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Stir up the Senses with a Tactile Love Feast

February 7, 2009

“Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.” Craig Claiborne

Fondue is the perfect sensual food for Valentine's Day

Fondue is the perfect sensual food for Valentine's Day

“Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.” Craig Claiborne

Ahhhhh, amore. There has never been anything that has stimulated more poetry, music, food and …ah….children. We even have a holiday devoted to it. And like love itself, the roots of Valentine’s Day are complicated. For starters, St. Valentine was probably a combination of three different men named Valentine or Valentinus that became martyred saints in a variety of interesting ways. The most romantic version is that during the third century of Rome, a particularly ambitious Emperor decided that all single men made much better soldiers than those with wives and kids. So he outlawed getting hitched to these unfortunate (?) fellows. The priest Valentine defied the Emperor and continued to married these soldiers secretly. When the Emperor found out, he had our love doctor beheaded.

It gets even more complicated than that though. If you dig a bit deeper into history, Valentine’s Day actually falls close to a pagan fertility festival very popular in ancient Rome. The Lupercalia Festival was celebrated on the ides of February, the 15th and was dedicated to the agricultural God, Faunus. To the Roman’s, February was the official beginning of spring, and a time to clean and make ready for a fruitful summer. It was all the rage to get married or betrothed during this fertility focused festival. Another essential aspect of the festival was the feasting.

Ahhhh feasting, we knew I would come around to food before too long. Food is such a decadent way to celebrate this love holiday. I recommend trying something very Roman and throw out the silverware. Have a provocative, tactile feast with your love. Stir up the senses with fondues, cheeses, fruits, veggies, bread, cake, and wine. Oh and please do not forget the grapes.

Cupid’s Angel Food Cake

This cake is so delicious and has a wonderful texture that is fun to pull apart and dip into the chocolate fondue. You may substitute 2 tablespoons espresso for the powder.

1 cup unbleached flour or cake flour

1 ½ cups sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

2 tablespoons of Espresso Powder

2 Tablespoons of hot water

12 large egg whites

1 teaspoon of cream of tartar

¼ teaspoon of salt

2 teaspoons of vanilla

Turn on your favorite love music. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour, ¾ cup of the sugar, cinnamon and set it back as a spectator in this masterpiece of love. Pour the 2 tablespoons of hot water in a small bowl and add the espresso powder and stir it up till the espresso powder is dissolved. Set it in the audience with the flour mix.

Now for the fun part! Whip the egg whites with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Sprinkle in the cream of tartar on this frothy mix and keep on mixing till soft round peaks form. Next sprinkle the remaining ¾ cup of sugar, two tablespoons at a time, while the beaters are still going like newlyweds. Keep mixing till stiff peaks form. (No comment) With the blender still going, drizzle in the espresso and the vanilla and let it mix till the batter turns a warm nut brown. Turn off the blender.

Time to perform the ceremony and fold the flour mix into the egg white mixture, ¼ cup at a time till everything is married. (Now, remember to treat this batter with tender love at this point, we’ve already beat it into submission.) Spoon the batter gently into a lightly sprayed angle food cake pan. Break up (no not yet!) the air pockets that could be lurking under the surface with a knife, cutting through the batter. Bake the cake for about 50 minutes till the cake springs back when you lightly touch it. Invert the pan, on a wine bottle or something till cooled down completely. Loosen the cake up by using a knife around the perimeter of the cake pan and hopefully, fingers crossed, will come out perfectly in time for your Valentine’s Day tactile feast.

Chocolate Amore Fondue

I used Chambord in this fondue, but let your creative fire guide you to use whatever liqueur you like. Frangelico or Amaretto would be delightful substitutes.

1/3 cup of half and half

¼ cup of low fat milk

8 ounces of chopped a good dark chocolate

1 ¼ cups of powered sugar

4 tablespoons of Chambord

Cut fruits and cake

First focus on the love, then combine the first three ingredients in a medium saucepan; cook over medium-low heat mixing till all the chocolate melts and becomes a smooth operator. (about 5 minutes) Stir in the sugar and liqueur and stir with passion. Keep stirring the seductive potion till everything well blended and fragrant. When the potion is perfect, pour into a fondue pot and light the flame of love. Serve with pieces of cupid’s cake, banana, pineapple, red Anjou pear, strawberries, grapes and whatever else your wicked mind can conceive. (We tried them all!)

7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 8, 2009 3:06 am

    Ohhhh… this sounds delectable! Espresso-cinnamon angel food cake with chocolate-raspberry fondue. And me with a brand new bottle of Chambord and the love-of-my-life just waiting to be fed. 🙂

    Also, love your writing! Per your Welcome message, in some of my darkest, saddest moments, I asked my deepest Self for resolution and peace and received the imperative, “Go to the kitchen. Bake cookies.” I joke you not! Cooking is one of the great healing arts and an instrument of profound joy.

    So glad to have discovered your site. 🙂 …Susan

  2. February 9, 2009 2:15 am

    Interesting post, I didn’t know all that about Valentines lol. The cake and fondue is right up my ally. This is my first time to your blog and will be back. Very Nice!

  3. sanna permalink
    February 9, 2009 12:53 pm

    hi…i need a recipe for fondue….chocolate and cheese…made without alcohol….if possible…thanks!

    Hi Sanna
    Thanks for dropping by! I recommend taking out the Chambord and adding seedless raspberry jelly in its place. That would be very delicious, I think. Enjoy feeding each other!

  4. February 10, 2009 8:00 pm

    Hi Dana,

    Thanks so much for your comment on my blog! The sweet potato salad you made also looks fabulous!

    I’m actually a holistic nutritionist and very much into all types of alternative healing, so our philosophies would likely mesh. You mentioned that you write for a local paper. . . my cookbook, Sweet Freedom, will be coming out in May (desserts w/o wheat, eggs, dairy or cane sugar). If you’re interested, I’d love for you to review the book–just let me know if you’d like to. 🙂

    All the best,
    Ricki (Diet, Dessert and Dogs–the sweet potato truffle post!)

  5. February 28, 2009 2:04 pm

    i woulr agree… chocolate fondue rocks! another favourite for valentines: anything that can be eaten with your fingers without being too messy (And of course, no burgers). i mean seafood, for example – so sensual. wins me over any time.

  6. March 4, 2009 11:48 am

    Dana, this does indeed look delicious. Great pictures as well. Thanks for the nice comment on zesty.


  1. Creative Fondue Ideas That’ll Do You Well | Yummly

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