In Part 1 of this series, Home-cooked Valentine’s Day dinner a la Mexicana, what could be more romantica?, we looked at menus and recipes that let you bring all the passion and sabor of la Riviera Mexicana to your Valentine’s dinner. In fact, with such a long list of ingredients with aphrodisiac properties commonly used in Mexican cuisine; we may just have discovered the secret to the legend of the Latin lover!
But no night of romance is complete without the requisite drinks to begin the evening and just the right dessert to put the finishing touches on a perfectly planned meal, so here are great options for to complete your menu:
You’ll want to include or combine these with your favorite mixed drink or dessert:
The 10th century Salerno Book of Health, which incorporated elements of Classical, Jewish, and Arab medicine, described its properties as such:
“Within the stomach, loins, and in the lung
Praise of hot ginger rightly may be sung.
It quenches thirst, revives, excites the brain
And in old age awakes young love again”
Coffee– we all know it as stimulant for both the body and mind, but did you know that
“the mid-15th century, monks of the Sufi monasteries of Yemen were the first to roast and brew coffee as it is known today. They gave it the name, kawah, or ‘that which excites and causes the spirits to rise.’ Legend… claim[s] that Turkish husbands were legally required to provide their wives with a daily quota with the beverage, upon penalty of divorce.
Vanilla– derived from an orchid native to Mexico and was originally cultivated by the Totonac people.
Its local name, ‘Xanath’, references the myth of Xanat, the youngest daughter of a fertility goddess who had fallen in love with a mortal. Since she was a goddess and he a human, they were unable to marry. In one version of the story, the lovers ran off together but were captured and beheaded. The vanilla orchid grew where their blood touched the earth, and the intoxicating aroma of vanilla embodies the transcendent experience of love.
Chiles– commonly used by both the both Aztecs and Incas as an aphrodisiac.
Honey– the nectar of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty and sexuality from whom ‘aphrodisiacs’ take their name.
The famous Aztec emperor, Montezuma was known to drink an ancient beverage called atextli. “Although few written records survive, Francisco Hernandez (1514-1587 AD), a naturalist and court physician to the King of Spain, recorded a recipe for a chocolate-based aphrodisiac … made from a thin paste of cocoa beans and maize, mixed with macaxochitl (Mexican Pepperleaf) and tlilxochitl (Vanilla)” before visit his numerous wives (according to the OralFix Aphrodisiac Cafe website).
Cardamom– considered an aphrodisiac in Arabic cultures as noted in this ancient work of literature, The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight, which is referred to as one of the best-known Arabic sex manuals.
Cinnamon – used in many aphrodisiac preparations throughout the world, this Biblical passage in Proverbs 7: Warning Against the Adulteress, warns against the allure of its scent,
“I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. Come let us take our fill of love till morning.”
Sensual cocktail suggestions: ask any Mexican and you’ll get a resounding endorsement of, what else, Tequila as the liquor of choice for almost any occasion, especially a romantic one! Here are several variations on the theme, combining some of the above “love potions”, with links to their recipes.
- Habanero Martini– tequila, dry vermouth, habanero pepper
- Devil’s Handshake– tequila, lime and pineapple juices, simple syrup, sweet ginger puree, egg white (trendy, new ingredient)
- Twice Spice Daisy– jalapeno tequila, Canton ginger liqueur, lime juice, simple syrup
- Spicy Piña– tequila, pineapple and orange juices, simple syrup, jalapeno pepper
Seductive dessert suggestions:
- Azteca (dessert cocktail) – “Vanilla has a warm, intoxicating aroma, and chocolate and chile peppers have been known as aphrodisiacs forever,” notes bartender Tomas Delos Reyes. Epicurous features Delos Reyes in a video that give you easy, step-by-step instructions for this “based on the beverage the Aztec emperor Montezuma would sip before seducing his harem of women”.
- Flourless Chocolate Chipotle Torte- this is an easy dessert to make, even if you don’t fancy yourself a baker; it combines chocolate, espresso coffee, chiles, cinnamon and is topped with cardamom whipped cream… 5 out of 7 from our list, above!
- Cinnamon Honey Flan – although this recipe calls for skim milk to cut down on calories, at Tres Señoritas Gourmet, we take flan in the opposite direction, adding queso fresco for an especially rich flavor and texture.