Food is sexy. It has long been a ritual for dating and romance. When you ask “What are you doing with your boyfriend/husband/date for Valentine’s Day?”, often the answer is a romantic dinner. Maybe, if you’re really lucky, HE will be the one to cook. Food plays a big part in how we woo each other, and how we show that we care.
This being said, it is no surprise that we want to know which kinds of foods are not just symbolically romantic, but are actually good for romance. There are certain foods that have a long-standing romantic reputation – aphrodisiacs (aph·ro·dis·i·ac; noun, a food, drink, or drug that stimulates desire).
Chocolate is certainly known as a powerful aphrodisiac because of its ability to release endorphins. No wonder we sell so much chocolate in the U.S. for Valentine’s Day! According to Neilson, Americans buy 58 million pounds of chocolate and spend roughly $345 million to make our loved one happy (or, get them “in the mood”). That is a lot of chocolate – and a lot of dough!
But, here is a surprising food that is also a proven aphrodisiac: goat cheese!
Like cocoa, cheese contains phenylethylamine (PEA), an ingredient that gives chocolate its reputation as a delicious aphrodisiac. PEA is responsible for the release of endorphins. However, fresh cheeses – like young goat cheese – are reported to contain more than ten times as much PEA as chocolate. Plus, like other protein-rich foods, cheese also promotes dopamine production.
Goat cheese is not only sexy, but it is skinny and smart too! It offers protein, promotes hormones that make us feel happy — and makes us even more kissable! Isn’t it wonderful that cheese helps to kill bacteria in the mouth, and has a similar smell to that of human pheromones?
Here are a few ways to incorporate ‘sexy’ goat cheese into your Valentine’s Day menu.
Beet and Chevre Salad
(Did you know beets are an aphrodisiac, too?)
4 medium beets, scrubbed and trimmed, leaving about 1 inch of stems attached
1 ¼ teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon dried tarragon, crumbled
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Herbed Goat Cheese
¾ cup fresh breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon dried tarragon, crumbled
¾ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
8 ounces goat cheese, cut into 8 ½ inch rounds and chilled, covered
2 bunches of watercress, course stems discarded, rinsed and spun dry (about 8 cups)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Wrap beets tightly in foil and roast in middle of the oven 1-1 ½ hours, or until tender. Unwrap beets carefully and cool until they can be handled. Discard stems and peel beets. Cut each beet into 8 wedges. Beets may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
Make vinaigrette. In a blender, blend together mustard, vinegar, tarragon, salt, and pepper. With the blender motor running, add oil and blend until emulsified. Vinaigrette may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
Make herbed goat cheese. In a bowl, stir together breadcrumbs, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Coat each piece of cheese evenly with crumb mixture, pressing gently. Transfer to a baking sheet. Place in the preheated oven, and bake until breadcrumbs are golden brown and cheese is warmed through.
Toss watercress, onion, and half of vinaigrette in a bowl. Arrange watercress mixture, beets and goat cheese on salad plates and drizzle remaining vinaigrette over beets.
Goat Cheese Frosting
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Chief Cheese, Belle Chevre