"I know of nothing that stimulates my stomach and excites my mind more voluptuously than the aromas of the these delicious dishes as they caress the imagination and arouse feelings of desire" La Nouvelle Justine ou les Malheurs de la Vertu
The Mayans and Aztecs of Central and South America drank chocolate to give them virility and stamina prizing its powers as an aphrodisiac, it was considered by the Aztec and Mayan people to be sacred to 'Xochiquetzal', the goddess of fertility. This reputation has not dimmed as Cacao is still commonly listed in the canon of reputed natural aphrodisiacs (alongside oysters, asparagus, avocados etc). How much this is due to a history of cultural and psychological conditioning - who knows?
What we do know, is that Cacao is a powerhouse of compounds including anandamide, the psyochoactive feel-good chemical, and PEA (phenylethylamine), the "love chemical," which releases dopamine in the pleasure centers of the brain and peaks during orgasm. PEA is said to help induce feelings of excitement, attraction and euphoria. Cacao also contains tryptophan, a key component of the neurotransmitter serotonin known to promote a sense of well-being and relaxation. Dark chocolate is also rich in antioxidants, but I do not think you will get the same effect from the milky, sweet confections that are so popular in helping you 'to work rest and play' or 'have a break' - no naming and shaming here!
If you are a chocolate lover, you are in good company as famous lovers such as Casanova and Madame de Pompadour (mistress of King XV of France) took chocolate as a stimulant before lovemaking.
With such illustrious connections and extravagant, nebulous claims aside, the aroma of (dark) chocolate in any form is in itself a sensual pleasure, a relaxation trigger - especially if it is in liquid form! Now that Autumnal evenings are drawing in, why not try this sinful, indulgent concoction:
Recipe from 'The Seven Deadly Sins of Chocolate" - Lust
Spiced Hot Chocolate (serves 4)
- 90z bittersweet chocolate chopped
- 3 1/2 cups milk
- 3/4 cups heavy cream
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 vanilla bean, split open
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
- Put the milk, cream, cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean in a pan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, set aside to infuse for 10 minutes, and then bring back to a boil.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean . Pour the milk carefully onto the chocolate, whisking briskly. Stir in the brown sugar and serve piping hot.
For a finishing touch, top with a swirl of Chantilly cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder.
If you desire a more hedonistic, party recipe to celebrate National Cocktail week, then tryout this Cocktail, from www.marysueandsusan.com
Casanova’s Chocolate Passion Makes 1 cocktail
- 1 ounce Dark Crème de Cacao liqueur
- 1 ounce vodka
- 1/2 ounce Chambord raspberry liqueur
- 1 1/2 ounces half and half
- Ice, for cocktail shaker
- 1 cranberry, raspberry, or cherry
- Combine crème de cacao, vodka, raspberry liqueur, and half and half in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
- Shake thoroughly and pour into a chilled martini glass.
- Drop in one cranberry, raspberry, or cherry to active Casanova's passionate love spell. This cocktail is delicious when paired with dessert or even as dessert!