6 Ways to Spice Up your Valentine’s Day!

Ahh Valentine’s Day, when restaurants become crammed with starry-eyed couples sharing chilled wine and platters of tiny, quaint foods.

A romantic dinner at home suddenly seems like a better option…

And if you’re looking to spice things up, we have just the solution. Maybe you’re planning a first date and you desperately want to impress the guy, or you’ve been in a relationship for what’s beginning to feel like centuries and it’s lacking that certain je ne sais quoi.

Well then. Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to crank things up.

Dinner2A romantic home-cooked dinner means you can manipulate the mood, show off your flair for cooking and make sure the lighting is complementary… Candles, oysters, fishnet stockings and Marvin Gaye spring to mind, but of course those are just clichés. We have some special, less obvious mood-enhancers in mind –

Spices.

Yes, spices. Because, believe it or not, they are understated mood-setters, with the ability to stimulate your state of mind, subtly influencing how you feel and behave. So, for those of you wanting to turn up the heat this Valentine’s Day, we’ve concocted some spicy menu ideas to help set the mood and ensure your evening flows with a touch of passion and sensuality.

The Icebreaker…

star_aniseStar Anise is perfect for a first date or the beginning of a date when nerves are rattled and there’s a chill in the air. This pretty star-shaped spice has a strong, licorice flavour and scent known to relieve tension. Start the evening off with an elegant cocktail infused with star anise and feel yourself and your date slip into a more relaxed temper.

Our recommendation? Star anise and cinnamon cocktail

(Extra tip: Keep a bowl of star anise pods on the table and let their scent waft around the room.)

H’orderves…

Encourage a light and happy vibe with cardamom because it’s known to possess anti-depressant properties. Subtly burn some cardamom-fragranced essential oil in the background while serving our recommended entrée:

Butternut squash and onion bhajis

For the main…

As the evening rolls on, fire things up with some hot and smokin’ cayenne pepper. This zesty spice gets its kick from capsaicin, which is proven to improve blood flow and increase body temperature. So if you’re really serious about turning up the heat, sprinkle more than a dash of cayenne pepper to your mains. Steady!

Our recommendation? Sweet potato & black bean quinoa chili

Sweets…

churrosOf course, it could only be cinnamon. Not only is this spice perfect for deserts because of its sweetness; it’s an effective deterrent for bad breath. Proven to kill off odor-causing bacteria, this warm and nurturing spice could be just what you need after all those onion bhajis!

Our suggestion? Cinnamon sugar churros with bittersweet chocolate sauce – Mmmm! 

A nightcap…

Ginseng and saffron are natural aphrodisiacs proven to improve sex drive. So, why not steer things towards the bedroom as dinner draws to a close and serve these tantalising little spices in some hot tea?

Our recommendation? Ginseng & Saffron tea 

Bonne nuit…

Valentine’s day doesn’t always happen according to plan. Emotions can lead to arguments. Nerves can stifle conversation. Sometimes, the vibe and atmosphere is plain flat – even Marvin Gaye may not be able to solve that problem. But if you have a crack at our Spicy Valentine’s Day Menu, the natural affects of these special spices may keep the atmosphere relaxed, add some sizzle between you and your date and steer the evening towards a more intimate closure.

ValentinesSquareLast but not least, why not give your partner an intimate Valentine’s Day gift because we’ve scrolled every corner of our virtual planet to create a special list of Valentine’s gift ideas – the final touch to spice up your date.