Most holidays are associated with traditional foods and Valentine’s Day is no exception. While images of chocolate hearts come to mind, there are in fact many traditional foods used to celebrate the holiday of love. History books, dating as far back as the Roman Empire, are scattered with claims of certain foods capable of stimulating feelings of love and romance. Check out a few of these Valentine foodie traditions below; chocoholics take note, your favorite sweet treat still made the list!
Strawberries- Probably a close runner up to chocolate, strawberries are one of the more modern foods associated with this special day. Not only are they red and heart-shaped, but they are the symbol of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.
Oysters- This fascinating sea creature is a common delicacy and often referred to as an aphrodisiac. Consumed for centuries, oysters have the rare ability to change their sex from male to female and back again. Legend has it, when one eats an oyster they are able to experience the masculine and feminine sides of love.
Caviar- While adding this to your Valentines Day menu may put a dent in your wallet, caviar has long since been a romantic food known to have been eaten often by Casanova himself. These fancy fish eggs nourish and strengthen nerve cells, stimulating feelings of romance.
Asparagus – In 19th century France, three courses of asparagus were served to men before and after their wedding. The theory was high consumption of this veggie would make them more attractive to their new spouse. Today, asparagus is often the chosen vegetable for special Valentine’s Day menus.
Chocolate- Popularized during the Victorian era, chocolate was often exchanged as a romantic gift. In the mid-1800s a chocolatier began putting his chocolates in a heart-shaped box and the association between chocolate and Valentines Day was born.
Ashley Russo is a first year graduate student at Syracuse University working on a master’s degree in nutrition science and dietetics. She plans to become a registered dietitian specializing in oncology nutrition.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Goodman, FBM