Aphrodisiacs!

Aphrodisiacs!

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Valentine's Day is a great excuse to spend some quality time with the one you love and - if you're lucky - get a bit hot and heavy under the covers.

So what better than to treat your partner to a sumptuous meal that not only tingles their taste buds but also gets them in the mood?

For centuries, certain foods and substances have been rumoured to have aphrodisiac properties. By definition, an aphrodisiac (named after the goddess Aphrodite) is a food, drink, or substance that increases sexual desire.

How do they accomplish this task? Some aphrodisiacs reduce stress or increase blood flow, while others stimulate the production of dopamine in the brain - all of which help to boost your libido.

Our Head Chef, Roger, has always had a keen interest in ingredients and their so called Aprhodisiac properties.  You will find lots of these on our special Valentines Menu at the end of this blog.

Almond: Throughout the ages, the almond has been a symbol of fertility. Some believe that the aroma stimulates passion in a female.

Avocado: The vitamin B6 contained in the avocado is said to increase male hormone production. The avocado also contains potassium which aids in regulating the female thyroid gland. A note about the avocado: the Aztecs called the avocado tree a “testicle tree” because they thought the fruit hanging in pairs on the tree looked like male testicles.

Asparagus: The phallic shape of some foods is a consideration in the selection of aphrodisiac foods. However, asparagus has more to offer than suggestive form. It contains vitamin E, believed to stimulate sex hormones which contribute to a healthy sex life and increased sexual powers.

Aniseed: The Greeks and Romans believed that aniseed had special sexual powers. There are many uses for this aphrodisiac food and some people believe that sucking on the seeds will increase your libido.

Bananas: Bananas have a wonderful, suggestive phallic shape, and are considered one of the most popular aphrodisiac foods used to stimulate sexual desire and increase sexual powers. Bananas also contain potassium and B vitamins which are essential for sex hormone production.

Chilli peppers: “Capsaicin,” a chemical that stimulates our nerve endings and raises our pulse, is responsible for the “heat” in chilli peppers. This aphrodisiac food is also thought to release endorphins, which give our bodies a natural high. Some researchers believe that is the case with all “hot” foods. Garlic is another example of these aphrodisiac foods.

Sweet basil: Some people believe that basil stimulates the sex drive and boosts fertility. It is also believed to create a sense of well being in our bodies and minds.

Chocolate: Who doesn’t know about chocolate as an aphrodisiac food? On Valentines Day, the day to express your love, more chocolate is sold than at any other time during the year. Chocolate is given at the holidays, for anniversaries, and just to say, “I love you.” Chocolate contains a stimulant called phenylethylamine, which gives you a sense of well being and excitement similar to the natural high that endorphins give us. Researchers believe that chocolate contains chemicals that affect neurotransmitters in the brain, and a substance related to caffeine called theobromine. There are more antioxidants in chocolate than in red wine. Combining the two can be the secret to passion.

Coffee: Coffee in moderation is a stimulant, but too much causes it to become a depressant. The caffeine in coffee stimulates both mind and body and is sometimes used in preparation for staying up all night.

Figs: An open fig is believed to imitate the female sex organs and is traditionally considered to be a sexual stimulant. Some say that a man opening a fig and eating it in front of his lover can be a powerful aphrodisiac.

Raw oysters: Oysters have been a favourite aphrodisiac food since the time of Aphrodite during the Greek age. Oysters are a rich source of zinc, a mineral required for testosterone production. This male hormone is believed to increase the female libido as well. Oysters are high in protein and very nutritious.

Arugula: Arugula is also called “rocket seed” and has been documented as an aphrodisiac food as far back as the first century A.D. Arugula was combined with grated orchid bulbs and parsnips. Many salads and pastas contain arugula. Sometimes arugula is combined with pine nuts and pistachios.

Ginger: Ginger root can be eaten raw, cooked, or crystallized. Ginger is a circulatory system stimulant which can increase sexual powers and desire.

Raspberries and strawberries: These are perfect aphrodisiac foods to hand feed your lover. They are red, which is the color associated with love and passion, and are high in vitamin C.

Nutmeg: Chinese women believed that nutmeg was an aphrodisiac food and that it increased sexual desire, thereby contributing to procreation during fertility. A hallucinogenic effect can be produced by a large quantity of nutmeg.

Pine Nuts: Pine nuts are also high in zinc (like oysters), which helps produce sperm and increases libido. Sprinkle some on to a salad as a starter when having a romantic meal for two.

Coriander: The book of The Arabian nights tells a tale of a merchant who had been childless for 40 years and but was cured by a concoction that included coriander. That book is over 1000 years old so the history of coriander as an aphrodisiac dates back far into history. Cilantro was also known to be used as an "appetite" stimulant.

Fennel: In the 1930's fennel was found to be a source of natural plant estrogens. Use  of fennel as an aphrodisiac dates back to the Egyptian times where it was used as "libido enhancement".

Garlic: The 'heat' in garlic is said to stir sexual desires. Make sure you and your partner share it together. Garlic has been used for centuries to cure everything from the common cold to heart ailments. This is a good time for moderation. Enjoy a pasta with a lightly garlicky sauce and it and lead up to something spicy in the bedroom later.

Ginger: Ginger root raw, cooked or crystallized is a stimulant to the circulatory system. Perhaps a stir-fry with freshly grated ginger can stir something spicy

Honey: Many medicines in Egyptian times were based on honey including cures for sterility and impotence. Medieval seducers plied their partners with Mead, a fermented drink made from honey. Lovers on their "Honeymoon" drank mead and it was thought to "sweeten" the marriage.

Liquorice: The Chinese have used liquorice for medicinal purposes since ancient times. The essence of the Glycyrrhiza glabra (liquorice) plan, glycrrhizin, is 50 time sweeter than sugar. Chewing on bits of liquorice root is said to enhance love and lust. It is particularly stimulating to woman.

Mustard: Believed to stimulate the sexual glands and increase desire.

Vanilla: The scent and flavour of vanilla is believed to increase lust. According to the Australian Orchid Society, "Old Totonac lore has it that Xanat, the young daughter of the Mexican fertility goddess, loved a Totonac youth. Unable to marry him due to her divine nature, she transformed herself into a plant that would provide pleasure and happiness

Saffron: Crocus Sativus can be used as a stimulant or inebriant depending on dosage. Sun dried filaments ingested stimulates sexual desires for women. Essential oil evokes long, distinctive orgasms.

Cardamom: This deliciously exotic little spice has a reputation in its home country of India for being an aphrodisiac. I just think it’s got a wonderful, sensual taste. But there may be some science behind it too: cardamom is high in cineole, which stimulates the nervous system.

Pumpkin Seeds: High in zinc, which is needed for testosterone production, pumpkin seeds are essential for the libido in both men and women. Toast some up, pop in a movie, oh, forget the movie…

Pomegranate Juice: A very sensual juice and luscious juice (surely Nigella Lawson would approve), many think that pomegranate’s high antioxidant content keeps free radicals from interfering with circulation. This would have a positive effect on erectile dysfunction.

Roquefort cheese: Was often eaten by Casanova before his famous conquests.

And here is the first draft of our menu for February 14th - (highlights show aphrodisiacs)

Valentines Menu

2017

Starters

Scallops
with vanilla seed butter sauce, spinach and orange-cardamom syrup

Roquefort Cheese Souffle
with avocado and walnut salad, honey and balsamic dressing

Chicken Bang-Bang

Beetroot Gnocchi
with smoked almond pesto

Mains

Cod
in parsley sauce with cockles and mashed potatoes

Rump of Lamb
with a  honey and za’atar glaze

Rib Eye of Beef
with soy and spices

Stuffed Aubergines
with coconut and almond sauce

Dessert

Roasted Vanilla & Nutmeg Brule
with lemon shortbread

Warm Pear Frangipane Tart
with candied fennel & honeycomb ice cream

Dark Chocolate Terrine
 with orange & tarragon sorbet & rosewater crackers

Selection of Local Cheese & Biscuits

Selection of Homemade Ice Creams

Have a great Valentines Day, enjoy some quality time together and perhaps a little romance.....

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