The Relationship Between Food and Love and Where to Celebrate Both This Valentine’s Day

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"There is no love sincerer than the love of food." ―George Bernard Shaw

For anyone who has been in love, is in love or has witnessed love, there is no disputing that there is a strong connection between food and romance. From the very beginning of a relationship, food is at the centre, playing its role in creating passion, intimacy, satisfaction and desire.

Think about the timeline of the average relationship…

  • First date – Dinner at a casual restaurant with a bottle of wine
  • Third date – A home cooked meal and a chance to show off your culinary skills
  • First time you sleep over – A slightly awkward breakfast the following day
  • Introduction to friends – Tapas and drinks at your favourite wine bar
  • Introduction to parents – Dinner at the folks’ – with your mum asking, ‘what should I cook?’
  • Introduction to the entire family – Christmas dinner
  • The moment you realise things are really serious – Dinner with both sets of parents
  • The proposal – Dinner at a fancy restaurant with champagne
  • The wedding – Frequent discussions based around caterers, cake designs, canapes, buffet or sit down

No doubt about it, food is there every step of the way. But why?

"Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate." —Alan D. Wolfelt

One theory that has been tested and studied for hundreds of years is that food is a way to show someone you care. It’s a way to tell someone you like them, that you want to take care of them, and a chance to spoil a loved one. Everyone needs food to survive, and whether cooking at home or dining in a restaurant, the joy from sharing food lends a satisfactory feeling for all parties involved. Essentially, the emotional response we get from food is as close as it gets to the emotional response we get when receiving someone’s affections.

"The people who give you their food give you their heart." —Cesar Chavez

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’, and indeed for some, food gives the chance to beat on the chest in the way a chimp would call to a mate. It’s a way to say “I have the skills to take care of your needs” and “I know how to make you happy”. A person who is financially stable can show off with frequent dinings in great restaurants and a person who knows their way around a kitchen can impress with gourmet ingredients and daring cuisines. Again like chimps, many also feel that sharing food signifies an allegiance or bond and a dinner in a restaurant is a good way to say “I think you’re special.”

For others, food gives great insight into a person, making it the perfect accompaniment for any date. It allows us to see gluttony, fussiness and the quality makings of a person early on (think snapping of fingers, bad tipping and rudeness to waiters).

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."―Virginia Woolf

And then of course there are the chemical connections. When we consider into our truest desires, food becomes a source of nourishment, empowerment and pleasure. It can be deeply fulfilling and can fuel the body to make it feel alert, alive, giddy and excited. It ignites the senses, tapping into touch, smell, sight and taste. We crave it, we long for it, we receive pleasure from it and in that precise moment, nothing else matters. Remind you of something?

Intimacy is a significant part of the human experience and something we all have a great appetite for. It makes us feel alert, alive, giddy and excited. It ignites the senses, tapping in to touch, smell, sight and taste. We crave it, we long for it, we receive pleasure from it and in that precise moment, nothing else matters. That’s right – food and intimacy cause the same chemical reaction.

When you receive pleasure from intimacy, it triggers a release of the chemical dopamine. This ‘feel good’ hormone is connected with the reward system of the brain, the main stimuli being sex or food. Dopamine is arousing and offers the feeling of love. In the case of a new relationship it can cause butterflies, excitement and lust. In the case of good food it can cause butterflies, excitement and lust.

With this in mind, it makes perfect sense that food plays a big part in relationships. Want to make someone fall deeply in love with you? Take them to dinner! Not sure where to go? Check out some of our favourite restaurants for a bit of romance:

Bar H

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According to users of booking service Dimmi, Bar H in Sydney’s Surry Hills is the perfect place for romance or a first date. Expect good food and quality service in a haven away from the hipsters and dive bars and feast on delights such as housemade pork and prawn wontons, fresh snapper with ginger and shallots and creamy tapioca with coconut and licorice. It’s great food in a relaxed atmosphere, and perfect for the first Valentine’s meal together.

Sault

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In Victoria’s Sailors Falls lies the spectacular Sault restaurant, a property set amidst picturesque lavender plantations and its very own lake. The seasonal menu created by head chef Santiago Nine-Frenandez showcases the best regional produce with a Spanish influence. Spoil your loved one this Valentine’s Day and you could enjoy a 6 course menu for just $95 per person, which includes a glass of Macedon Ridge sparkling brut nv on arrival and delicacies such as caramel-smoked duck breast with duck liver parfait, poached fig and hazelnut crumble.

Riverside Restaurant

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For an elegant dining experience this Valentine’s Day, enjoy the tantalising menu at Adelaide’s Riverside Restaurant. Located in the InterContinental at North Terrace, Riverside Restaurant offers a relaxed yet sophisticated dining room and modern Australian cuisine. Celebrate with a set 6-course degustation menu, which includes beetroot cured salmon with avocado, sunrise lime and karakalah, a share dessert platter and a glass of Croser Sparkling on arrival.

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Mireille Kilgour

Mireille Kilgour

Mireille Kilgour has been an entrepreneur for 35 years in the hospitality sector. French born, she has been an accomplished business owner and operator for a number of Sydney venues. Leading the industry with high profile institutions such as Lamrock Café Bondi, she has endless passion for the industry, and now has the pleasure of supporting restaurants to fill their tables with the new Good Food Gift Card program.