Cuisine Noir – Delicious Life: Feed your passion with edible aphrodisiacs

by wands on February 1, 2010

(Delicious Life, Cuisine Noir magazine, February 2010)

What does a man do when he has stars in his eyes, Cupid sitting on his shoulder, and he wants to woo the woman of his dreams?

Chances are, he invites her out for dinner.

If he’s a wise man, there will be chocolates, champagne on ice, and a menu to tantalize the senses. Because really, is there anything more sensual, when you think about it, than food that delights the eye; is delicious to the nose; tempts the taste buds; and is savored in a relaxed setting while gazing into the eyes of someone who can make you forget that anything exists in the world other than the pair of you, right here and right now?

Sound cliched? If you’re cynical, perhaps. But there is good reason that culinary pleasures have come to be associated with romance.

“The brain is your biggest sex organ,” says G. Frank Lawlis, PhD, an advisor on the Dr. Phil Show. And, “The satisfaction from eating a delicious meal and the satisfaction from having sex both activate pleasure receptors in the brain,” says nutrition and public health expert Audrey Cross, PhD.

When it comes to attraction, falling in love and feelings of romance, our synapses are hot-wired and dictate how we respond. And so the setting and the trimmings are not just the cherry on the top. They stir the pot, so to speak.

Now that we’ve set the scene for hearts and roses, we invite you to dive into our menu of foodie facts and fanciful ideas designed to spice up your life — in and out the bedroom — on Valentine’s Day.

Chocolate Nibbles

On a recent visit to Xocolate Bar, Malena Lopez-Maggi (pictured right) and Clive Brown’s exotic little store of guilty pleasures and amor in Berkeley, Calif., chocolatier Malena was in the process of making what she called “an aphrodisiac (chocolate) bar.” It was a heady blend that included cinnamon, cardamom, clove, chili, ginger and Maca root. If you google any of these ingredients along with the term “aphrodisiac,” you will find they come up with references to love-making and libido. Malena calls the Maca “the great new Peruvian wonder ingredient,” referring to the legendary sex-enhancing qualities of the plant, which dates back to the Incas. “Here, we have the heat (of the spices) and the Maca, in combination with the dark chocolate,” she says, the dark chocolate being the key, because eating dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa and above) can boost both serotonin, which is linked to sexual arousal, and phenylethylamine, which is associated with attraction and falling in love.

Eat Dessert First

Not really. That was just to get your attention. And now that I have it, a friend told me recently how she had read that sharing a luscious dessert was effective foreplay. She’d tried it with her husband and says it works.

However, when it comes to sweet sensations, beware of … Click on the story link to read the full version of “Edible Aphrodisiacs Will Feed Your Passion — and Your Love on Valentine’s Day” — in Cuisine Noir magazine.

© Wanda Hennig and Cuisine Noir magazine, 2010

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