Create your honeymoon menu with tips from master of gastronomy Amy Reiley

So the wedding went well. You said your “I dos,” danced the Funky Chicken with Grandma and Grandpa and bid farewell to all your supportive, and perhaps somewhat intoxicated, friends and relatives. And now it’s just you and your partner and that magic moment.

Whether it’s the start of your romantic honeymoon in Aruba or your wedding night at the Holiday Inn, even if you’ve consummated your relationship a hundred times over, this moment requires a bit more celebration. With a hint of spice and a dash of advice from sensual food expert Amy Reiley, author of Fork Me, Spoon Me: The sensual cookbook, among others, and the editorial director of, you’ll have all the necessary ingredients to treat yourselves to an exciting, stimulating post-wedding dessert.

set-the-mood-with-food-fork-me-spoon-meAlthough no historical or scientific research has addressed the concept of any aphrodisiacs that are more effective for two male partners or two female, Reiley believes a number of foods may work better for same-sex couples. Nuts, because of their high level of testosterone, would make a good honeymoon snack for men, while plant products that are high in estrogen, like soy, fennel and celery, work better for women.

And guys, if you enjoy love fresh, juicy watermelon, you’re in luck. “Watermelon has a phytonutrient that relaxes blood vessels in the same manner as Viagra,” Reiley explains. Who knew?

But while those light snacks may serve as a good starting point, if you really want to seduce your partner, Reiley suggests using foods with scents known to arouse the different sexes. Drawing on the studies of Dr. Alan Hirsch, Reiley says men respond sexually to a combination of pumpkin pie spice and lavender scent. “Other studies have shown that vanilla, glazed donuts and musky, red wines are also good,” the expert adds.

For ladies, on the other hand, a black licorice and cucumber combo is the most stimulating aroma. “There is also a lot of information that truffles, soft, ripe cheeses like a super-ripe brie and blanc de blanc Champagnes are fantastic for women.”

But setting gender discrepancies aside, Reiley also lists several light, simple dishes that can fire up any passionate pair of newlyweds. “Caviar atop a soft baby potato with a dot of crème fresh is a really sexy morsel,” she says. “Oysters in the raw are also extremely sensual.”

Haven’t reached a foodgasm yet? You could always whip out the blindfolds and any beloved bedroom props, and make a game out of your aphrodisiac entrée. “Try steamed artichokes dipped in honey and just let your night evolve,” Reiley suggests playfully. And don’t forget to make the most out of your honeymoon destination’s most exotic cuisine, such as Thai dragon fruit, Japanese uni or Caribbean conch, as Reiley recommends.

“Sharing a new experience with someone can be very sexy,” she says. So get comfy, close your eyes and open wide—and feel free to take that any way you please.

If you’ve got a kitchen and the proper tools at your disposal, try cooking together, using the following titillating recipes, plus some sweet and sexy cocktails:

Four appetizers to wet your partner’s palate

Figs in a Blanket (from Fork Me, Spoon Me: The sensual cookbook)


Sadly, the research leads us to no conclusions on the aphrodisiac effects of prosciutto, or of pork in general. But as legends go, the succulent meat of every variety—from boar to sow—is intertwined with the lore of seduction. The great temptress Cleopatra was known to have a pig roasting for Anthony at every hour of the day and night. What man doesn’t want pork on return from a long trip?

Green Kadota figs are excellent for this recipe because they have thick skins and are easier to grill than some fig varieties. But any ripe summer fig works in my book.

4 fresh figs, halved*
8 thin strips prosciutto


Coat grill rack with oil, and heat to a medium temperature. Envelope each of the 8 fig halves in prosciutto meat.  Drop the fig parcels on the hot grill, and cook for 5 minutes. Flip parcels halfway through. Serve warm as finger food. In winter, cook figs under the oven broiler to save yourself from shriveling in the snow.

Peach Lover’s Summer Gazpacho (from Fork Me, Spoon Me: The sensual cookbook)


Fruit soup, popular in Scandinavia but relatively uncommon in North America, is a flavor that sends shock waves from the tongue to the brain. Because we’re not used to seeing something that looks like soup but tastes sweet, the first sip always jolts the senses and immediately brings the palate and mind to a heightened state of awareness.

2 cups peaches, peeled and diced
1 cup honeydew, diced
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh basil, coarsely chopped
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon crumbled chevre (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced


In a blender, combine the peaches, honeydew, orange juice, 1 tablespoon basil and a couple pinches of salt. Blend to a smooth cream.

Pour cold soup into wine glasses, and garnish with your cheese and remaining basil.

Serve cold or at room temperature.


set-the-mood-with-food-love-diet-coverSizzling Lemongrass Mussels (from The Love Diet)

Serves 2

Mussels rock! Easy to cook, high in protein and impressive in presentation, mussels are also a super-food for the bedroom. (One recent study discovered that an amino acid in mussels directly raised sexual hormone levels.) You are going to love this dish for all those reasons, not to mention the huge impact of flavors you’ll develop without even breaking a sweat. (No, really—this dish takes about 10 minutes, start-to-finish.)

1 pound mussels
2 lemongrass stalks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon sriracha (hot chili sauce)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped


Rinse the mussels well in cold water, discarding any that won’t snap shut when handled. If the mussels have not been de-bearded, remove the patch of seaweed, or “beard,” sticking out from between the two shells.

Cut the lemongrass stalks on the diagonal into 2-3 inch lengths. Using the back of a heavy kitchen knife, lightly crush the lengths of lemongrass to release the flavors.

In a nonstick sauté pan or wok, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.

Sauté the shallots in the oil until edges brown, about 1 minute. Add lemongrass and toss until heated through, about another minute. Add the wine, chicken stock, sriracha and fish sauce (but don’t smell the fish sauce—just trust us on that). Bring liquid to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Add the mussels, reducing heat slightly, cover and cook until all the mussels are open, about 4-5 minutes. (They may open sooner.) Remove from heat immediately, and toss in cilantro.


Steamed Artichokes with Honey (from The Love Diet)

Serves 2

Steamed artichokes are typically served with a creamy, calorie-laden dip. But you don’t need all that fat. In fact, dips usually mask the artichoke’s true flavor. So instead, we pair our artichokes with just a touch of honey, which simply augments their herbal flavors with an all-natural sweetness.

2 artichokes
2-3 tablespoons honey


Fill a stock pot with approximately 1 inch of water. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil, then turn the temperature down to low, keeping the pot covered. Clean artichokes and cut the tops off so that if you turn them upside down, they will sit flat. Trim—but don’t cut off—the stem. (Many people cut the stem off, but this is one of the meatiest parts of the artichoke.) Then trim off any sharp points on the ends of leaves.

Put the artichokes in the pot, stems facing up, so they sit flat, and steam for 20-30 minutes, until the leaves pull of easily. If the water runs low, add a small, additional amount.* Transfer artichokes to a serving plate and serve with the honey for dipping.

*If you’re in a rush, you can more quickly steam the artichokes in the microwave. Just be prepared for the outer leaves to discolor.


A wedding night turn-on toast

Rosewater-scented Champagne (from The Love Diet)

Serves 2

This is one of our simplest tricks for delivering a complex cocktail. Sparkling wine is already layered with interesting attributes from its icy chill to its effervescence and bright array of flavors. By adding just a trace of rosewater, you’re emphasizing the Champagne’s aphrodisiac attributes while allowing the wine’s natural flavors to still shine.

2-4 drops rosewater
10 ounces Champagne or sparkling wine


Place 1-2 drops rosewater into each of 2 Champagne flutes. (For added ease, use an eye dropper.) Top each with 5 ounces Champagne or sparkling wine. Toast. Drink.

Hot Chocolate Martini (from The Love Diet)

Serves 2

We decided to see what would happen if we took the sophistication of a martini, the comfort of a childhood favorite like hot chocolate and swirled it all together. We’re pretty sweet on the results and with the addition of the cocoa rim, the presentation is a big hit with our friends.


Cocoa powder for the rim
1 cup hot soymilk (or regular milk)
1 tablespoon dark chocolate, grated
1 ounce vanilla vodka
2 ounces chocolate vodka


Put a small amount of cocoa powder on a plate or saucer. Wet the rim of two martini glasses with soymilk. Roll the rim in the cocoa to make an even coating around the whole rim.

Add dark chocolate to the hot soymilk, stirring until melted. (You can use any candy-counter chocolate, but we recommend choosing a bar with a high percentage of cocoa, 65 percent or 70 percent is good, for a really rich, chocolate flavor.)

Stir in vanilla and chocolate vodkas. Pour into 2 martini glasses. Serve immediately.

To learn more irresistible recipes and continue pleasuring your partner long after the honeymoon’s ended, sign up for Reiley’s newsletter, which highlights a new aphrodisiac each month, by visiting or