SAY GOODBY TO MISMATCHED LIBIDO THIS VALENTINE’S DAY

Premium Chocolate Mousse for Two

People say “Forget Love. I’d rather fall in chocolate.” I say, why choose?? With legend, lore, and even science suggesting that chocolate may have aphrodisiac properties, love and chocolate seems like a match made in heaven. There is nothing more stimulating than sharing a great chocolate dessert (in many different ways) with your lover in a lively surroundings.

CHOCOLATE – THE FOOD OF LOVE

As you know, aphrodisiacs are substances that enhance our libido.  Modern science has confirmed that eating chocolate causes the brain to release certain neurotransmitters (i.e. endorphins, serotonin, and phenylethylamine) that enhances our “happy” moods. Endorphins cause feelings of euphoria and trigger the release of sex hormones. Serotonin is a “necessary” chemical in our brain if we want to be in a “happy” mood and wish to be aroused. If we have low serotonin levels in our brain it is nearly impossible to feel aroused or get into the feeling of sexual pleasure. Phenylethylamine (PEA) increases the pulse rate and feelings of excitement, resulting in sensations similar to those experienced when one is in love.  As you can see these are real desirable ingredients (that is why I make sure that I eat at least three times a day about 2-3 ounces of dark chocolate with 66% or higher cacao content) I guess your next question is: “And how is your sex life?”; Well, I will let your imagination run wild with that one. The only secret I will let you on is that my grandchildren cannot visit me unannounced.

Chocolate’s reputation as an aphrodisiac extends as far back as our knowledge of chocolate itself. Aztecs believed that chocolate aroused men and made women less inhibited; reportedly, the Aztec emperor Montezuma drank 50 goblets of chocolate each day to enhance his sexual performance ( I wonder what 50 goblets equals to today’s measurements? Am I near with 6-9 ounces/day?) Naturally, when the Spanish explorers carried this exotic food back to Europe, its reputation went along for the ride. Chocolate has been a traditional gift for lovers ever since.

So, how should you prepare to make this the most memorable Valentine’s Day?  Whether you’re planning an unforgettable breakfast in bed, a romantic getaway on a Greek Island, or a secret “love in the afternoon” with that special someone, chocolate has to be on the menu.

Continue to read: Say Goodby to Mismatched Libido….

VANILLA FOR THE BETTER ODDS

Double or triple your pleasure by including other stimulating treats, such as vanilla. As you may know, there are many other foods and flavorings that are considered to act as aphrodisiacs. Some produce stimulating aromas (vanilla, almond), some claim a chemical basis for their powers of “love” (cayenne pepper and ginger both known to increase blood flow throughout the body, particularly to the genitalia),  and others are considered provocative simply because of their phallic shape (i.e. asparagus, oysters, bananas, figs).

Vanilla is a powerful triple threat. First, it is an orchid – flowers that are widely admired for their erotic beauty. Second, like chocolate, it enhances the release of certain neurotransmitters – in vanilla’s case adrenaline and dopamine, which increase the heart rate and expands blood vessels; two critical elements of sexual excitement. Finally, I will go out on a limb here and tell you that vanilla doesn’t even need to be ingested to increase libido!  In controlled tests designed to measure the relationship between smell and sexual arousal, neurologist Alan Hirsch found that vanilla was the single fragrance that led to the highest level of arousal in men; it also called”the natural aphrodisiac for men.

So, what we are trying to provide you here for the next 14 days, is the type of aphrodisiac recipes that contain multiple ingredients that are believed to enhance libido, or guaranteed to stimulate the passion in you. Of course it will also help if the food will be tasty, visually appealing and consumed in the right atmosphere with the right partner.

We selected the first recipe to be easy to prepare, needs very little time, but the end results are guaranteed love potions:

PREMIUM DARK CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
(A recipe is based on the “testing everything guys” of Cook’s Illustrated) with a slight detour from Georgette.

Chocolate mousse

INGREDIENTS
8 ounce dark chocolate, chopped fine (I used Valrhona, Le Noir Amer,  71% Cacao)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used Pernigotti)
1 tablespoon sweet butter
2 teaspoons vanilla ( I like the Mexican or Tahitian vanilla)
4 tablespoons espresso (prepared by an espresso machine)
2 tablespoon Grand Marnier
3 large eggs cold, separated
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 cup heavy cream, plus 1/4 more for decoration (chilled); I used not ultra-pasteurized

PROCEDURE
Melt the chopped chocolate, 2 tablespoons sugar, cocoa powder, and 1 tablespoons sweet butter in medium heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from heat. Add the liqueur, the vanilla and the espresso coffee, that was prepared based on your machine’s directions, to the melted chocolate.

Whisk egg yolks, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, and salt in medium bowl until mixture lightens in color and thickens slightly, about 30 seconds. Pour melted chocolate into egg mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined. Let cool until slightly warmer than room temperature, 3 to 5 minutes.

In clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, increase mixer speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, about 1 minute. Detach whisk and bowl from mixer and whisk last few strokes by hand, making sure to scrape any unbeaten whites from bottom of bowl. Using whisk, stir about one-quarter of beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten it; gently fold in remaining egg whites with rubber spatula until a few white streaks remain.

Whip heavy cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, about 15 seconds longer. Using rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into mousse until no white streaks remain. Spoon mousse into 6 individual goblets. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set and firm, at least 2 hours. (The mousse may be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)

Serve with the remaining whipped heavy cream, flavored with 1 teaspoon vanilla and shaving from the chocolate (see photo) (Secret note: you can use a small parfume-spraying bottle, filled with vanilla, to spray the air in the room)

A couple notes to the recipe:

Valrhona and pasteurized (not ultra) heavy cream available at Trader Joe.

Pernigotti Cocoa Powder is sold at Williams-Sonoma

When I first prepared this recipe I used the Valrhona, non-dutch-processed cocoa powder. In this recipe I used Pernigotti Cocoa Powder and increased the quantity to 4 tablespoons; the deep chocolate flavor in this mousse is incomparable to the previous recipe.  Instead of water and espresso powder I used espresso coffee (I cooked a strong espresso coffee and added 4 tablespoons to the melted chocolate to which I also added 1 tablespoon butter). In my opinion, you do not need to completely eliminate the butter in the recipe in order to obtain a desirable texture, as Cook’s Illustrated suggested.