There is a putative event in progress; the bid is not official yet (got to work with neighboring groups on selecting our date), but it’s highly probable our Shire will be putting on a valentine’s event this February! The event is my idea but I am not going to be the event steward; I have bullied persuaded someone else to take that role so that I can cook! It’s been a while since I’ve done much medieval cooking and I’m really jonesing to get back in the kitchen.
Given the theme of the event, the feast will of course be full of foods which induce luuuuuurve. Research thus far suggests a couple different ways things could be aphrodisiac in nature: one, physical appearance (think of the banana scene from Dangerous Beauty); two, be rare and exotic (you spent a lot of money on me, you must really want me!); three, animal behavior (eg rabbits); four (and most prominent) balance of the four humors.
So I’ve started my reading re: humoral theory and how to cook foods in accordance with them; the period sources all recommend seeking a balance of the humors, but I will of course be seeking to promote the hot, moist humor: blood, i.e. sanguine. There are a lot of foods which are hot and moist; the cooking method also impacts things, so boiling will be preferred to baking. I have references to a few foods as being specifically good for coitus and sperm production, and will definitely try to include those. I’m sort of amused at all the instructions that talk about how to prepare or combine foods to balance their humoral properties, since most of them just sound like they are mad tasty (and I wonder how much that was the reason!). New cheese, like ricotta? shouldn’t eat, unless you have it with honey and walnuts. Pork? requires spices and mustard. Acorns? You should roast and eat with sugar.
As far as the habits of animals go, though – medieval folks thought that beavers, when pursued, would rip off their testicles and throw them at their attackers, then escape while the pursuers were distracted. Therefore, beaver testicles are aphrodisiacs (cause ripping off your balls is totally hawt. right?). given that the mascot of our local university is the beaver…. well, I think marzipan balls in the university’s colors would get the idea across well enough!