Corporate nonsense or genuinely a special time of year? Whatever your opinions on Valentine’s Day, it remains one of the perennials of seasonal marketing. According to Mintel, year-on-year Valentine’s spending hit a staggering £620 million in 2017! So, like it or lump it, this enamoured season is a welcome lapse in the grey days and long nights that haunt January and February.
But, how can you celebrate Valentine’s Day without succumbing to its many marketing ploys? The answer to that? It’s not with cards, flowers and balloons (I hate them), it’s with food. A survey recently conducted by HelloFresh found that the majority of people consider cooking a meal for their partner on Valentine’s Day and snub the overpopulated restaurants riddled with PDA and garish decorations! Nights in with the person you care about are the perfect way to enjoy Valentine’s Day, without falling victim to its overpriced whims. So,you’ve settled on a night in, but what to eat? That’s where the aphrodisiacs come in.
Aphrodisiacs are a bit of a minefield; populated by hearsay, uncomfortable anecdotes and way too many oysters. Fruits such as pomegranate a.k.a ‘the love apple’ and bananas pack a punch that ought to get you feeling the love. But what interests me most about aphrodisiacs is that, realistically, these aren’t foods we associate with love, romance or intimacy.
In fact, the ‘real’ dishes that couples are plating up are a lot more appetising than asparagus and oysters. According to a recent study, cooking your partner steak and chips is a quick ticket to a lustful evening. This is closely followed by chocolate, a roast dinner and a spicy curry. So if you want to get your partner in the mood, cancel the restaurant reservations, throw away the snails and order a Chicken Bhuna. Anyone else hungry all of a sudden?
Bizarrely heralded as one of the most effective aphrodisiacs, snails are a categorical no-no. As are beans and garlic bread, which I’m sure is a devastating reality for a lot us. However, what prevails in this study is that Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be littered with cheap cards and clichés, instead, making a meal supersedes all else. As 45% of respondents believe cooking a meal shows their partners have gone to more effort, and 23% prefer their partner to cook as it makes it easier for them to get intimate.
So, ‘the real aphrodisiac?’ I hear you cry! It’s effort. Relationships are no easy feat, they come with plenty of conflict, compromise and complacency. Remember, relationships are all about showing you care and even when you mess up (as I often do with dinner), no partner in the world won’t appreciate the effort you’ve gone to. A little trouble, big rewards.
Happy Valentine’s Day!