Romance: for most of us, the word conjures up images of couples walking arm-in-arm down the street, so completely oblivious of anything but one another, that the rest of the world might not even exist. We think of sappy romantic comedies and roses and boxes of chocolates covered in little pink hearts. We think of candlelit dinners and diamond rings.
But how did a word that originally referred to heroic stories and ballads -- great romantic adventures of people who grabbed life by the horns and experienced fantastic things -- come to be associated with liaisons of the heart? Perhaps it is that love and adventure seem to awaken the same things within us.
Both, after all, can engender a sense of well-being and euphoria, as though anything might be possible. Both can awaken the senses and ground us in the present moment. Both can make us fall in love with our own lives. And isn't that lust for life what romance is really all about?
It makes a great deal of sense, then, that many of the herbs and foods we think of as aphrodisiacs -- those great gateways to romantic urges and feelings -- are those that make us feel more vital and fully alive. From chocolate to ginseng, they enhance feel-good endorphins in our brains while bolstering our bodies against the negative impacts of stress: perfect companions to heroic adventures or passionate love affairs. Such romantic aids are just the sort of thing we might need, say, in the middle of the month of February, when our zest for life and sense of romance and adventure are probably at their all-time low. Here's the perfect recipe to awaken the romantic in us all; a creamy and chocolatey shake rippled with sumptuous scarlet cherries. With a generous helping of maca, a South American root that boosts vitality, stamina, and libido -- as well as a pinch of stimulating cardamom -- it is just the thing for a cold February evening. By the time you reach the bottom of the glass, you'll be ready for an adventure or a passionate encounter or possibly both.
Chocolate, Cherry and Cardamom Shake
Adapted from a recipe in The Green Kitchen Stories. Serves 2. Ingredients:
- 20 sweet cherries, thawed if frozen
- 2 frozen bananas, cut into chunks
- 4 pitted dates
- 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons maca powder
- 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup almond milk
- pinch of salt
Instructions: Divide the cherries between two glasses. Use the end of a rolling pin or a pestle to slightly mash the cherries in the bottom of each glass. In a blender, add the remaining ingredients and blend on high until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Pour the chocolate mixture over the cherries and serve with a straw and a spoon so you can scoop out the cherries at the end.
Writer Danielle Charles Davies has a BSc in Herbal Science from Bastyr University and in addition completed two years of clinical training at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism. She has a Masters Degree in Writing and has written for the the American Herbalists Guild and has also served as a food columnist. Her musings, and recipes, can be found at her blog, Teacup Chronicles.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.