Valentine’s Day is approaching. The Irish are well known for their ability to do the hearts and flowers thing. This nation is just a bunch of old romantics at heart. Anyone who’s ever shed a tear at the haunting tones of Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares to You, or swallowed the lump in the throat while nursing a broken heart listening to Shane McGowan singing Rainy Night in Soho will tell you that. I mean how can any country produce song lyrics like these and not be prone to the love-struck disease?
So it will come as no surprise that there are a few Irish foods said to be aphrodisiacs. You know those things? They’re meant to get the pulse racing and the sap rising and what not. Put you in the mood for love. Go on you old softies, you know you’re dying to know what they are!
1. Oysters. No surprises here – oysters are known the world over for their aphrodisiac qualities. Casanova is said to have eaten fifty oysters every day and we all know where that got him. Ireland produces some of the best oysters in the world. Carlingford Lough oysters are famous. Clarinbridge in Co.Galway, is referred to as the home of the Irish native oyster. There are oysters farmed in quiet Atlantic waters off Sherkin Island in West Cork, and in the little coves on the Wild Atlantic Way in Kerry. Eat them raw as they come, straight from the half shell, and feel the mood of lurve happening as you eat! Why is this? Because firstly they contain zinc, an important mineral for men as it’s needed in sperm production. Sorry to be so blunt about it, but if you’re a fella it’s necessary to have zinc for obvious reasons, and oysters have had the reputation of being a food that provides it. So no wonder Casanova ate so many. However, more modern research also links oysters to unique amino acids which are not available in supplement form. These aid production of testosterone in men, and progesterone in women. Both are sex hormones, and again their connection to oysters contributes to the reputation of the shellfish as an aphrodisiac.
2. Celery, Who’d have thought it? The crunchy sticks we use as the basis for stews and casseroles, make soup from, and chomp our way through stick by stick in a crudite mix, is a sexy gourmet ingredient! What? You won’t look at bunch of celery in the same light again now you’ve read that. Celery has phytoandrogens, the plant equivalent of testosterone, which is important for the male sex drive. Now you know. It’s said celery is at its best after a winter frost, when it gets its crunch and all the minerals and nutrients are at their most potent. Now is a good time to eat it. Bring on the raw celery and dips on February 14th.
3. Salmon. Fresh salmon contains lots of Omega 3 fatty acids which have huge health properties. These fatty acids are linked to good heart health, but also to production of sex hormones.
4. Kale. Seriously, it might look boring and green and not particularly inspiring to you. But its powerful antioxidants help keep blood vessels healthy and protect their linings, increasing blood flow and boosting good circulation. Which is very important if you want to be a red hot lover! Seasonal kale soup it is then, on Valentine’s night.
5. Chocolate. Now we’re talking. What girl can resist a bit of chocolate? It brings on the feel good factor for very good reason. It has natural stimulants for well-being and enhances mood. So fellas, if you want to put some passion into Valentine’s night, bring her a box of the finest chocolate you can find. You might want to check out our chocolate makers for that.
6. Honey for your honey. Natural and preferably organic Irish honey contains special phytochemicals which occur naturally in plants, and aid production of testosterone in men. Honey also contains boron which helps utilise Estrogen in women. Quite simply, honey is said to boost libido for men and women. It’s fairly appropriate. Who hasn’t been introduced to the facts of life by their parents telling them an awkward story about the birds and bees?
So there we have it. A fine seasonal Valentine's Feast of oysters, salmon, kale and celery awaits, finished with chocolate and an Irish honey eaten out of the jar with a spoon! Love is definitely in the air, if you're in need of any more inspiration check out our Valetines for food lovers ideas here.