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cooking, food pairing

turn it on: aphrodisiac food & wine pairings.

Is it true that some foods can actually put one ‘in the mood’?  For centuries,  aphrodisiacs have been sought after and consumed by those who are wishful thinking for its…well…benefits.  Though the science is suspect, it’s not  without a hint of logic.

Whether lion’s blood or bull testicles, elephant tusks or pig genitals, each substance  encourages the body to respond in a way that is linked to the physiology of love.  We decided there had to be tastier options out there, though, that could be even more delightful if paired with the right wine.  So this Valentine’s Day, try these out on your honey and yourself.  At worst, you will experience a pretty remarkable pairing.

Avocado: This one is based on texture.  Incorporate in a salad with a fellow  aphrodisiac, Asparagus, which is high in potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and  Vitamin E (stimulates hormones).   Pair with the 2007 Gobelsburger Gruner Veltliner ($14.99) or 2008 Brocard ‘Kimmeridgien’ Chardonnay ($15.99).

Oysters: These provide a good dose of zinc, which   increase testosterone levels in both men and women.  Oysters are screaming for acid and citrus, so I would suggest the 2008 OCD Sauvignon Blanc ($12.99) from New Zealand, the same grape from France gone flinty in the 2007 Reverdy Sancerre ($24.99), or a mineral-drenched 2008 Muscadet from Metaireau ($11.99).

Chili Peppers: Promotes oxygen flow and gets that heart racing.  Soften its spice with a mellow Beaujolais or a 2007 Qupe Syrah ($14.99).

Chocolate: I haven’t met too many people—male or female—that don’t swoon over chocolate, legitimate aphrodisiac or not.  Could it be the caffeine?  The intoxicating smell?  Well, we suggest a nice port, particularly with milk chocolate and hazelnuts.  Perhaps take home the Niepoort LBV ($22.99) or the Royal Oporto Ten Year Tawny ($9.99, 200 ml)—both unbelievable values!

Pine Nuts: Again, a generous helping of zinc.  Try as a spread or in pesto sauce.  If the former, pine nuts in their purity are divine with a richer style Chardonnay, such as the 2005 Four Hearts Chard ($35.99) or the 2006 Clos Pegas ($22.99) from California, as well as the sustainably  produced 2007   Domaine Marc Jomain Meursault ($33.99) from Burgundy.

Olives: Men, go green.  It will give you gusto.  Women, go with the darker varieties.  You’ll feel a little more frisky.  The wines?  Go with mineral-driven, savory style whites, like the 2007 Sigalas Assyrtiko-Athiri ($18.99) from Greece, the 1999 Lopez Gravonia from Rioja ($27.99), or the lovely 2008 Taburni Dumas Falanghina ($13.99).

Honey: Whether curing impotence or sterility, honey has been what you call an ‘all-purpose’ aphrodisiac over the centuries.  I suggest dribbling some over mild, nutty cow’s milk cheese like Tomme de Beaumont, Castelmagno or Mahon, then serving it up with the 2006 Clos Dady Sauternes ($27.99) or the 2005 Oremus Late Harvest Tokaji ($26.99).

Truffles: Maybe it’s the musky smell, maybe it’s the fact that they are such a hard-to-find delicacy… but these mushrooms are such a turn-on… particularly thinly sliced atop a poached egg or fresh pasta with a touch of butter.  There’s only one answer: Nebbiolo.  Try the 2005 Mauro Molino Barolo ($49.99), the 2000 Moccagatta  Barbaresco ($39.99), or even the 2007 Rivetto ‘Baby Barolo’ Nebbiolo ($16.99).

Peaches: Finally, end on a fuzzy, sweet note.  These fleshy, full stone fruits are more textural than anything else when it comes to encouraging love.  Best paired with a sweet bubbly, like the Baldi Moscato d’Asti ($15.49).   Delicious!

Whatever your love potion, be sure to pair it wisely.  For, like I said, if all that happens is a fabulous meal… you will surely have no regrets.

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Truffles: Maybe it’s the musky smell, maybe it’s the fact that they are such a hard-to-find       delicacy… but these mushrooms are such a turn-on… particularly thinly sliced atop a poached egg or fresh pasta with a touch of butter.  There’s only one answer: Nebbiolo.  Try the 2005 Mauro Molino Barolo ($49.99), the 2000 Moccagatta  Barbaresco ($39.99), or even the 2007 Rivetto ‘Baby Barolo’ Nebbiolo ($16.99).

Peaches: Finally, end on a fuzzy, sweet note.  These fleshy, full stone fruits are more textural than anything else when it comes to encouraging love.  Best paired with a sweet bubbly, like the Baldi Moscato d’Asti ($15.49). Delicious!

Whatever your love potion, be sure to pair it wisely.  For, like I said, if all that happens is a fabulous meal… you will surely have no regrets.

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About ahausman

Originally from Wisconsin, I moved to Colorado in 2005 in order to get closer to the mountains and rock climb. When it occurred to me that I would never make money with that hobby, I went to grad school. I received a masters in English and American Literature from New York University in May of 2009. I have since then opted not to pursue a PhD, for studying and writing about wine is far more fascinating (well, perhaps not moreso than Virginia Woolf, but still… for the long haul?). My favorite wines come from the old world, especially the Rhone, Burgundy, Rioja, Piedmont, and Tuscany. I am also smitten with roses, Italian hard-to-pronounce white varietals, and dessert wines from around the world. By day I run a wine shop. By nite, I sip and tell. It’s rough… but someone must do this.

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