According to folk wisdom, eating certain foods can be a way to stimulate sensuality—cultures as diverse as ancient China, India, Greece and Rome had lists of edibles designed not to curb your appetite, but to fuel it. While chocolate is perhaps the most fabled sexual tonic, there are hundreds of ingredients, like saffron or liquorice, that have at some point in history been the remedy for bedroom woes. Read more about the history of aphrodisiacs »
Highland Oysters Mignonette
Oysters’ aphrodisiac fame comes from their suggestive shape and briny flavor. Rumor has it that Casanova, the great 18th century Venetian lover, used to dine on 50 oysters a day.
The sixteenth-century Jesuit priest Jose de Acosta wrote a pamphlet warning Spanish explorers in Mexico and Peru not to eat the local chili peppers, describing in detail their effect in provoking lustful thoughts. The capsaicin in hot peppers can raise the heart rate, a feeling that mimics sexual arousal. See a recipe for Piri-Piri Prawns »
Famous for their musky, earthy aroma, today, truffles are considered an amorous ingredient as much for their luxuriousness as their sexual connotations. Accounts of the life of Madame de Pompadour, King Louis IV¿s lover, describe her adherence to a diet of vanilla, truffles, and celery; she believed that it would provide her with the sexual stamina needed to satisfy the king. See a recipe for Chicken in Truffle Cream Sauce »