If you're looking to spice things up this Valentine's Day you don't need to look too far. Sun-Times Splash editor Susanna Negovan shows us some aphrodisiac foods around town.
Splash is a 24-page section every Sunday in the Chicago Sun-Times dedicated to style, society and celebrity.
What: The Chocolate Box:
Six varieties of loose-leaf teas (calorie free!), including the Love Tea #7, made with chocolate bits, strawberries and rose petals, $29.50.
Where: DAVIDsTea (924 W. Armitage, 1645 N. Damen and 3530 N. Southport) and davidstea.com Why: Chocolate contains anandamide, the psychoactive feel-good chemical, and PEA (phenylethylamine), the "love chemical" which release dopamine in the pleasure center of the brain. PEA helps to induce feelings of excitement, attraction and euphoria. Juicy and studded with seeds symbolizing fertility, strawberries are also considered an aphrodisiac.
What: Vosges Haut Chocolat 16-piece Crush Collection, $55
Chocolates include the Kumamoto (oyster-infused fresh cream + champagne + white chocolate + edible pearl dust) and Edith (Piper Heidsieck Brut Rose Sauvage Champagne + dark chocolate + rose water + crushed rose bud poudre)
Where: 520 N. Michigan, 951 W. Armitage or vosgeschocolate.com
What: Six-12 varieties of oysters brought in fresh daily, $11.99/half dozen or $19.99 full dozens.
Where: Mariano's Fresh Market oyster bar (40 S. Halsted)
Why: The high zinc content is reported to increase libido and testosterone production. Best served with chilled Champagne.
What: Chicago Cupcake Tour, $50 per person
When: Feb. 14, 4:45 p.m. plus additional chocolate tours throughout the week and weekend
Where: Starts at 900 N. Michigan Ave. and includes a walking tour to some of the city's best local cupcake shops and chocolate shops, where you'll sample artisan specialties and learn about the history of chocolate, cupcakes, Champagne, and Valentine's Day. Samples include: Bourbon-Bacon-Bubbles from Swirlz; Chicago-based La Parisianne du Chocolat's heart-shaped strawberry Champagne white chocolate truffles, with an edible pearl on top; and Chocolate Champagne cupcakes from More Cupcakes filled with chocolate Champagne ganache, with Champagne mixed into the buttercream frosting. chicagochocolatetours.com Why: Chocolate and Champagne have always been seen as elixirs of love. So, at Chicago Chocolate Tours, they say mix the two and enjoy responsibly. Chicago
What: Skillet Bacon Spread
a bacon jam meant to be served with a cheese board, on a burger, mixed with cream cheese on bagels, etc., $10
Where: Available at A Perfect Event (aperfectevent.com) by local event guru Debi Lilly, it's imported from Skillet Seattle, the city's hottest food truck
Why: While there isn't scientific research to support it, bacon's aphrodisiac effect on the libido is a long-held belief.
What: Valentine's Day dessert
available Feb. 14 - 16, $8, with Barolo Poached Figs, bitter chocolate sea salt ganache, Marcona almonds
Where: Harry Caray's, 33 W. Kinzie
Why: All three ingredients are rumored to be potent aphrodisiacs.
What: Valentine's Day Gatsby-Style Feb. 13 - 17:
Includes crispy oysters Rockefeller, diced strawberry and fig salad, and other dishes (a la carte) plus a chance to win diamond jewelry from LaRon Jewelers with purchase of wine.
Where: Park Grill, 11 N. Michigan, Millennium Park
Why: Jewelry is the ultimate aphrodisiac!