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Published on February 5th, 2008 | by Stephanie Evans

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Valentine Menus: Food for Thoughts of Love

Food has long been a sensual experience, one that unites people from all cultures all around the world. Preparing meals and enjoying meals together is an expression of love and affection in many households.

Set the table this Valentine’s Day with foods that send the same kind of message to your loved ones, whether they are friends, family members, or significant others.

Treat Your Sweet to a Sustainable Valentine's Meal

Here are some ideas to jumpstart your culinary creations for:

Vegetarian and Vegan Delights

Fortunately for vegetarians and vegans, certain vegetables have been held sacred for their romantic powers for centuries. These vegetables, organically grown, can make up an impressive entrée or series of small appetizers, and all of them are delicious in salads.

Try your creative culinary capability with delicious recipes that
incorporate these ingredients… Don’t forget to buy organic, locally
grown produce for a fresh and authentic flavor.

Asparagus and radishes have been celebrated as aphrodisiacs throughout history, and celery is a symbol of love immortalized on frescoes found in the ruins of Pompeii, an Italian city that existed nearly 2,000 years ago.

Anything with figs as an ingredient is sure to summon sexy thoughts: ancient farmers celebrated successful crops of figs with rituals involving what some might consider “indecent” behaviors (and what others might think of as fabulously exciting and natural).

Basil is an herb that has been sacred to Hindus for ages, and in 16th century Europe, it was used as a remedy against heartache. Basil is also a symbol of love in Italy.

One caveat for vegetarians and vegans who enjoy making meals with tofu and other soy products: you may want to hold off on the protein for Valentine’s Day, as it is known to cool off passionate energies. Some say this is exactly why so many Buddhist monks practically live on the stuff!

Omnivorous Offerings

Omnivores can certainly enjoy the delights of the veggie recipes above and can also look Eastward for an exotic alternative to a formal dinner. Create a meal with Chinese specialties known as dim sum, a most suitable approach for Valentine’s Day as the phrase dim sum means “pointing to your heart’s desires” in Cantonese. (Another translation of the phrase is “dot on the heart”).

Delicacies like pork and shrimp dumplings, spring rolls and egg rolls, thin pieces of meat barbecued with a special sauce, panfried noodles, and fried rice will certainly encourage your honoree to look more closely at your heart’s desires. See the recipes below and make sure your meat and seafood purchases match your environmentally responsible lifestyle.

Choose several selections for a small meal, and serve with tea if traditions are to be observed. A salad can complete such a light meal and keep you and your guest(s) energetic. For a comprehensive list of dim sum recipes, browse Dim Sum Cuisine or About.com’s Chinese Food recipe database.

Bold Beverages and Sweet Endings

Is your meal incomplete without a wine pairing? If you and your valentine like to indulge in wines and champagnes, look for biodynamically grown grape varieties from wineries that support and harvest only from organic vineyards. Search online at The Organic Wine Company and The Organic Wine Press.

Many California-brand apéritifs are created by biodynamic farming principles, which take organic ideals to a new level. Organic grapes are cultivated without pesticides or artificial fertilizers and absolutely no flavor or body characteristics are sacrificed. Some wine connoisseurs claim that organic and biodynamic wines are the best in the world.

And of course, Valentine’s Day is not complete without something sweet to end the meal… For recipes, click over to Traditional Gifts for Your Valentine .

  • The fair trade chocolatiers of Vosges offer chocolates flavored with spices, herbs, and salts straight from the pages of old travel journals.
  • Also look for sets of chocolates spiced up with curry and coconut or ginger and wasabi, and chocolates you can match up with various yoga principles and chakras. Organic aphrodisiac bars with almonds, cinnamon, chili peppers, and curry spices may be tempting as well.
  • Other chocolate experts like Dagoba or ArtBar—both available at Global Exchange—support organic and fair trade markets with milk and dark chocolates of their own.

Time with your loved ones is always time well-spent, but who can resist the allure of good, healthy eating? Design your own meal-to-remember this Valentine’s Day with passion, and surely the sentiments will shine through.





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