By Lisa Bevan

Thinking about changing it up and staying in for a romantic dinner this year with your sweetheart. It is a great alternative to the crowds and it is a chance to showcase your creativity. Building a great menu is as easy as one, two, three. Just use this handy guide to foods with an aphrodisiac edge and you will likely not only impress your sweetheart – but also create a truly memorable evening.

Asparagus in the 19th century was always served to bridegrooms, often as part of three courses. It was widely held to be an aphrodisiac and was certain to increase desire in men. So for your dinner party, consider serving it steamed as a vegetable side dish, creamed in a soup as a starter or perhaps bacon wrapped as a nifty appetizer.

Oysters are also widely held to be an aphrodisiac. In the wild oysters have the curious ability to shift between being male and female and this unique ability is said to make them a powerful aphrodisiac by stimulating interest on the part of the eater in the opposite gender. Oysters would make a terrific starter course or could be added to stuffing.

In ancient Greece, figs were celebrated for powers in matters of love. Figs are a seasonal fruit and were often linked to fertility. Figs would work well as a starter course, stuffed with a savory cheese or in a salad. Figs would even work in a sauce for the main course.

Truffles are also another commonly known aphrodisiac. They are thought to arouse the palette as well as the body, mainly for their rarity and musky aroma. Truffles would work in a main dish, or truffle oil could be used in the main dish or in a salad.

Bananas are also thought to have powers in the arena of love, not only for their shape, but also their lush creamy texture and tropical origin. Modern science has also found that certain anti-oxidants found in bananas also stimulate the brain and aid in attraction. Banana can make for a very satisfying dessert course, especially when paired with the last item on this list.

Not to be forgotten one of the most popular and widely celebrated aphrodisiacs around – the mainstay of Valentines Day – chocolate. Chocolate contains a sedative, which lowers inhibitions and a stimulant, which increases a persons desire for physical contact. Chocolate is understandably a must for any Valentines meal. It is an easy addition to the menu and can take on many forms.

So follow this simple guide, while planning your stay at home meal, and you will have the prefect recipe for romance.

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