Dining - This menu is designed to increase desire, course by course!

Valentine Cocktail – “Bond” inspired Vodka Martini
Starter - Oysters
Main Dish - Baked Salmon with Almond Vinaigrette
Side Dish - Couscous with Caramelized Fennel & Apple
Decadent Dessert - Triple Chocolate Cake with Raspberries
Suggested Wine Pairing – Sauvignon Blanc

Romantic Menu for the Gourmet Couple - Cooking together is romantic and fun. Especially when you're cooking with sexy shellfish!
Valentine Cocktail: Manhattan
Starter Salad: Arugula Beet Salad
Main Dish - Shellfish and Sausage Linguini
Decadent Dessert - Crème Brûlée with Ginger and Raspberries

Suggested Wine Pairing with Dinner – Sangiovese, Chianti, or Dolcetto
 
Spice Things Up! - This menu makes enough for the friends you love or leftovers for your sweetheart!
Valentine Wine Cooler - Spanish Sangria
Starter - Sizzling Garlic Prawns
Main Dish – Chile Verde
Side Dish - Guacamole
Decadent Dessert - Cool off with a Sweet Sorbet Cake

Suggested Wine Pairing with Dinner - Viogner or Chardonnay

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