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Category: Meal Planning

List of Aphrodisiac foods

Aphrodisiac foods are foods which act on the mind and cause the arousal of the mood of sexual desire. Whether some foods are aphrodisiac may not be a proven scientific fact but our polls show that most women swear by some of them. Here’s a handy list for you to try including in your meals and recipes:

1. Oysters

2. Chocolate

3. Artichokes

4. Avocados

5. Honey

6. Asparagus

7. Strawberries

8. Caviar

9. Truffles

10. Cappuccino

11. Radishes

12. Tomatoes

13. Grapes

14. Garlic

15. Onions

16. Vanilla

17. Basil

18. Wine

19. Potatoes

20. Pine Nuts

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Planning a Romantic Valentine’s Day Meal

Even stale bread seems tasty enough when you are have your beloved to share it. But you have got to admit that even the best of traditional and modern lavish holiday dinners do not seem at all romantic when compared to chocolate dipped strawberries and oysters. Here are some tips that will help you plan an irresistibly romantic fare for your Valentine:

1. Include Aphrodisiac foods in your meals to add instant sex appeal. Use chocolate and berries in your dessert and garlic in all dishes that require sautéing. Avocados and Artichoke hearts can be used to make sides and dips. Here is a List of Aphrodisiac foods which will come handy.

2. Try to make dishes with a smooth, creamy and silken texture. For example a White Chocolate Mousse or a Strawberry Soufflé Omelet.

3. Keep the dishes light to avoid feeling lethargic after the meal.

4. Avoid any oily finger foods as you will find your oily hands a hindrance when holding hands between the meal.

5. Go for dishes that have a soft and mellow taste as opposed to strong and pungent flavors.

6. A word of caution when using chocolate. Chocolate has to be included in the dessert (except if you or your partner really do not like it) but too much of chocolate or too bitter a chocolate can cause difficulties. Choose a softer variety and keep the portions small. Let your own judgment and individual tastes guide you when using chocolate.

7. Add some easy to eat finger foods which you can feed each other.

8. This is one dinner that doesn’t need to be too lavish. What is really needed here is your own enjoyment of it. So, instead of planning an elaborate menu, choose a total of 4 or 5 dishes and ensure that you don’t get overworked.

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A Guide to Storing Wine

Wine is a natural food product which is perishable in nature. All types of wines including red, white, sparkling and fortified can get spoiled if they are exposed to light, vibration, heat or changes in temperature and humidity. You can maintain the quality and improve the flavor, complexity, and aroma when you store the wines properly.

Aging makes a wine delicious and highly qualified. Aged wine offers typical aromas and flavors. The process works only if the wine is kept in perfect condition. The aging depends mainly on how the bottle is maintained.

What is the optimal temperature required for wine storage?

High temperature and exposure to light is the principal cause of damage of the wine. The ideal temperature of wine cellar is between 7-13 degrees Celsius. The key factor is to maintain constant temperature. If all other factors are optimal, you can store your wine at much higher temperature if it is a constant temperature. Frequent temperature fluctuations will damage your wine. But up to 10 degree changes in between seasons will not harm.

Will light and humidity affect the wine?

Natural and artificial light will do a lot of damage to the wine. If your wine storage area is not a dark place like a closet, basement or under a staircase then try to cover your wines with a blanket or block that area with a curtain. Humidity is also another factor which can cause damage to the wine. The minimum humidity required for wine storage must be at least 55%. The ideal range of humidity is between 70-75%. The lack of humidity may result in the oxidation of wine.

Too much movement or vibration may affect the quality of wine. If you need to transport your wine or if it’s just been delivered from your merchant then it is important to give the wine a few days of rest. If your house is close to railway tracks or airports, then try to keep your wine in an area that is least affected.

How to prevent the oxygen from entering in to the wine bottle?

If you are storing a wine bottle for only few years, you have to consider only two factors those are darkness and constancy of temperature which is not too high. This can be achieved by storing the wine in a closet, basement or under a staircase. Ultraviolet radiation can increase the rate of deterioration to your wine. Fluctuations in temperature, particularly raise in temperature can cause the contents of the cylinder to expand, pushing against the cap. If the cork breaks the seal, oxygen which enters in to the bottle will quickly spoil the wine. If you are going to store the wine for more than a month, try to keep the bottles horizontal so that the cork remains moist.

Why do you need wine cellar?

The best way to keep the wine is to purchase a wine cellar. A wine cellar can be in the size of a small refrigerator, with enough space for 24 bottles. A large wine cellar is enough to occupy more than 2500 bottles.

If you want the wine bottles to be stored for a long-term, they should be cellared. Cellaring means storing the wine in the bottle and giving time to improve. This can be done in a cool, dry basement or any other place where the temperature and humidity can be controlled. The ideal temperature should be fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit.

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A Guide to Serving Wine

What is suitable temperature to serve wine?

The temperature at which wine is served has an immense impact on its taste and smell. Serving wine at a warmer temperature allows the wine to express its characteristics, best in the case of an older or more expensive wine.

A wine bottle in the refrigerator will cool at a rate of 2 ° C for every ten minutes, and also warm at the same rate when it is removed from the refrigerator and left at room temperature. If you want to chill a wine bottle quickly, keeping it in the freezer for 35 minutes. Another method to cool a wine bottle is to keep it in cold water.

How to open a wine bottle?

With the help of a knife try to remove the metal foil and make sure that no bits of metal foil remain on the pouring surface which can cause unwanted dribble. Most modern Corkscrews are effective but always a weak or old cork can break or disintegrate. If it seems to be difficult to open then try to push it in to the bottle and pour the wine in to a jar. If there are bits of cork in the wine, filter it by using a coffee filter. Try to be careful while opening a Champagne and Sparkling Wine as the cork can eject with a force and can cause injury. Always open these bottles with a distance from you.

Do you know how to aerate the wine?

Aeration can make young wines smoother and balanced. Most wine lovers use a decanter, a glass pitcher with a large opening. The larger surface area allows faster aeration. Swirling the wine in the glass also helps to aerate. The key for aeration is timing. A younger, tannic, intense red wine should be kept open for at least 2 hours. One hour is enough for a matured, rich, complex red wine to aerate. In the case of aged wines, do not aerate for more than a few minutes as they are very volatile.

How to pour the wine in to the glass?

Never fill the glass. You can pour the wine as the people requires. It allows the recipient to swirl the wine and enjoy the aroma. It is a common rule that white should be served before red, young before old and keep the good wine until last.

Normal wines should be decanted towards the center of the glass whereas sparkling wines should be decanted against the side of the wine glass to keep the bubbles under control. Serve the wine first to the women and elderly people then the men and finally end with your own glass.

What type of wine glasses should be used?

The type of wine glasses in which the wines are served is also important. The shape of a wine glass has a greater impact on the taste of wine, because of this reason, different varieties of wines are served in various glasses. Plain and thin glasses are the best wine glasses. It is difficult to see the wine properly in a heavy-cut glass. A tulip shaped wine glasses will be suitable. A long stemmed wine glass allows easy swirling and helps to enjoy the flavors. Holding the glass by the stem helps to minimize the variations in temperature.

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Pairing Food and Wine

Pairing food and wine is like an art. Process of matching food and wine is subjective. The old principle is to match red wine with red meat and white wine with fish. The possibilities are infinite with pairing food and wine. There is an opportunity to experiment and express one’s personality through the pairing of food and wine. Wine, enhances the flavor of food by acting on it when drunk with food.

What are the rules to be followed while pairing food and wine?

The following rules are to be followed while pairing food and wine.

• The wine should not dominate the food; the food should not overpower the wine.

• Balance the intensity of the flavor. Pair light wines with light food and rich wines with rich foods.

• Delicate wines are usually paired with delicately flavored foods.

• Opposites can be matched. Sweet desert wines are hot and you can pair with spicy food.

• Food and wines that have the same region of origin can be matched.

• The taste of food can be adjusted according to taste of wine

• Light and heavy foods can be matched with light and heavy wines respectively. Delicate meals are also paired with light wine.

• Wine should complement the food rather than dominate.

How to pair varieties of wines and food items?

The light meals, soups and salads are often paired with light white wines.

Light and fresh flavored wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre, Pouilly Fume, Bordeaux Blanc, Muscadet Sur – Lie-and Chablis, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigi, Riesling and Pinot Noir are paired with fish.

Steak and Beef are matched with wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
Lamb goes well with Rioja and Bordeaux while Ragouts and stews go well with Cetes Rhone, Zinfandel and Syrah.

Pork can go well with both white and red wine. Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, red Merlot and Chardonnay are the various types of wines preferred with pork. Wines like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Bordeaux red, Cabernets and Merlots can be paired with Poultry.

Pizza goes well with red Chianti and Valpolicella while pastas go well with Chardonnay, Pinot Grigionet, Zinfandel and Syrah. Green vegetables can be paired with white Chardonnay.

How to pair desserts?

Fruit Desserts can be best paired with Late Harvest Riesling and Try Sauternes.
Chocolate desserts pair well with Merlot while Heavy Desserts match well with a refreshing glass of Champagne.

What are the food items can be paired with white wine?

The food items that pair well with white wines like chardonnay, Rieslings, Gewόrztraminers, pinot grigio etc areas follows.

Chardonnay pairs well with chicken, fish and seafood where as Sauvignon Blanc goes well with seafood, poultry, salads and cheese. Rieslings go particularly well with, fish, chicken, pork and spicy foods while Gewurztraminers go well with spicy dishes and sausages. Pinot Grigio is best paired with salmon and seafood.

How to pair red wine with food items?

Cabernet Sauvignon is the best wine to serve along with red meats. Merlot will be best with grilled meats and poultry, but it also goes well with most of the foods.

Pinot Noir is best when served with roast beef, grilled salmon, duck, lamb and mushrooms. Sangiovese will go particularly well with Italian foods like pasta.

Tomato based dishes are perfect when served with Barbera. Venison, duck, beef and steak is great when eaten with syrah. Zinfandel is superb with grilled meats, steaks and meals made from tomato.

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