The word aphrodisiac comes from the name of the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite and since the ancient times people have believed in the power of aphrodisiac foods. But do they really work?

Italian cuisine features so many known aphrodisiac foods; Why not create a fabulous meal using as many of the ingredients you can from our top ten list below and put them to the test?!

1) Figs

This fruit has long been thought of an arousing stimulant. Figs are steeped in history and are one of the oldest recorded fruits. They were reportedly Cleopatra’s favourite fruit and the ancient Greeks held them as sacred and associated them with love and fertility.

Fresh figs aren’t always easy to find, so why not try the dried variety from Calabria instead? Combine three of the most famous Italian aphrodisiac foods with a box of our chocolate coated fig bites –  Calabrian dried figs which also contain almonds!

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2) Chocolate

The Aztecs called chocolate ‘Nourishment of the Gods’ and this feel-good food contains a host of compounds including phenylethylamine (PEA), administering PEA increases dopamine, which in turn stimulates the pleasure centres in the brain! Chocolate also contains tryptophan, used by the brain to manufacture serotonin, which can produce feelings of elation, well-being and relaxation. Choose the best quality dark chocolate that you can find (such as our range of Sicilian Modican chocolate) to ensure plenty of health benefits, great taste and feel-good factor!

3) Honey

Delicious, sweet honey is a great source of boron, a trace mineral that helps the body use and metabolize estrogen. In addition, honey contains B vitamins needed for testosterone, as well as other nutrients, enzymes and phytochemicals. As far back as 500BC, honey was known as an aphrodisiac food. It was said that Greek physician Hippocrates advocated the taking of milk and honey to induce love and ecstasy! Our Tuscan honey is organic and comes in seven wonderful varieties.

4) Chilli Peppers

To spice things up, add some hot chilli peppers to your meal! Chilli peppers stimulate endorphins (the brain’s feel good chemicals) and will raise your body temperature and boost your heart rate. This invigorating spice has an exotic reputation and a bright red colour, which could be why it’s considered a symbol of love. Find a range of wonderful products containing chilli peppers as well as whole, chopped and dried chillies on our website.

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5) Olive Oil

Packed with antioxidants, olives and their oil have been used for centuries for their health benefits. The Greeks believed they made men more virile as well. Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are critical for a healthy heart, blood flow and hormone production. Try our organic ‘Cenzino’ extra virgin olive oil, voted one of the top 50 in the world last year!

6) Truffles

Truffles were considered by the Romans and Greeks to be an aphrodisiac; The musky scent of truffles is said to stimulate and sensitize the skin to touch. Truffles contain androstenol, a pheromone found in male underarm sweat, which may in part give rise to their claim to fame as an aphrodisiac food. Truffles are one of the pricier Italian aphrodisiac foods but will add a wonderful aroma and taste to any meal.

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7) Tropea Onions

Who would have thought it? The world famous red onions from the beautiful Calabrian seaside town of Tropea have aphrodisiac qualities! So much so that during the time of the Greeks priests were banned from eating them! Try them in our tasty Tropea onion jam.

8) Coffee

Coffee excites not just the body, but also the mind and can elevate mood. In scientific studies, it has been revealed that coffee can increase levels of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with the pleasure system of the brain. Of course it has to be ground coffee and naturally if it’s Italian it’s even better!

9) Liquorice

For thousands of years, Eastern and Western cultures have turned to liquorice when libido is lacking. Liquorice is the root of glycyrrhiza glabra from which a sweet flavouring can be extracted. Research has revealed that the smell itself is particularly stimulating. Our liquorice is organic and comes in many shapes and sizes! For something a little different try our delicious organic liquorice powder in a risotto or a dessert.

10) Almonds

These nuts are an ancient symbol of fertility, have a delicious aroma which arouses passion in females and contain essential amino acids, known to increase desire. Luckily our Modican dark chocolate bar is packed full of  fragrant Avola almonds from Sicily. This unique crumbly chocolate bar is wonderful by itself and heavenly when melted into a rich hot chocolate.

Why not plan that special romantic meal with some of these delicious Italian aphrodisiac foods and let us know if  they hit the spot?!