Aphrodisiac foods have a history that go way back to ancient Greek and Roman times, but whether they actually do their job in the love department has long been a hot topic of discussion. Regardless of which side of the debate you’re on, we think Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to test those theories out for yourself, and turophiles, you’re in luck. A number of supposed love-inducing foods couple extremely well with cheese.
Starting things off hot, chili peppers might be your best wingman this Valentine’s Day. These feisty fruits contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that makes them spicy. As Dr. Meryl Rosofsky explains to The New York Times, the heat we feel after biting into a pepper raises both our heart rate and body temperature. They can also trigger an endorphin rush. This pickled version is delicious on top of a cheesy sandwich, while this jelly serves as a great accompaniment on a cheese board.
Thanks to their numerous seeds, figs are viewed as a symbol of fertility by various cultures around the world. To some, this plump fruit also offers erotic visions given its shape. The fact that they’re antioxidant-rich and packed with such nutrients as potassium and vitamin B6 make figs a guilt-free treat, and they find their perfect match in goat cheese. Try them in spreadable form with this compote.
Honey is an obvious cheese companion, and the sweet stuff has long been considered a symbol of sensuality and love. Some even believe that the term “honeymoon” stems from couples drinking mead, or honey wine, throughout the first month of marriage. Honey contains boron, which could boost testosterone and estrogen. Add these pairings to your cheese plate, and your partner will think you’re the bee’s knees.
A superfood in more ways that one, this peppery veg can supposedly spice up your love life. According to this Health article, arugula contains nutrients that can reject natural toxins that potentially reduce libido. It’s a favorite salad green and complements Comté, goat cheese, and feta nicely.
While not commonly considered aphrodisiacs, these berries are a sweet treat come Valentine’s Day (and they’re also a symbol of Venus, the Roman goddess of love). Many will undoubtedly go the chocolate-dipped route, but surprise your date with this goat cheese crostini or this strawberry shortcake with mascarpone instead.