Palette Provocative

28 Nov

Written by Chad Fraley

With spring in the mail and Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the conversation about aphrodisiacs is here again. There are many myths and stories about this ritual and serious research has gone into certain ingredients, but do they really heighten libido? or is it wishful thinking?

Encyclopedia Britannica Article
Aphrodisiac: any of various forms of stimulation thought to arouse sexual excitement. Aphrodisiacs may be classified in two principal groups: 1. psycho-physiological (visual, tactile, olfactory, and aural), and 2. internal (stemming from food, alcoholic drinks, drugs, love potions, medical preparations). Certain foods enhance blood flow or boost hormones or even raise body temp if you’re eating something spicy.

There are all kinds of natural aphrodisiacs that affect your swinging psyche in different ways. Asparagus is a common aphrodisiac, consumed all year round, but probably never thought of as one. It is high in potassium, fiber, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamins A, and C. It is also said that asparagus raises histamine levels in both sexes which aides in achieving orgasm. The long green monsters can be prepared in many different ways. I made an asparagus mousse last week that turned out fantastic served next to a napoleon of grilled zucchini and yellow squash alternating levels with sautéed ham and crispy strips of bacon with a goat cheese cream sauce. It was a sexy dish.

Oysters are another aphrodisiac ranking up there in potency, though not as popular to some. Their slimy appearance and the smell of fresh sea air make these sensual mollusks a great experience or a bad idea. I happen to love ‘em. Oysters are a source of dopamine and high in zinc, which allegedly raises testosterone levels. Another healthy benefit in these treasures is Omega-3 fatty acid. Oysters are delicious, served on the half shell with a little cream and spinach, and broiled in the oven for a few minutes. Pair them with a light white wine, and you’re in business.

Chocolate is always a winner in the aphrodisiac category and a popular Valentine’s Day treat. Dark chocolate contains anti-oxidants that keep us healthy and it contains phenyl ethylamine, the neuron-transmitter that is activated in our bodies when we fall in love. Chocolate may actually act as an anti-depressant and has a calming reaction like an anxiety pill.

Interestingly, even smells can light that certain fuse, like fresh toasted almonds or the aroma of wine. A smell can simulate thoughts and feelings just as much as the taste of food.

If you’re not sure how to use some of these ingredients in your next sexy celebration, check out InterCourses – an Aphrodisiac Cookbook by Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge, a great resource on the topic.

It’s important to note that most of these aphrodisiacs are natural foods. From fruits such as banana, strawberry, avocado, and figs, to pine nuts, black beans, and honey. Aphrodisiacs can be found in the simplest of dishes. So get creative this February and cook with LOVE, literally.

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