Food can be sexy. But can it be an aphrodisiac? Maybe it is my childish love of fairy tales that had me looking up notions of foods historically thought of as aphrodisiacs. Incidentally, there are a lot. More than a grown woman should believe in actually. What is interesting is that there is no flavor commonality in the various foods that have been rumored to entice, arouse or excite the opposite sex. The reasons a particular food was thought to evoke amorous feelings were a suggestive shape (like oysters), symbols of fertility (like eggs or almonds), sensation of warmth or heat (like chili) or a belief that it had a chemical effect on the body causing arousal (wine, truffle or chocolate).
So let’s talk about chocolate. Chocolate has been a Valentine tradition since the 1800s. I am sure much of that can be credited to marketing (Cadbery debued a heart-shaped box for Valentine’s Day in 1860). Chocolate has long been connected with feelings of pleasure. In fact, chocolate is known to release small amounts of endorphins which elevate our mood. Is this why we considerate it an aphrodisiac? Or are feelings of romance something that we create through our gestures and ideas. Chocolate is something very special that is harvested by hand, fermented, and baked in the sun all before the long manufacturing and mixing process. This can easily be taken for granted when we unwrap a candybar to get a sugar fix. Whether on not you believe in aphrodisiacs, this makes it a pretty special gift even before our endorphins kick in or our face turns into that grin of chocolate melting on our tongue.
3 cups of milk (I use 2%)
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon medium hot chili powder
In a small sauce pan or metal pot, heat milk, cinnamon stick, star anise and vanilla on medium low heat until a small amount of foam and steam form at the top. Divide the cocoa, sugar, chocolate chips and chili powder in two cups. Add hot milk and stir.