EXOTIC LOVE-FRUITS FOR YOUR VALENTINE’S DAY

A perfectly ripe piece of fruit shared with your lover is a true romantic moment.”


While I am writing this post, I cannot help but think: why are we talking, writing, and reading about foods with aphrodisiac properties only for a few weeks leading to Valentine’s Day? Are we interested to have a great sex life for a week or two annually, then back to doldrums? I would hope not.  I suggest we keep these posts, articles, books handy all year long (mainly scattered in the bedroom, the kitchen, the bathroom, etc., ) and consult them daily. I am confident we will be a happy society with no time to kvetch or revolt; our production of goods and services would skyrocket, our economy would flourish and we would live happily ever after….

So, let me know what you think about this suggestion.

At first I wrote about the mythology of aphrodisiac, how it derived from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love; and how some foods became labeled as aphrodisiac and used as sexual stimulant …….and then it dawn on me that this story must be getting out of your elbow by now, so I discarded that draft. However, I still love the story of Paris, the young prince of Troy who was charged with choosing “the fairest” of three goddesses to be the recipient of the golden apple. Hera, goddess of marriage and birth, offered Paris riches and dominion over all men. Athena, goddess of wisdom and war, promised Paris knowledge and renown as the bravest, most invincible of heroes. Then the goddess of love and beauty spoke. In a sweet voice, teasing with laughter, Aphrodite said, “Choose me and I will give you love and the most beautiful woman in the world for your wife.” Of course, Paris chose Aphrodite and true to her word, she introduced him to the lovely Helen, wife of the King of Sparta. Paris proceeded to abduct Helen and the rest is, as they call it, myth history; think Trojan War!

Let me know if you share my sentiment, or you hate this story too?

Anyway lets get back to the title of this post and talk about the variety of exotic sensual fruits that in the right circumstances, can get your sexual energies flowing; so keep them handy at all times.

I’d like to start with my favorite one (as our domain name implies): FIGS

FIGS

Figs are the kings of the fruit world and one of the sexiest fruits on the planet. On appearance alone, “figs have been regarded as aphrodisiacs in the popular imagination and even in erotic literature”. This is, no doubt, due to their beautiful soft and luscious interior which are equated with the female sexual organ. Their velvety texture contributes to the eroticism of eating fig, as well.  Figs are thought of as libido enhancers and sexual invigorators; no wonder they were the favorite fruit of Cleopatra.

Figs contain a host of beneficial substances including vitamin A, the B vitamins, and lots of minerals. In fact, they have the highest mineral content of all fresh fruits. With up to 1,600 seeds per fruit, figs are associated with fertility and their high mineral content may have long-term sexual benefits. If you haven’t tried fresh figs yet, available June to October, you are missing a fantastic treat!

Try feeding them to your lover dipped into creme fraiche and drizzled with honey.  You can serve them as an appetizer with sliced melon or pears and prosciutto. How about rocket salad with endives and Black Mission figs drizzled with raspberry vinaigrette? (Rocket is the English term for arugula). Since the first century A.D., rocket salad leaf has had a reputation for making lovers shoot skywards.

Raspberry Vinaigrette:

Equipment: Food processor or Blender

Ingredients:

1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1 medium shallot, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
2 teaspoons honey

Preparation:

Puree raspberries in the food processor (or blender) then add the shallots and mix well, add the honey and mix well, then slowly drizzle the olive oil onto the mixture while the motor is running in the Food Processor.   Season it to taste with salt and pepper.

For a triple dose of aphrodisiac, sprinkle this sexy starter with pine nuts as they are high in zinc which stimulates the libido. Serve fresh Black Mission figs in a cool bowl of water as it is done in Italy and be sure you and your lover eat with your fingers!  As I said previously, this great fruit is so versatile that you can prepare endless recipes throughout the year for pleasurable evenings, love in the afternoon or for post-coital mornings.

QUINCE (Cydonia oblonga)


Quince is believed to have been the golden apples of the Hesperides as well as the apple which lured Eve. Their high mucilage content in the seeds makes them very popular aphrodisiacs and quince marmalade or paste has a reputation of the “amorous condiment.”

Due to their color, fragrance, and multitude of seeds, quince fruit was dedicated to Aphrodite by the Greeks and to Venus by the Romans as a symbol of love, fertility, and a happy marriage. The eating of a quince pear at weddings is said to be preparative of sweet and delightful days between the newlyweds.

Most people cannot eat this fruit raw due to its strong astrigent properties. One of the best way to serve quince with your amorous meal is poached, during which it turns into something totally different color-wise, taste-wise, and aroma-wise (it is well worth your time to try it); then mix them with apples and raisins (or dried currants) to make a delightful apple-quince pie. Absolutely delicious and much better then a simple apple pie. Another great way to enjoy quince is make it into a paste and serve it with manchego, gorgonzola and/or any good quality blue cheese. You can bake Tarte Tatin with quince (instead of apples), or cook a  delightful unique sauce with cranberries.

QUINCE PASTE (My Mother’s hungarian recipe; I only added the ginger)

Equipment: A heavy enameled cast-iron dutch oven with non-reactive interior (i.e. Le Creuset)

Ingredients:

4 medium or 6 small quince, peeled, quartered and cored
2 cups sugar
1/4 cups apple juice, or apple cider (more if needed)
1/2 vanilla bean split lengthwise
A juice of one Meyer lemon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup finely minced fresh ginger (I used a mortar and pestle to finely mince the graded ginger so that it will not leave pieces in the paste)

Yield: about 2 pounds

Preparation:

Place all the ingredients in the cast-iron dish and cook it over moderate heat until it becomes very soft and can be easily pureed with an immersion blender (this is one of the rare  times when you are not only allowed, but encouraged to cook the fruit to death).

Cooking time may vary between 90 minutes to 2 hours or until the mixture begins to pull away from the side of the pan. You should monitor the cooking by mixing and stirring the fruit  every 15-20 minutes to prevent scorching.  You may add more apple juice, if needed, if the mixture becomes too dry but not yet ready to be pureed.

Pour the puree into a terrine, (note: if the puree does not appear to be smooth enough, you can forced it through a fine sieve), and smooth the top with a knife, or spatula. Chill it with loosely covered plastic wrap until set (about 4 hours).

Run a thin knife around sides of terrine and invert quince paste onto a platter for serving (Quince paste, if wrapped well in wax paper and then plastic wrap and chilled, keeps 3 months.)

Please let me know if you dared to make this dish; how did you like it? How did you serve it? Did you attack anyone next to you following consumption? (just kidding)

Note: Theresa Singleton, Ph.D. was a contributor in this post.