FLAVOURS OF LOVE
Not sure what to order or prepare for Valentine’s Day dinner? TRACEY FURNISS consults with the experts on what to eat and what to avoid to keep the romance alive
IT’S SAID THAT the way to the heart is through the stomach and if you’re looking to impress your date this Valentine’s Day, here are some suggestions whether you’re eating in or dining out.
Kick things off with a starter of avocado, which contains high levels of phytosterols, vitamin E and omega 3s to boost dopamine and stimulate pleasure – you’re welcome! Hummus has also won over many hearts with its high levels of iron, magnesium, zinc and potassium, which will definitely put you in the right mood.
And throw out the sugar in favour of honey, an aphrodisiac that contains boron, which enhances testosterone. Then finish with some dark chocolate, which evokes feelings of happiness and excitement as it contains phenylethylamine – but make sure it’s at least 75% cacao.
Chef Michael Smith at Moxie favours the sweet approach. “Local organic strawberries are in peak season in February. Pair them with profiteroles and a dark chocolate sauce, a timeless (and sexy) classic!” he says, while advising against oysters. “Personally I would avoid them. You don’t want to risk a bad one on date night! That, and corn on the cob.
It’s never a pretty sight, and I speak from experience.”
Chef Mickael Messina at Bacchus, meanwhile, advises against any pungent
– and potentially off-putting – flavours. “I definitely prefer more elegant meals if I’m out on a date. I never order strong flavours like garlic and chilli, as they not only overwhelm the palate but also put off anything that might happen afterwards,” he says. “I also wouldn’t
recommend getting hands- on with your meal with messy dishes.”
He has two must-have dishes for Valentine’s Day. “Start your romantic meal with a smoked trout and crab meat cannelloni, an appetiser that’s just bursting with colours and flavours, elevated by a touch of Avruga caviar. Follow that up with a light and satisfying main course of Nagoya scallops and truffle celery risotto, and you have a recipe for success.”
At Bacchus, Messina is offering a three- or five- course Valentine’s menu with wine pairing. He has redesigned his signature Opera French duck foie gras, inspired by his time at the Ritz- Carlton in the Cayman Islands, making it lighter to appeal to different tastes and infusing it with strawberry and Sichuan pepper for an Asian touch.
“I never order strong flavours like garlic and chilli, as they not only overwhelm the palate but also put off anything that might happen afterwards”