I think food in general is pretty sexy stuff, but there are certain dishes known to up the romance (oysters, chocolate … you know what I mean). In honor of Valentine’s Day and all the heart you’re putting in cooking a special meal, here are suggestions for what you should sip with it.
Oysters are largely associated with spiking romance. For good reason: Their high zinc content is said to increase libido. Pair them with Champagne for a truly lovely combination.
Fruits of all kinds have a sexy reputation. In fact, figs steeped in honey are reported to have been Cleopatra’s favorite fruit, and the ancient Greeks held them as sacred and associated them with love and fertility. As it happens, figs are great with all kinds of wines. Try them quartered on a salad and paired with Chenin Blanc. One of my favorite Chenin Blancs from the U.S. is Chappellet; it has soft bruised apple flavors and bright acidity. If you are going the honey-splashed fig route, try a Chenin Blanc with a little fruitiness to it. I love Huet Vouvray Demi Sec from France’s Loire Valley.
Just by looking at the shape of an avocado you will see the reason why it was associated with sexuality. Not only that, but avocado is rich with folic acid, vitamin B6 and potassium, which is said to enhance male libido. The creaminess of avocado is perfect with Chardonnay. Look for a variety with lower acidity to round out the lushness of the avocado’s flavor.
Throughout antiquity, almonds were regarded as symbols of fertility. According to the poets, the aroma alone supposedly aroused passion in women. Toasted almonds are delicious with wines that are slightly oxidized. Amontillado Sherry is delicious, as is a unique wine from Slovenia called Ribolla. My favorite is made by Movia.
Chocolate is the no-brainer of aphrodisiacs. It has a host of compounds including anandamide, the “feel good” chemical; and phenylethlamine, the “love chemical,” which releases dopamine in the pleasure centers of the brain. Cacao also contains tryptophan, which is a component of serotonin, known to promote a sense of wellbeing and relaxation. Try some very dark chocolate with a rich red wine like Shiraz from the Barossa Valley in Australia.
With so many choices, you’re sure to have a romantic meal. For me, this Valentine’s Day will be about sharing a box of chocolate and a bottle of Mollydooker “Velvet Glove” Shiraz with my sweetie.
Enjoy the holiday!
~ Emily Wines
Updated April 20, 2016