It’s almost Valentine’s Day which means it’s time to get cozy with your loved one! I’m sure some of us are staying home this year for V day but that means it’s the perfect opportunity to create a romantic home-cooked meal for your partner. What comes to mind as a romantic meal? Well there are certain foods that scientifically can make us feel a little more “in the mood” than others! And of course, having the perfect wine to pair with each aphrodisiac food dish makes it that much better.
Let’s start with my favorite appetizer and aphrodisiac food, oysters. Oysters contain zinc, which helps produce testosterone, amino acids, and serotonin which can all enhance the body’s response to pleasure. They also are thought to resemble certain parts of the female body…
I love oysters because they are more of a special occasion food, and not something you eat every day! If you know of a local restaurant in town that has a special on oysters, that’s a great option. If you are staying home, contact your local fish market and see if they have any oysters on the half shell that you can order in or purchase. Or, if you are daring enough, order whole oysters and buy some shucking tools. This would also make for a really fun activity for you and your partner to accomplish together!
Champagne is the classic pairing with oysters because they are both light body and have crisp salinity on the palate. If you aren’t the biggest bubbles fan, another pairing I love is Chablis. Chablis comes from similar soil in the cooler vineyards of France, and will bring a refreshing acidity to help you wash down those oysters.
Delamotte Blanc de Blancs, Champagne
William Fevre Chablis
Figs are known as an ancient aphrodisiac food, so it may be more of a myth. But they were mentioned in the Bible as a fruit of Garden of Eden, and the ancient Greeks believed eating one in front of your lover was an erotic act!
Figs can sometimes be difficult to eat or pair on their own, but adding them to a nice salad or a charcuterie board is the perfect way make use of them! Another favorite addition of mine to a cheese or charcuterie board is honey (which is another aphrodisiac myth).
Especially if you start of your Valentine’s meal with a delicious cheese board, pairing a bold red would be the way to go. My preference would be a Zinfandel, because it is bold, jammy, fruity, and not too tannic.
St Francis Old Vines Zinfandel, Sonoma County
Frank Family Vineyards Zinfandel, Napa Valley
Yes yes, you read that right asparagus is an aphrodisiac food! I know this may come as a surprise but it is one vegetable that you will definitely want to have as a side dash for your Valentines meal.
Adding asparagus as a side dish to a fish main course is one of my favorite ways to enjoy this vegetable. I personally love asparagus with salmon and or scallops. I love to make scallops on the stove top with a little bit of garlic butter parsley. They are super easy to make and only take a few minutes! Salmon is also another easy fish I love to make and I typically just throw it in the oven for about 20 minutes, after seasoning in it with some olive oil lemon salt and pepper and garlic. If you cook your fish in oil or butter, let’s grab a white, bright and acidic wine to enjoy and cut through the fat of that savory butter.
One of the best wines to have with asparagus is a Sauvignon Blanc, preferably from New Zealand. New Zealand Sauvignon blanc is known to have herbaceous characteristics which will pair nicely with the flavor of the asparagus.
The Crossings, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ
Invivo X Sauvignon Blanc SJP, New Zealand
Fish as a main course is always one of my favorite meals. Salmon is an aphrodisiac food that is super easy to make plus it’s full of folic acid. This can increase histamine production which is vital for achieving orgasms in both men and women. Don’t forget the omega-3s, which boost moods, therefore encouraging you to get along with your partner haha!
I season my salmon with some lemon, salt & pepper, olive oil (or butter) and garlic. Then I throw it in the oven for about 20 minutes. Add some bruschetta or asparagus as a nice side dish. Yummy!
When it comes to salmon, I will typically stick with a white wine. If I choose an olive oil base, I will typically grab a Sancerre. If make it with butter, I’ll pair it with a White Burgundy or a Sonoma coast chardonnay.
Chalk Hill Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast
Pesto pasta anyone? Honestly, Italian food always puts me in the mood. Pasta, pizza, PLUS if you add in pesto which has pine nuts, basil, olive oil and garlic (all considered aphrodisiacs) you are all set for a romantic din din! Like oysters, they are high in zinc, so if you’re looking to increase your labido, make some pesto sauce or add pine nuts to a salad.
Since we are eating an Italian dish, let’s drink Italian wine! Some of my favorite wines come from the Mount Etna region in Sicily. Etna Bianco is an excellent choice to pair with pesto, because you balance the pasta with some mouth watering acidity, salinity and mineral notes. Another great choice is a classic Pinot Grigio. The creamy fruit notes will pair nicely with the garlic and pine nuts in the sauce.
Tornatore Pietrarizzo, Etna Bianco, DOC Sicily Italy
Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio
Is there any better way to end a meal than with chocolate? I’m sorry but if you are not a chocolate fan, we can’t be friends! JK. But seriously, what’s wrong with you…
Chocolate is an aphrodisiac because it contains phenethylamine (a chemical released in the brain when we fall in love) which has been known to boost passion levels, and it also produces serotonin. You don’t need to even give me the facts, I will eat chocolate for dessert any time no questions asked 🙂
I prefer dark chocolate, which can be especially hard to pair with red wine because they both have a lot of tannins and bitterness. Bitter + bitter = yuck. Bitter + sweet = yum! Additionally, milk chocolate which is a little sweeter, is best paired with sweet as well. That is why I’d recommend a Ruby Port. This will have a touch of sweetness, so paired with the chocolate you will taste all of those delicious red and dark fruits in the wine.
Sandeman Founder’s Reserve, Finest Selection, Ruby Porto
I hope you all have a fabulous Valentine’s Day! If you are interested in more food and wine pairings, check out some of my other posts here.