Happy Valentine’s Day! Cuddle up with your sweetheart and read on to see what data analysis tells us about Valentine’s Day food.
Aphrodisiacs for Valentine’s Day?
An aphrodisiac is a food that increases sexual desire. There are many articles online describing different aphrodisiacs. We’re interested in whether home cooks actually seek them out. Are home cooks actually more likely to search for aphrodisiacs on Valentine’s Day?
We tested ten aphrodisiacs. Honey, bananas, avocados, figs, basil, and almonds are about as likely to appear in search on Valentine’s Day as any other day. However, chocolate, garlic, asparagus, and oysters appear in a much larger percentage of searches on Valentine’s Day.
What else can we learn about Valentine’s Day food?
We looked for other ingredients and dishes that are much more likely to appear in searches on Valentine’s Day. Here are a few of them:
We also applied a similar analysis to find recipes that are much more likely to be viewed on Valentine’s Day. Here are some example recipes from prominent Valentine’s Day recipe clusters:
pasta: Drunken Spaghetti, Death By Garlic, Drunken Tuscan Pasta
lobster: Broiled Lobster Tails for 2, Crab Stuffed Lobster Rayna, Lobster Tails with Clarified Butter
steak / surf and turf: Pan-Seared Filet Mignon, “His and Hers” Surf and Turf, Grilled Surf-and-Turf with Spicy Garlic-Shallot Butter
dessert: Chocolate Heart Layer Cake with Chocolate-Cinnamon Mousse, Valentine’s Day Dessert, Raspberry and White Chocolate Fudge Brownies
fondue: Chocolate Fondue, Chocolate Fondue L’Afrique, Low Fat Chocolate Fondue
Love and Money
We find that “high-end” ingredients, including seafood (lobster, scallops), wine, and expensive cuts of beef (filet mignon), and “restaurant-style” dishes, including surf and turf, pasta, and mousse, are very common in the Valentine’s Day-related searches and recipes above.
Another characteristic of Valentine’s Day recipes is that they often use booze as an ingredient. Wine is 2.6 times more likely to appear in searches on Valentine’s Day (see the chart above), and alcohol is 2.5 times more likely to appear as an ingredient in a Valentine’s Day recipe.
Cooking for Love
Valentine’s Day is not only about cash, aphrodisiacs, and alcohol. Home cooks put a lot of love into preparing a romantic meal. First, we have observed that they are more likely to use expensive ingredients with which they may not be familiar. Valentine’s Day recipes are also slightly more likely to be appetizers, and much more likely to be desserts, suggesting that home cooks are making multi-course meals.
They also appear to be using more advanced cooking techniques. For example, searches for sauce recipes are much more likely,
as are searches for several more difficult or time-consuming techniques like searing, reducing, sautéing, and encrusting.
Isn’t all that effort in the name of love nice?
What do you think makes a meal or recipe romantic? Let us know in the comments!
Photo: Wise Geek