Wine as a Valentine’s gift is always appreciated. But why not make an entire romantic dinner with a menu of libido-enhancing ingredients? It could be titillating to prepare a menu of healthy, aphrodisiac foods: oysters, avocado, figs, olives, pumpkin seeds, halibut, raspberries, and dark chocolate. I have paired each course with a highly–rated complementary wine. Some include a sexy look of a beautiful bottle label. Here is my ideal menu with recipes from some favorite chefs:
Grilled Oysters paired with Bollinger Brut Rose Champagne
Prosciutto Stuffed and Wrapped Figs paired with Vietti Moscato D’Asti
Baby Spinach, Avocado and Pumpkin Seed Salad paired with Chateau d’Esclans
Halibut with Artichoke and Olive Caponata with Ponzi Pinot Gris
Chocolate Decadence with Raspberry Sauce paired with Graham’s Vintage Port
Let’s start with an oyster appetizer. This may seem like a stereotypical aphrodisiac choice but oysters are loaded with zinc. This ratchets up testosterone and an increased sex drive. Emeril Lagasse’s Grilled Oysters recipe is paired Bollinger Brut Rosé with aromas of strawberries, raspberries and toast…. A Wine Spectator 92 Point Rating for $89.99.
Our second appetizer comes from Rachel Ray: Stuffed and Prosciutto Wrapped Figs. Fig seeds represent fertility and figs are full of antioxidants, flavonoids, fiber, and potassium. They were Cleopatra’s favorite fruit. Wrap them in the prosciutto that men love. I pair this recipe with a slightly sweet, frizzante Vietti Moscato D’Asti. It’s delicately sweet and sparkling with intense aromas of peaches, ginger, and rose petals. Robert Parker 88 point rating for $15.99.
Avocados and Pumpkin seeds both have aphrodisiac properties. Our salad course features Vitamin-E-rich avocados. Vitamin E helps your body churn out hormones like testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone, which circulate in your bloodstream and stimulate sexual responses. Nigella Lawson has combined two foods with aphrodisiac properties, avocados and pumpkins seeds, in her Baby Spinach Avocado with Pumpkin Seed salad. Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, which helps raise testosterone levels by making sure more enters the blood stream. France Provence-based Chateau d’Esclans ($29.99) dry rose is a toasty and lush wine to complement the pumpkin seeds and avocado.
Italian Food Network Chef, Giada De Laurentis, has a 5-star recipe for Halibut with Artichoke and Olive Caponata. Both olives and artichokes exhibit aphrodisiac qualities. Olives are packed with antioxidants. Their oil has been used for centuries for health. The Greeks believed they made men more virile, as well. Listed in A Dictionary of Aphrodisiacs, halibut is said to have amorous properties. I am pairing our main dish with a lovely, food-friendly 2013 Oregon Pinot Gris from Ponzi. It exhibits aromas of marzipan, white tea, Key lime, and magnolia. Wine Enthusiast gave this wine a 92 point rating, $18.99.
Dessert: Chocolate Decadence with Raspberry Sauce – Pastry Chef Janet Feuer was the original inventor of this famous dessert. I enjoy the Williams Sonoma recipe. I am pairing Chocolate Decadence cake in a traditional complementary pairing of 2011 Graham’s Vintage Port, a Robert Parker rated 97-point favorite. It has aromas of blue violets and ripe red fruit. A half-bottle is $62.99. Chocolate contains the organic compound, phenylethylamine, well-known for its psychoactive and stimulant effect. This chemical induces the feelings of well-being and excitement, which makes sex seem like a great idea. Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?