Valentine’s Day. There’s no better occasion to celebrate when you’re in love. Save yourself the hassle of reserving a table in that over-crowded, fancy restaurant, and show off your passion for cooking ( and for your other-half) with a romantic homemade dinner.

If you’re stuck for ideas, start by choosing the right ingredients. Do you believe in aphrodisiac foods?

The following ingredients are proven to stimulate your desires. Colorful, tasty and delicious, add one or all of them into your Valentine’s dinner menu to make romance sparkle.

1.Red Chili Peppers

Chili peppers stimulate endorphins (the brain’s feel good chemicals), speed up heart rate and make you sweat. Add a pinch of chopped red chili pepper in virtually any dish, from appetizer to desserts, to spice things up a little. Never thought of making these Chocolate Macarons with Red Chili Pepper Ganache?

2. Oysters

Oysters as an aphrodisiac sound much of a cliché, but you know what? They really can make your libido sparkle.  These shellfish are brimming with zinc, a mineral that cranks up the production of testosterone, which has been linked to a higher sex drive, and finally oysters are also classified as umami-rich food. Someone likes them au nature with just a pinch of black pepper and lemon juice, however, they’re just as good grilled, baked or deep fried. Surprise your other half with this amazing Japanese Grilled Oysters or go for this  elegant New Zealand Pacific Oyster Kilpatrick .

3. Pomegranate

Pomegranate seeds are bright red gems filled with antioxidants which protect the lining of blood vessels, allowing more blood to course through them. Use them to add a colorful and refreshing touch to seasonal salads,  mains and drinks too. Keep things simple for dinner, and pair grilled fish or meat with this yummy Pomegranate & Persimon Salsa. Make sure you’re in the mood for some booze, this Pomegranate Cranberry Champagne Punch is worth at least a sip or two, or hundreds.

4. Chocolate

Of course chocolate is an aphrodisiac food, how couldn’t it be? For those who skeptically don’t believe in the power of chocolate, let me prove you wrong. Cocoa contains the chemical phenylethylamine, which induces feelings of well-being and pleasure. Chocolate is good in any possible way. although too many times is associated with un-healthy overloaded sugary desserts. Get creative and try a luxurious, deep-flavored  Fillet of Venison with Rich Chili Chocolate Sauce. After dinner, conquer your way through her/his heart with this delicious Mango Cheesecake with Brownie Crust.

5. Avocado

Aztecs were the first to discover the aphrodisiac properties of avocados. They are rich of vitamin E,  which helps your body churn out hormones like testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. You can easily sneak some avocado into many dishes, try this spicy Tuna & Avocado Tartare for an appetizer out of the ordinary . Or even better, amaze your loved one ( and yourself) with one of these to-die-for Avocado & Chocolate Truffles.

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