People have been adventurous in love, and with aphrodisiacs, for as long
as our history has been recorded. In every land we continue to create
love recipes to entice and seduce the opposite sex, and to enhance our
performance in the act itself.
Although the reasons for
attraction and desire are almost as much a
dating (and increasingly
culture as they were in ancient times, we do know that the spur
for sexual desire begins in the brain - in the
hypothalamus, which also governs our appetites for food and drink.
The sea is one of the major sources of life. It is therefore no surprise
that most sea creatures have the elements to form an aphrodisiac. All
shellfish, the strongest
phosphorus, calcium, iodine, iron, vitamin B and glycophosphates,
basic essentials for an aphrodisiac. All oily fish, such as salmon,
tuna, shark, eel, herring, mackerel and sardines, and many forms of
white fish, including sole and turbot, contain phosphorus, calcium and
vitamins A, B and D, important elements in a variety of aphrodisiac
Oysters have always been highly prized for their delicate flavour and
there is much debate as to whether the native (also known as flat)
oyster or the gigas
(also known as Pacific or rock oyster) is superior.
Traditionalists choose the native, but increasingly more people are
recognising and enjoying the gigas,
not least for its juicy, plump texture.
In the last 50 years, aphrodisiac food has been
changing radically, along with our attitudes towards love and how to
is the belief that men need rare steaks both to arouse desire and to
keep up their stamina. Instead, Europeans turn to more subtle meats,
although they are not necessarily to be found in the supermarkets.
Bunderfleisch, for example, made in the Swiss mountains with a secret
formula using mountain herbs and white wine, creates surprisingly sudden
strength, and pastrami can do the same. Parma ham, delicious with green
figs, is also good for providing instant energy. Lachsschinken (called Filet
de Saxe in France) with Roquefort cheese was often eaten by
Casanova before his famous conquests.
should also take heart. Peas, broad beans, radishes, artichokes,
lettuce, leeks and onions are all confirmed as having aphrodisiacal
properties. The Greeks noticed that onions “dim the eyes and excite
amatory propensities” but also that even the onion “will do you no
good if you have no strength yourself.”
Asparagus, an aristocrat among vegetables, still grows
in its wild form along the sandy coasts of France, in Greece and
profusely on the Russian Steppes. Witte goud (white
gold), the seasonal asparagus of Brabant and Limburg - sturdy white shoots
towering above their foreign cousins - has become the favourite Dutch
seems to work magic on the Dutch taste buds,” says Joop van Zantvort, owner of Auberge de Koets in
‘s-Hertogenbosh, where a new asparagus menu is offered daily in season
(May and June).
delights the senses in many ways. Figs, like oysters, need nothing but
their own inimitable qualities. The pale golden quince was said to be
the original apple which lured Eve, while the serpent that tempted Eve
hid in a bunch of bananas. Banana blossom also appears in Filipino
recipes as an aphrodisiac.
Good sex needs plenty of energy. Raw food processes far
more minerals and vitamins than cooked food. For a better sex life,
eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and drink ginseng tea. Al fresco food - a
watermelon on a hot day or piping hot soup washed down with malt whisky
in the depths of winter - make an equally memorable
and appropriate meal. The primitive pleasure of eating with one’s
fingers is itself a sensual experience.
The oysters are steamed open, then seasoned with a simple oriental sauce.
as a starter or as part of a Chinese meal
1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
3 spring onions, trimmed and shredded
1 thin slice fresh ginger root, peeled and
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sherry
1/2 - 1 tablespoon Tabasco pepper
2 tablespoons sesame oil
a few leaves fresh coriander or parsley
1/2 small fresh red chilli, deseeded, finely
1 dozen Irish gigas oysters
1) Blanch carrot in boiling water for 1 minute, add ginger for the last
Drain. Mix soy sauce, sherry, Tabasco sauce and sesame oil together, add
ginger and spring onion
2) Scrub oysters, place in a saucepan with a little boiling water, cover,
bring back to
the boil and simmer until the shell opens, about 5 minutes. Remove from
3) Insert a short bladed knife between the shells and twist off the top
shell. Slip a knife
under the oyster to free the oyster from the bottom shell
4) Arrange the oysters in
their shells on a bed of rock salt and spoon over a little of the sauce
TIME: 10 minutes
This pilau dish for the main course comes from Afghanistan and is very
just sufficient sustenance for an hour or so of exciting activity
25g/loz blanched almonds
25g/loz pistachio nuts
2 tablespoons oil or ghee
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 chicken breasts, quartered
1 teaspoon saffron
125ml/4fl oz light chicken stock or water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
grated rind of one orange
lOOg/4oz long grain rice
1) Fry the onions and pistachios in the oil or ghee and set them aside.
Fry the onion
lightly and set aside.
2) Fry the chicken until golden, add the saffron and the stock and simmer
minutes or until tender. While the chicken is cooking, cook the rice in
plenty of boiling,
salted water. When just tender, drain and keep warm
3) Dissolve the sugar in the water, add the orange peel and boil to make
a thick syrup.
4) Arrange the chicken pieces on top of the rice with the onion, and
nuts, add the
chicken liquid and finally pour the syrup over
TIME: 30 minutes
dessert recipe was devised by Harold van Boven, chef at Auberge de Koets,
Putstraat, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Brabant, the Netherlands
lOOg/4oz cooked, chopped white asparagus
5 tablespoons cream
5 tablespoons milk
5 tablespoons of the asparagus liquid
20g/8oz caster sugar
4 egg yolks
2 thick white asparagus stalks, cooked in
1) Bring the milk and asparagus to the boil, add egg yolks after they
have been well
beaten with half the sugar.
2) Warm until everything binds but be careful not to let it boil. Stir
in the gelatine and
allow to cool.
3) Beat the cream and the rest of the sugar.
4) Fold gently into the cooled mixture, carefully adding the finely
chopped cooked asparagus.
5) Place in individual moulds and allow to set in the fridge for an hour.
6) Just before turning out and arranging on dessert plates, sprinkle
sugar in a pan, add
the asparagus, cut in medium-sized pieces and caramelise slowly.
CHEF’S TIP: This dish provides a different and complementary texture and flavour when
served together with a mix of other desserts or fruit.
BY THE IRISH SEA FISHERIES BOARD, MAX DE ROCHE, AUTHOR
THE FOODS OF LOVE, PUBLISHED
BY DORLING KINDERSLEY, AND HAROLD VAN BOVEN