Valentine's Day, in the kitchen there is (also) chilli – Italian Cuisine

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Prepare a special dinner for your partner, winking at traditionally aphrodisiac ingredients but without exaggerating, because in addition to feeling, play and complicity count




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Valentine's Day is approaching and we start thinking about a special dinner for someone special. Cooking for Valentine's Day is a great way to save time, avoid the stress of booking – and eating out, during this period – but above all to make the day super special because it is personal. Let's not forget that in addition to food,atmosphere contributes to mood of the evening.

Making food for someone you love, whether it's a new friend or long-time partner, adds an intimate touch to a party that otherwise risks falling into the commercial. After all, loving through food has always been part of Italian culture. Through the dishes, you can communicate emotions, feelings and, why not, put people in the right mood for an all-round romantic evening. Let's see if we can insert some "help" in our menu …

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Chilli and that feeling of heat
It will be no coincidence that the menus suggested for the day dedicated to Love often wink at those who define themselves aphrodisiac foods, suggested by tradition more than by science in most cases, but the “you never know” is valid. The term derives from the Greek goddess Aphrodite, patroness of love, beauty and all pleasures: it is said that foods such as molluscs and crustaceans, some fruits, root vegetables, spices, seeds, chillies all enjoyed her favor. It is true that some musts of the romantic cuisine they are supported by scientific principles, such as the chili. Red and tantalizing, it contains capsaicin, the substance responsible for the spiciness and subsequent flushing (with relative increase in heart rate) that spicy food causes. A dish with spices and chilli can thus turn out to be spicy in more than one sense.

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Chocolate and butterflies in the stomach
Although geographically and historically distant from Aphrodite, the chocolate (the dark one) legitimately boasts the term aphrodisiac because it contains substances known to increase the feeling of well-being, neurotransmitters that positively influence mood – such as serotonin and endorphin – and phenylethylamine, which released in the brain causes a set of sensations such as euphoria, butterflies in the stomach, shaking. The darker the better, the higher amounts of serotonin are found in 85% chocolate.
We all know the antidepressant effect of the food of the Gods: various studies have shown that the craving for chocolate (call craving) is not a way of saying and does not derive only from appreciating its taste, aroma and texture, but also from the release of these substances. Cocoa also contains theobromine and caffeine, which raise the attention level of the brain and remove the feeling of fatigue. Bernal Díaz del Castillo, who accompanied the conquistador Hernán Cortéz to Mexico, in 1632 wrote in his Historia verdadera de la conquest de la Nueva España, that the Aztec emperor Montezuma drank 50 cups of a cocoa and chilli-based drink every day called cacahuatl before visiting his concubines!

Some spices such as turmeric and the cayenne pepper they can awaken the senses by tingling the mouth and stimulating salivation while ginseng And ginger they are known for their energizing and vasodilating power. Celery And pumpkin they stimulate the sense of smell, while it seems that the aphrodisiac properties attributed to oysters, crustaceans and truffles mainly reside in their exclusivity. But it seems they still work …

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Some advice
Avoid excessively heavy foods or difficult to digest; alcohol is fine (excellent Red wine), without exaggerating. No garlic, for the obvious reasons, unless you're two aficionados. Better to leave out the spinach, which can remain between the teeth. Yes to dishes to share, because they stimulate complicity.

We suggest some ideas for your dinner, such as croquettes on a stick, to be accompanied with a delicious but delicious geleia de pimenta; you can continue with elegant black spaghetti with prawns and peppers or spectacular pepper ingots with tortellini with truffles; to divide a splendid tagliata with spicy fruit salad served with chili tomatoes and avocado.

Grand finale is the dessert, naturally chocolaty: the Devil's Food cake, to be nibbled together during the evening.

And remember that if in the end you decide to cook your partner's favorite dish (you have all the recipes of Sale & Pepe available), maybe doing it together, the evening will go just as well.

Francesca Tagliabue

Posted on 09/02/2022

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