If an apple a day keeps the doctors away, “50 oysters a day will sway lovers your way.” Or so the legend of Casanova would have us believe. Casanova is known to feast on 50 oysters a day for breakfast and claims to have seduced at least 122 women. His memoirs offer up serving suggestions for seduction, but I make no representation if they work or not.
Casanova was a misogynist and not worthy of imitation. So phooey to any scientific proof or urban legend about the power of the oyster as an aphrodisiac. Just accept that some think these slimy, salty, sea creatures can enhance your romantic opportunities. And forget about all that twaddle there is something sexy about sucking on a raw, slippery mollusk. The only way to “enjoy” these things is to drown them in lemon juice, smother them in a vinegar-based mignonette, cover them with a tasty granita, and/or pair them with sparkling wine.
This Valentine’s Day seduce your partner with a little Casanova-esque dinner. You can shuck your oysters at home with not too much effort, or you can purchase them at Whole Foods already shucked and placed on a bed of ice. Make a simple lemon-thyme-basil granita the day before to add a little sensual sweet-sour flavor to the briny oysters. And you can enhance your senses in a most positive way by quaffing copious quantities of a sparkling wine. Or you can do some or all of the foregoing, which is usually my choice.
If you go the quaffing route, pair these oysters with a 2012 Balletto Brut Rose Methode Traditionnelle from the Russian River Valley. The pale blush color of the Balletto will bring a rosy glow to your face as you delight in the delicate bubbles that are soft and light on the palate. Floral notes of rose, cherry, and strawberry will tempt your senses. This wine is terrific, sensuous, and versatile and will put you in the mood for romance with or without the oysters!
In the name of research, science, and literature, try a classic aphrodisiac pairing of oysters and sparkling wine and see if this might be your best Valentine’s Day ever.