An Aphrodisiac’s Tour of the Famers’ Market
An aphrodisiac is a food or drug that arouses sensual desire. It is an invocation to the powers of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of Love. You need to look no further than our local Farmers’ Market for these healthy, pleasure-inducing gifts from Nature’s garden. While the list of aphrodisiac foods is long, we chose five that are currently in season.
Some of our favorite aphrodisiacs are:
Legend varies regarding the heart-shaped strawberry. Some say that they are reminiscent of Aphrodite’s tears after the loss of her lover, Adonis. Other accounts say the ancient Greeks forbade eating red fruits because of their mysterious powers. Strawberries’ anti-oxidant and phytochemical properties along with vitamin C are known to give a boost to immunity and vitality. Dipped in chocolate and paired with champagne, their legendary past has no doubt earned their aphrodisiac status as a Valentine favorite.
Chocolate, perhaps the ultimate aphrodisiac, has been prized throughout history. Sourced from the cacao tree, the Aztecs and the Mayans even used the pods containing cacao beans as a form of currency. It is said that Montezuma drank as much as fifty cups of chocolate a day to satisfy his many wives. Chocolate contains the feel-good chemical PEA which releases dopamine in the pleasure centers of the brain. Cacao also contains tryptophan, a key component of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that promotes a sense of well-being and relaxation. Whatever the legend or science may be, chocolate lovers know well the craving it inspires and the satisfaction and pleasure it so generously gives.
The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates prescribed honey for sexual vigor. According to an old French wives’ tale, a bee sting was a shot of pure aphrodisiac, although we don’t recommend trying this. A symbol of fertility in some cultures, honey was given to brides and grooms in hopes of a sweet marriage, often in an alcoholic beverage. Of course, the word honeymoon and the intimations of romance surrounding the words “birds and bees” are all a part of honey’s amorous history. Honey contains the trace mineral boron which helps the body use estrogen, and nitric oxide which may increase blood flow during arousal.
Aztecs supposedly did not let virgins leave home during the harvest of avocados. The fruits, which hang in pairs were thought to resemble male body parts and possess sexual magic. The Sun King, Louis XIV relied on “la bonne poire” (the good pear) for sexual vigor. Rich in vitamin E, the avocado provides nutrients that boost the immune system and give a youthful appearance to skin. It’s vitamin B9 supports energy and vitamin B6, folic acid and potassium add to the many health benefits of the avocado. If it worked for Louis XIV, it could work for you.
Ancient Romans included beets in their frescoes on the walls of the Lupanar brothel in Pompeii. In Greek myth, Aphrodite ate beets to enhance her appeal. Beets contain tryptophan and betaine, both of which promote feelings of well-being. They also contain boron, the trace mineral that assists the body in the use of sex hormones such as estrogen. They are a colorful, red salad garnish for Valentine’s Day, too!
The Certified Farmers’ Market is held weekly on Sundays from 8 am to 12:30 pm on Old Town La Quinta’s Main Street.
References: Tory Avery, The History Kitchen & ToryAvery.com