Aphrodisiac Foods


Food for thought

Whether there is real scientific proof or a mere placebo effect, aphrodisiac foods are a well-documented phenomenon. From Peruvian maca to the eminent oyster, discover where in the world you can enjoy these tantalizing treats.

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With their hair-raising heat, chillis are already associated with passion. Capsaicin—the part of the chilli that generates the spice—is known for its amorous powers. The tongue-tingling sensation raises the heart rate, improving blood flow and circulation.

Where to try it
At Hotel das Cataratas, a Belmond hotel in Iguassu Falls, the signature cocktail ‘Devil’s Throat’ uses chilli syrup to pile on the fire.

Hotel das Cataratas
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Often nicknamed ‘Peru’s natural viagra,’ maca is a vegetable that grows in the Andes. The ground root of the maca has been used for hundreds of years as a natural aphrodisiac. Many studies suggest that it improves sexual desire, as well as your general mood. It may also increase male fertility.

Where to try it
In Cusco's San Pedro market—a stone's throw from Palacio Nazerenas, a Belmond hotel in Cusco—many colorful stalls sell the maca root among their other wares.

Palacio Nazarenas
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Frequently given as a gift around Valentine’s Day, chocolate is often associated with romance. As such, its aphrodisiac qualities have long been the subject of scientific study. While cocoa increases blood flow, it also naturally contains two chemicals linked to arousal and euphoria: typtophan and phenylethylamine.

Where to try it
At Maroma, a Belmond hotel on the Riviera Maya, spa rituals harness the aphrodisiac powers of chocolate in their treatments.

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Champagne already makes people feel special, often the tipple of choice at celebrations. However, it’s not alcohol alone that helps with the giddy, feel-good sensation—nor that signature pop of the bottle. Its high levels of magnesium, potassium and zinc all help with hormone production. Some even believe that the scent mimics female pheromones.

Where to try it
Still not convinced? Why not go on a river cruise through France, stopping off at a family-run Champagne house, to test the theory yourself.

Afloat in France
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As aphrodisiac foods go, oysters are by far the most famous. Many believe this to be a mere placebo effect, though their richness in zinc may have a hand in libido-boosting. Giacomo Casanova is said to have eaten fifty per day. In his memoirs, he wrote how he would place an oyster shell on the edge of a lover’s lips before diving in for a kiss.

Where to try it
The legendary lothario would also serenade his lovers in the gardens of Cipriani, A Belmond Hotel, Venice.

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Red wine

Alcohol, generally, is a dab hand at giving you rose-tinted glasses. Studies have shown that red wine in particular has surprising benefits. The heady mix of theobromine, antioxidants and alcohol all come together to aid relaxation and blood flow to the brain.

Where to try it
At El Encanto, a Belmond hotel in Santa Barbara, a tour through the wineries of Santa Ynez Valley is sure to tantalize.

El Encanto

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