← Back 09 February 2010

Aphrodisiacs: The Food of Love

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching we thought we might take a peek at the relationship between food and love and specifically the aphrodisiacs properties in food.

Throughout the ages there has been a belief that certain foods increase sexual desire. The word “aphrodisiac” comes from Aphrodite; the Greek Goddess of Love and in ancient times a distinction was made between a substance that increased fertility versus one that simply increased the sex drive.

The key issue in early times was nutrition. Food was not as readily available as it is today so undernourishment created a loss of libido as well as a reduction in fertility rates. Substances found in Mother Nature’s garden that represented seeds such as bulbs, eggs, and snails were therefore considered to have sexual powers whilst other types of food were considered stimulating by their physical resemblance to the sexual parts of the body!

Most of us have heard of the potential aphrodisiac qualities of powdered rhino horn gaining its reputation from the aggressive qualities of the animal source. These days however, we can look closer to home and be totally ethical in relation to aphrodisiacs.

There is an abundance of aphrodisiac food available, and at Knockderry House Hotel on Valentine’s Day we combine many of these to produce a sensual menu to evoke the senses and ignite the desires.

Aphrodisiac foods include bananas, chocolate, carrots, fennel, garlic, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, truffles and vanilla however, here are some ingredients that you may not have considered.

Seen as a symbol of fertility throughout the ages, the almond has an aroma that is thought to induce passion in the female. Meanwhile, the Aztecs called the avocado tree “Ahucauatl” which translated, literally means ‘testicle tree’. The ancients likened the fruit hanging in pairs to the males anatomy.  Caffeine is a well known stimulant and serving small amounts over ice cream will stimulate both the body and mind. Oysters, of course have been well documented as an aphrodisiac by the Romans, and Casanova was reported to indulge in a few before his famous rampages. They contain a high concentration of zinc that is good for sperm production. And figs were traditionally thought of as a sexual stimulant. A man breaking open a fig and eating it in front of his lover was seen as a powerfully erotic act.

So this Valentine’s Day take your beloved out for a romantic meal and enjoy the food of love. Happy Valentines Day!

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