A&K’s Top Tastes of Love

Saturday, 6 February 2010 | Tags: , ,

Food and libations are often a big part of Valentine's Day celebrations. Here are some tasty shopping tips to help create a flavour-filled day for your King or Queen of Hearts.

The Passionate Kitchen

Infuse some homemade goodness into your special celebration by adding new recipes to your cooking repertoire:

Add some spice with recipes from Mangoes & Curry Leaves and take your senses on a flavourful adventure as you explore the lush cuisine and culinary customs of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, and India. 

Consult Cook With Jamie for some sure-fire new favourites, including a wide range of delectable fish and seafood dishes, plus a world of salads, magical pastas, celebratory veggies, and delicious desserts.

Hone your skills with the Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, infused with centuries of tradition and authenticity fueled by an infinite passion for flavour and spirit.

 If you’ve mastered the essentials and are looking for some innovation with classic Italian flair, check out A16 Food + Wine. A gorgeous book (and a phenomenal restaurant in San Francisco), this cookbook will get you in the mood for a rustic yet passion-filled evening savouring the fruits and flavours inspired by the old country. Who says pizza night can’t be romantic?

Reaching the heart via the stomach is easy with some down home southern cooking from Bon Appetit, Y’all. Forget the knife and fork and just dig right into this finger-licking comfort food. 

No partner? No problem! Show yourself some love with some savoury meals and delectable treats from The Pleasures of Cooking for One.

If a family-friendly night is on the agenda, there’s still room for sharing passion — for food and flavour. Two of our favourite  cookbooks celebrate getting together with family for good food and company. Both Gordon Ramsay’s Family Fare and Gwyneth Paltrow’s My Father’s Daughter will warm hearts and fill bellies at the family table on Valentine’s Day.

For even more ideas, check out our cookbook reviews from season 1, season 2, and season 3 of Anna & Kristina’s Grocery Bag.

A Dash of Aphrodisiac

When indulging in sweet or savoury treats, always choose quality over quantity. Here are some tips to know about buying these common aphrodisiac ingredients:


  • Good quality chocolate is actually good for you! We prefer dark chocolate with a high percentage (55-70%) of cocoa solids.

  • Of course, think moderation. A recent study found that 2 ounces a week (yes, a week – as if we could stick to just that!) provides anti-oxidants aplenty.

  • Look for an even colour, a smooth texture, and a sweet, chocolaty aroma with hints of vanilla and caramel.

  • When solid, good chocolate should break with a crisp snap. When melted, it should have a buttery, creamy texture.

  • More on what we learned about chocolate and boxed chocolates.


  • Oysters can be eaten raw or cooked. If eaten raw, they must be the freshest possible, and still in the shell.

  • Fresh oysters will have a tightly closed shell, a solid sound when you knock two together (if it sounds hollow, one or both are dead), and should be kept in cool salt water or on ice.

  • Oysters come from around the world, and each type has a distinct flavour.

  • Read more tips on buying oysters.


  • If enjoyed with a meal, wine can alter the way your food tastes. Be sure to match the type of wine with the main dinner dish to help enhance the flavours of both.

  • For red wine, cabernet sauvignons and merlots are good with simply-prepared red meats, pinot noirs go well with salmon, chicken and ham, and shiraz is good with peppered meats, bbq, stews and sausage.

  • White wines go best with lighter dishes. For example, chardonnay does well with simple seafood and poultry dishes, sauvignon blanc is good for seafood, poultry, pesto pasta and caesar salads, Rieslings are great for cheese and chocolate courses, and Gewurztraminer wines suit poultry, ham, and Asian dishes.

  • All that said, drink what you enjoy! The guidelines above are meant to get you started on your way to discovering your own favourite wines and pairings.

  • Learn more about red wine and white wine.


  • Honey has been used in medicine for centuries, including as a cure for sterility and impotence.

  • There are many forms of honey available: comb, liquid (which is easiest to cook, and play, with), granulated or creamed, and chunk honey.

  • The colour of honey hints at the flavour: light honey is mild and gentle, dark honey is strong with a robust aftertaste, and amber honey is somewhere in the middle.

  • Honey is like wine: the aroma gives an indication of taste. If you like how it smells, you’ll probably like how it tastes.

  • More information about this sticky-sweet treat.

Super foods

  • Pump up your energy level by eating a healthy diet rich in superfoods like berries and fruit, vegetables, seeds, spices, salmon, eggs, nuts, and green tea. And don’t forget the dark chocolate!

  • Super foods contain phytochemicals, which are disease-preventing compounds rich in beneficial nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fibre.

  • Super foods feed your body, which means you’ll feel better overall, and have more energy when it comes to expressing your love. Always remember, love yourself first by treating your body and mind right!

  • Read more about super foods and find out which ones you should be including in your diet.


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