Love Grows Cold Without Food or Wine
Terence

Love is an intense emotion which we express through a variety of actions such as intimacy, romantics gestures and simply saying ‘I Love You’. For many people, it is important to hear these three loaded words. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we start to look for inspiration to express our love to those close to us; family, friends and lovers.

One undying partnership is the entanglement of food and love. Although any food can give us joy if we enjoy eating it, some foods are believed to ignite certain reactions in our nervous system either triggering ‘good feelings’ through hormones such as serotonin or aphrodisiac qualities. Sharing food and drink with ones who you love is guaranteed to evoke these feelings within you.

Certain local foods we have included in this article are associated with love in its 4 different forms:

  • Eros – which signifies romantic or sexual love.
  • Storge – which signifies companionship.
  • Agape – which signifies unconditional, familial love.
  • Philia – which signifies the love within our friendships.
baby and parent hands
Our first interaction with love is through our first feed as a baby.

These types of love come from Ancient Greek words for love and are stated in the bible as loving actions we should undertake in our lives[1].

Food For Love

Food is sustenance, but since our first moments of life, food is also a symbol of love and nurturing. Studies show that offering food to others reap positive benefits, including boosting interpersonal skills, to the recipients as well as the providers[2].

Our relationship with food can create a diverse range of feelings. It can be used to self-soothe, it can also fill us with disgust but there are also times of reward and satiety when we eat foods we love. More often than not, consuming foods with others alleviates negative symptoms associated with food.

Love Local Food

Oyster: A Kiss from the Sea

Oysters are well-known for their aphrodisiac qualities. This seafood is rich in minerals such as zinc which is believed to enhance libido and sexual potency, especially in men. Try Lindisfarne Oysters if you’re planning a romantic meal for two.

Casanova's favourite: the sensual oyster
Casanova’s favourite: the sensual oyster

You’re my Lobster

Lobsters are believed to mate for life alluding to the notion of soul mates and perhaps because of this, lobster is one of the most romantic dinners to enjoy with loved ones. Like oysters, lobsters boost serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, those good feeling chemicals, and is also rich in zinc. Source lobsters from Ross Dougal Fish Merchants before the big day for a delicious romantic supper.

Food for soul mates? A lobster pair.
Food for soul mates? A lobster pair.

Chocolate Passion

Chocolate, always a popular gift to give those we love, contains tryptophan which can promote serotonin, the feel-good hormone, and phenylethylamine which could be responsible for those gushy feelings we associate with a new love. Chocolate is enjoyed by all ages and is a suitable love-filled gift for anyone you love in your life.

Make the one you love feel special by surprisingly them with a beautiful box of artisan chocolates created by French chocolatier Olivier Nicod at Cocoa Ecosse in Kelso.

Chocolate art
Chocolates by Cocoa Ecosse

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt
Charles M. Schultz

Coffee with Heart

Coffee, like love, gives feelings of comfort, warmth and energy. A coffee gift, which gives more than just a coffee boost, could be the perfect gift to bestow upon your coffee-loving amour. Coffee & Kin, based in Alnwick, set up a foundation which reinvests in the communities from where they source their coffee. Their motto Brew Good. Do Good. Feel Good promotes loving feelings towards each other. Additionally, Coffee & Kin aims to use sustainable, environmentally-friendly packaging. Perfect for those who love Mother Nature.

An example of coffee and kin's products
Eco-friendly coffee by Coffee & Kin

Coffee and love taste best when hot.
Ethopian Proverb

Make and Steak

Steak, like lobster, is also a favourite main course to enjoy during our Valentine’s Day celebrations. Beef is a protein-rich food, being full of many vitamins and minerals which could boost our energy levels, as well as reigniting our primal instincts.

Steak selection
Feeling carnal? Try steak from organic farm Peelham Farm

Try some grass-fed, organic fillet steak from Peelham Farm for an extra special treat.

Bee Mine

Anything sweet is perfect for Valentine’s Day. If you’re loving for something special and romantic, serve mead with your main meal. Mead, or honey wine, has a long history associated with love. Mead was often given to newly-weds to establish a long and happy marriage.

A selection of sparkling mead
Try Northumberland Honey Co’s sparkling mead for your love-filled celebrations

Mead can be enjoyed with any part of the meal, but try Lindisfarne Mead‘s Dark Mead, made with heather honey by Chain Bridge Honey Farm, with your love-filled dessert. Alternatively, if you like the bubbles, try sparkling mead from Northumberland Honey Co to enjoy with your light starters or with lobster.

Life is the flower for which love is the honey
Victor Hugo

Forbidden Fruit

The ordinary apple, which we routinely eat throughout autumn and winter, has a history concerning love. Dating back to Greek mythology, Hippomenes fell in love with Atalanta. Atalanta refused, saying she’d only marry a man who could beat her in a race. Hippomenes asked Aphrodite for help. She gave Hippomenes 3 apples to drop during the race. During the race, Atalanta was distracted by the apples and stopped to pick them up, thus Hippomenes won and they were married[3].

One Greek tradition suggested that the bride ate an apple on her wedding night to ensure fertility and a productive wedding night. In the Bible, the apple is regarded as a fruit of forbidden pleasures including lust. In Pagan beliefs, the apple is said to represent fertility[3].

Feel the love with locally made apple juice
Feel the love with locally made apple juice

Organic apples are grown by G & S Organics and Hexhamshire Organics. These can be found in your fruit and veg box subscriptions. Alternatively, share a bottle of apple juice made by Laprig Valley.

Nuts about You

Nuts, eaten in small quantities, are a great way to keep your heart healthy. Consuming nuts too can help improve our skin and hair quality, especially important if you want to look your best for Valentine’s Day.

Nuts are a fantastic way to improve male fertility. Furthermore, peanuts are said to promote sexual desire as a result of compounds found within the nut.

Spreading peanut butter on rice cake
Nuts could help you get in the mood for Valentine’s fun

Enjoy nuts by spreading the love with almond or peanut butter made by The Nut Roaster.

Herb of Love

One of the world’s most popular herbs is basil. Basil, although native to India, is especially important in Mediterranean cooking. For the Romans, this herb was associated with the goddess Venus.

According to Hinduism and Eastern European Orthodox communities, basil is well known for its purifying properties for the body and soul[4]. Sprigs of basil, in olden times, were symbols of courting between young lovers.

Find basil in your local greengrocers or grow your own.

potted basil
Sweet-scented basil is the perfect herb to freshen up your lovey-dovey feelings.

Ocimum (basil) exists only to drive men insane
Chrysippus

Spread The Love With Food

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.
George Bernard Shaw

Use food to get you in the mood for Valentine’s Day. Show your love to not only those close to you but also to your local community by buying local produce and shopping locally.

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References
  1. Types of Love
  2. Food for love: the role of food offering in empathic emotion regulation
  3. Apple: Symbol of Love
  4. Basil