Have you gathered your Valentine’s Day recipes to create the perfect menu for seduction? After all, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. It may be a slightly old fashioned, perhaps overused saying—but it’s also true. When you get right down to it, a fabulously decadent meal is a sure way to win over just about anyone. Even if you aren’t a fan of haute cuisine frills, nothing evokes cozy, affectionate feelings like digging into classic comfort foods like cheesy, meaty lasagna or a creamy, buttery dish of mashed potatoes. Perhaps the most important thing to remember when plotting your culinary seduction is to think outside of the stomach and create a full sensory experience. Valentine’s Day food is all about flavor, texture, aroma and visuals.
Master of Gastronomy, aphrodisiac foods authority and author of Romancing the Stove, Amy Reiley offers this advice: “When planning a night of culinary temptations, I recommend carefully contemplating not just a menu of aphrodisiac ingredients but elements of indulgence, surprise and even downright daring.” If you need a little inspiration, it may be time to re-watch the quintessential cinematic food seduction scene in 9½ Weeks.
No Valentine’s Day recipes are complete without a few aphrodisiacs in the mix. Set the mood with a champagne toast and hors d’oeuvres. Artichokes have been considered an aphrodisiac since ancient Roman times and they also happen to be delicious. Simultaneously pulling the juicy meat from the leaves of a Baked Artichoke appetizer will definitely start your meal off with a bang (pun intended!). Or enjoy a delicious Avocado, Orange & Hearts of Palm Salad. Aztecs used to refer to avocado trees as ‘testical trees’ because of the shape of this delicious hanging fruit. Caviar and olives are also lust-inspiring starters to whet your appetites.
Your entree should be rich, satisfying, beautifully presented and something that makes you look even sexier while you dine—so save the sloppy Joe for another time. Chicken Scallopine with Saffron Cream Sauce is an excellent addition to your list of Valentine’s Day recipes. Not only does saffron imbue your dish with a dash of exotic flavor, it was the Viagra of the Middle Ages. If you want to be direct about your intentions, oysters are one of the most notorious edible aphrodisiacs. Celebrate like the king and queen of hip hop with New York chef Mario Carbone’s homage to Jay-Z, Oysters Rocafella. Other ingredients that add some heat to your meal—in every sense of the word—are chiles, ginger, asparagus and truffles.
When it comes to Valentines Day food, for dessert, you can’t beat anything with chocolate and dark chocolate is especially good for sparking a little after dinner romance. The Aztecs even used cacao beans as currency and believed chocolate to be a powerful aphrodisiac. There’s a reason we love this creamy confection so much, research has shown that dark chocolate increases your endorphin and serotonin levels. This easy recipe for Chocolate Covered Strawberries uses almonds and pretzel chunks for another layer of flavor and texture. Molten Lava Cakes are sure to seal the deal with a gooey, spicy molten chocolate center hidden within an airy chocolate cake shell.
Or you may want to bring out a sumptuously titillating fruit plate featuring strawberries, pomegranate and figs. All are considered to represent fertility and inspire arousal.
There’s nothing sexier than savoring the flesh of these exotic fruits with your significant other. Serve them with honey, whipped cream and chocolate sauce on the side and you may just be inspired to bring some of your goodies into the boudoir! If you prefer something a bit more refined, Grilled Figs with Pomegranate Molasses are a spectacular dessert or serve them with goat cheese as an appetizer. For a decadent dessert that has it all—flavor, melt-in-your-mouth texture and a perfectly romantic presentation—try a Rose Syrup Poached Fig & Pomegranate Pavlov.
Photo 3 courtesy of Food Network.com