A Sensual Feast

by Anne Papina on February 2, 1998

Candied Pear

Throughout history, food’s role has spanned far beyond being a source of fuel. Literature of our times recounts many epicurean tales, emphasizing one of life’s greatest pleasures: eating. In the spirit of St. Valentine’s Day, I’ve culled an assortment of Web sites devoted to the art of creating sensual meals.

Long before Laura Esquivel penned Like Water for Chocolate, foods have been used to express feelings. In Esquivel’s tale, circumstances prevented Tita and Pedro from joining together as lovers. From this sense of longing, Tita created sumptuous meals that served as the conduit through which they shared their feelings for one another. Esquivel’s story of this turn-of-the-century couple may be fictional, but the concept of aphrodisiac cooking is most definitely not.

The Gourmet Sleuth details the history of aphrodisiac cooking, complete with stories of love potions from the temples of Eros, Aphrodite and Dionysus. This site helps bring to life the almost magical effect of otherwise standard fare. It includes a list of aphrodisiac foods along with sensual recipes to tempt your lover.

If want to skip the history lesson and focus on recipes, you might want to visit the Valentine Foods of Love. Here you will find a mixture of sweet and savory concoctions designed to put you (and your lover) in the mood such as Oyster Martinis with Beluga Caviar, Figs with Thyme Honey and Gorgonzola Toasts or Chocolate Amaretto Torte. Definitely a great place to stop for romantic meal inspiration.

If an entire book devoted to the art of sensual cooking appeals to you, InterCourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook is worth a look. The book itself is filled with recipes and tales of the couples who’ve put them to work. The InterCourses Web site includes pictures from the book along with the stories behind the photos. If you have your own stories to tell, they also provide an area where you can share your titillating food experiences.

For a one-stop shop of Valentine’s tips and lore, visit the About.com Valentine Food Guide which brings together just about everything there is to know about this romantic holiday. Browse through their romantically inspirational recipes and guide to traditional amorous foods such as chocolate and champagne. They’ve also included tips for quick meals, setting the table for romance, creating tantalizing desserts and even setting up a romantic tea party. Aside from the foods, this site has a guide to romantic interludes and other handy Valentine’s tips.

While history and literature show food has shared the stage in many a romantic conquest, the food alone is not what has brought these people together. Setting the ambiance, and of course the company, play an integral part in creating the most sensual feast. After all, the potency of the aphrodisiac ultimately stems from the mind.

Best wishes & happy surfing!

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